Senator Bob Kerrey: War Criminal, Pawn, or Both?

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I
don't particularly like Senator Bob ("Clinton is an unusually
good liar") Kerrey.

For
his entire political career he's been a perfect representative of
the warfare/welfare state. There are certainly worse examples, but
the ex-Senator managed to touch all the required statist bases.
Like others in the "World's Greatest Deliberative Body"
he showed contempt for the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights
and displayed the general corrupt and malign mental miasma that
seems to infect the vast majority of the ruling class in Washington
DC.

I
don't feel comfortable branding him a war criminal. The thought
that a holder of the Medal of Honor, our highest award for valor,
is a base murderer is repugnant.

The
shocking story in the New York Times ("One Awful Night
in Thanh Phong," by Gregory L. Vistica) makes some truly horrible
and sickening allegations. In 1969, as a Lieutenant (jg) in the
Navy Seals, Kerrey is alleged to have led a mission in which at
least 13 Vietnamese non-combatants were brutally slaughtered. If
the claims of fellow Seal and team subordinate, Gerhard Klann, are
to be believed, it was a mission from Hell. Klann was so disturbed
by his memories he later confided in a superior officer who leaked
the story to Vistica (then a reporter for Newsweek).

I
don't need to go into the gruesome details of this commando raid.
Click on this
link
to the Times story (registration required) to read
them.

So,
is Senator Kerrey an unpunished war criminal? Arguably yes,
if the allegations are true. What is alleged to have happened is
certainly as horrific as anything Nato recently bombed Serbian warriors
for supposedly doing. Ah, but, but…

Consider
if you will, two hoary old truisms: "War Is Hell" and
"These Are the Times That Try Men's Souls." No one can
better attest to the basic truth of these cliches than the young
men our masters send to kill, bleed, and die for the American Imperium.

War
is Hell. Nothing you can read on the printed page, nothing
recounted second-hand, even the best CGI effects Hollywood has to
offer, will ever compare to the awful reality of war. Hell breeds
demons.

War
is the time that will try a man's soul. He will live daily
fearing sudden death, he will see his friends die in ways that will
haunt him forever. And he will kill. He will extinguish the life
of another of God's human creatures. Singly or en masse.

Take
a typical young man. Train him rigorously, putting him in peak physical
condition. Teach him the martial arts, all the ways of quick death.
Prepare his mind as well and convince him of the evil of
his enemy and the utter rightness of his cause.

Now,
take that young man and place him in combat. Aren't the results
predictable? Some men will be cowards, some will be heroes, and
most will fall somewhere in between. But all of them will kill rather
than die. And, unfortunately, some men will grow to enjoy killing.
Hell breeds demons.

Was
Lieutenant (jg) Kerrey a man who enjoyed killing? No one can say
but him and his Creator. No matter what else he may be, Lt. Kerry
was also what I call a pawn of war. A killer chess piece placed
on the board of empire, by players of the great game of conquest.

However,
the worst war criminals are the men who placed Lt. Kerrey in the
killing fields to practice the deadly arts. The worst war criminals
are the men who sat comfortably in Washington, DC, while this young
man hid in the rice paddies, thousands of miles from our shores,
dealing out death and undoubtedly waiting in fear for his own as
well.

We
know their names. Starting with genial Ike, followed by JFK and
LBJ, ending with Richard Nixon, these are the men who sent hundreds
of thousands of Lt. Kerreys, Sgt. Smiths, and Pfc. Browns to kill
and die in Indochina. They were aided by shadowy ministers like
McNamara, Kissinger and others of that ilk, corpse-counting generals
in the Pentagon, and the legions of tax-eating senators and congressmen
as well.

Lieutenant
(jg) Robert Kerrey, USN, left Viet Nam a killer of women and children,
an act for which he accepted the Bronze Star. As Senator Bob Kerrey
he became a part of the corrupt political structure that sends other
young men out to do the same.

Now
he stares into the abyss — and the abyss stares back.

    April
    28, 2001

    Jeff
    Elkins [send him mail]
    is a freelance consultant and writer living in North Central Florida.

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