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Kerry “Honored” by Hanoi War Crimes Museum

Posted by Rick · September 4th, 2004 · 9 Comments

Proving again that the Republicans recognize they cannot win re-election for their President by truthful reportage and discussion of issues important to the American people, the question of whether the “Hanoi War Crimes Museum” — which changed its name some years back to “War Remnants Museum” — “honored” John Kerry by hanging his picture there has come up on this blog again.

This article not only re-discusses the truth about this bogus story, but details a plan for concerned citizens on how to effectively cut through the subterfuge of both parties to perform their duties as voting citizens.

As sure as Bush is a war-mongering former cocaine-and-alcohol addict, this story will continue to be batted about by Republicans, because there’s no other way to beat John Kerry in November. As long as people continue to make the mistake of looking at the flip-flopping of George Bush on the war in Iraq, as long as people continue to look at the economy, as long as people continue to look at the erosion of civil rights, as long as people continue to remember that Halliburton, Worldcom and other friends of Bush not only benefited from unconscionably-handled contracts in Iraq, but also from overcharging the government millions on those very contracts, as long as people continue to fume over paying more for a gallon of gasoline than Iraqis with Halliburton subsidies are paying for entire tanks of it and as long as Americans can see how large areas of Iraq are right now falling to the most radical elements the United States has mobilized among the Shi’ites and others, George Bush cannot win re-election.

Solution? Make John Kerry out to be an evil man whom all the evil forces of the world from Vietnam to the Muslims honor and respect.

It’s always interesting to see people like “Bob,” in a recent comment posted to the “War Crimes Museum” article that appeared on this blog August 21, 2004, continue to perpetuate what they’ve heard from the narrow confines of the radio-talk-show-inspired conservative universe. While those lies are still being discussed as fact in that venue, there are other sources from which to find out the parts of the story they don’t report, which parts change the picture (forgive the pun) entirely. (Incidentally, I put “Bob” in quotes above for reasons that will become clear later in this article.)

From a comment posted on Unspun™ by Kent (see the Comments section of this article):

Just to add a little information to this, since I have seen the contents of the exhibit in question. Right next to the picture in question is a picture of Lt. General Michael Ryan, assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs at the time and member of the delegation. On the other side of that picture is a picture that has all 4 leading members of the Veterans Groups were on this very trip.

In congressional testimony Ambassador Winston Lord described the purpose of the trip:

“……high-level delegation to Vietnam to press for more progress on unresolved POW/MIA issues. I had the honor of co-leading that delegation, along with Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Hershel Gober and Lt. General Michael Ryan, assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. We were accompanied by leading representatives of the four largest veterans organizations.” –http://www.aiipowmia.com/testimony/lord294.html

Did this trip provide positive progress for the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting that opened offices in Hanoi in July 1993? It certainly did as you can read in Ambassador Winston Lord’s full transcript.

The same folks who of late have been pushing the doctored stories — with detailed examinations showing them to be liars everywhere except in the Bush-friendly state of Fox — about Kerry’s Vietnam service and who also push doctored photographs supposedly showing him convening with Jane Fonda, simply cannot find a way to stop themselves from twisting reality over the purported “Hanoi Crimes Museum.”

Of course, when the facts don’t fit the political agenda, they absolutely must be doctored. And these facts don’t fit the stories the Republicans want you to hear.

Mr. Kerry’s campaign did not respond to calls and e-mail seeking comment, but two visits to the museum last week disclosed some weaknesses in the arguments put forward by the senator’s critics.

While the museum clearly honors opponents of the war from America and other countries, it is not clear that the photo of Mr.Kerry is part of that tribute. The picture of the senator hangs among a set of photos devoted to the restoration of diplomatic relations between America and Vietnam in the 1990s.

It was apparently taken as Mr. Kerry took part in a delegation President Clinton sent to Hanoi in 1993. Other photos nearby show visits during that period by former American officials who played key roles in the Vietnam War, including a Navy admiral who has since died, Elmo Zumwalt, and a defense secretary, Robert McNamara. A secretary of state during Mr. Clinton’s term, Warren Christopher, is also shown meeting Vietnamese officials.

The Vietnam veteran who visited the museum earlier this year and set off the controversy by posting his picture of the photo on the Web told The New York Sun yesterday he was surprised that Mr. Kerry was not featured more prominently, given his leading role in the anti-war effort.

“I was surprised there weren’t more pictures of him,” said the veteran, William Lupetti of Paramus, N.J.

