A fellow Vietnam veteran recently called John Kerry a coward, a phony and a liar and said he voted for President Bush "to keep the light of truth alive." A Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts negate the writer's charge of cowardice. As for the other two, consider this:
In October 1967, we crossed the Cam Lo River near the southern border of the DMZ. We were told this was a free-fire zone and were encouraged to shoot anything that moved. Fifty-caliber machine guns, designed for anti-aircraft use, were used against people. So were "Dusters," tank-like vehicles with twin 40-mm, rapid-firing anti-aircraft guns. We "seeded" rivers with randomly timed bombs. We used Agent Orange, cluster bomb units, fleshette rounds, canister rounds, napalm, white phosphorous, Zippo lighters, Bouncing Bettys and millions of random, unmarked and abandoned land mines that still kill and maim Vietnamese children today. All are contrary to or push the Geneva Convention rules.
Many Vietnam veterans personally and tearfully confessed to horrible crimes against the people of Vietnam during Rolling Thunder. This was Kerry's testimony, and the truth helped end the war. That's history -- let's keep it accurate.
As Vietnam veterans, how do we help resolve the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? As in all wars, truth is the first fatality and severely wounds honor. I'll take truth over false honor anytime.
Fred Tomasello Jr.
Officer, U.S. Marine Corps