My Word for April 29, 2001

I said I wasn't going to say anything more about Bob Kerrey and the Vietnam war mission he led that went bad... but sometimes, in this business, things change.

It was a seven-man squad that Kerrey led in the village of Than Fong 32 years ago...

One of the squad remembers that Kerrey had the villagers rounded up and shot so the squad could make an escape undetected.

The remaining six remember otherwise... that they were fired on, they returned fire, and inadvertantly killed women and children and old men.

By the way ... a month later the squad got into another scrape, and Kerrey ended up with his leg blown off by an enemy grenade.

So who should we believe? The one squad member who recalls a purposeful slaughter of women and kids? Or Kerrey and five others who recall returning fire, and inadvertently killing people they probably shouldn't have killed?

War is hell, but this decision is easy. Believe Kerrey. Considering who he is and what he's done with his life, he deserves the credibility scale to be tipped in his direction.

He's had 32 years to feel guilty about what he did, and he's still feeling guilty... but that doesn't mean he's guilty of a crime.

He was a young man at war.

And one more thing. About that Bronze Star he accepted with a citation that didn't mention dead women and kids... what was he supposed to do? Send it back with a note saying "I don't deserve this because my men and I shot up women and kids?"

He did the right thing. He shoved the medal in a drawer and put it out of his mind.

That's what the rest of us should do now.

Click here for more of John Gibson's My Word ...

What do you think? We'd love to hear from you!
Send your e-mails to