Mr. Lupetti didn’t see a great deal of significance in the photo when he first explored the museum in March.He later posted many of his pictures to an Internet bulletin board. Others saw the Kerry photo there and brought it to Mr. Corsi’s attention.

“I said, ‘Jerry, it’s not that big a deal.’ He’s the one who saw more in it than I did,” said Mr. Lupetti, who served as a Navy hospital corpsman aboard Swift Boats like those commanded by Mr. Kerry. Josh Gerstein, “Kerry’s Photo Raises Eyebrows in Museum in Ho Chi Minh City,” originally published in the “Front Page” section of the New York Sun on August 16, 2004 (link last visited September 4, 2004).

Even where voters don’t want to honor their own duty to the United States of America by taking their voting responsibilities seriously, I find it ironic that people will ignore the things they can see for themselves and make their decisions based upon doctored photographs and news stories.

And what can we see?

  • Bush Flip-Flops: Even if you assume the favorite charge against Kerry is that he is a “flip-flopper” is true, only those with short-term memory deficit issues can fail to see that Bush himself flip-flops constantly.
    • He did it regarding the Patient’s Bill of Rights when his campaign donors told him they didn’t like his former stand on the subject.
    • He did it regarding privacy rights when he said he believed “privacy is a fundamental right[,]” promised “the right of every American to have confidence that his or her personal medical records would remain private[,]” and then turned around, via Ashcroft, and demanded medical records of women who had had abortions, saying federal law “does not recognize a physician-patient privilege.”
    • He did it when he first refused to de-classify Clinton-era documents for the 9/11 commission and then later agreed to do so.
    • Ironically — because he has accused Kerry of this very same flip-flop — he did it when he flip-flopped by saying he would veto the $87 million Iraq appropriation bill before he decided to sign it.
    • He did it when he said he wanted to ship Great Lakes’ water to ease the shortage in the Western United States and then said we couldn’t do that — simultaneously attacking his critics for equivocating on the issue!
    • He did it even regarding his claim of being our steadfast warrior and protector when he said this war is unwinnable.
    • The list of flip-flops goes on.
  • Jobs: Some of us can see the unemployment problem with our own eyes. Many know people who are newly-unemployed as their jobs are outsourced; some, of course, know it first-hand because it’s their job that’s gone. The rest may be confused because Fox reports “unemployment down” while most real news stations report either that unemployment is still higher under Bush than it was before Bush or they report that economists expected several hundred thousand new jobs for a particular period, but only got, say, 42,000 new jobs. Some of them even report the full story: the new jobs created don’t equal the old jobs outsourced to India, China, or elsewhere. The citizen who considered voting a serious duty would realize the need to check this out more carefully.
  • Economy: This is another area you can see for yourself. How’s your wallet doing these days? Gas prices eating away at vacation money? Bothered by difficulties getting services as companies cut back on people who answer telephones? Notice lines at the grocery because stores that used to staff 10 registers now only staff 4?

Those are just the issues that you should be able to consider without doing any significant research. Start to read the newspapers and you’ll see even more. (Hell, just watch more than one television station — TV typically does a bad job of presenting the news because of the tabloid reporting style adopted for entertainment purposes — and you’ll see conflicting stories that should clue you in to the need for more research.)

I mentioned above that there was a reason I put the name “Bob” in quotes. And that’s because there was once another Bob — Bob Marcotte — who wrote here. I don’t think the two are the same. That Bob apparently stopped writing because he and I disagreed over whether or not “liberals” (usually incorrectly defined as “Democrats”) or Republicans (also known as “conservatives,” but not all conservatives are Republicans) were playing “the same game.” And insofar as my defense of liberals became confused — even by me at times — with a defense of Democrats, I owe that Bob an apology. Increasingly, Democrats — though I still disagree that all liberals get painted with this same brush — are beginning to play the same game.

You might think this is defensible. You might think Democrats don’t have a choice because of the way Republicans are operating. I disagree.

And so it has become imperative to take a new approach: You cannot accept what either the Democrats or the Republicans are saying without checking it out yourself.

“That’s fine, Rick,” you say. “You have time for this stuff. I don’t.” But it doesn’t take that much time to exercise your duty to the country in which you cast your vote.

And if you won’t do it because of duty, do it for your family. Pick just one issue of significance to your family. Just one. Make sure it’s one that matters to your family. For example, I run into people who want to vote for Bush because they think he’s a man of integrity. Well, suppose he is. Isn’t it true that there are people you consider to have integrity whose plans nevertheless would not be good for your family to follow? Don’t you have people you respect, but with whom you disagree? So go ahead and continue to think of George Bush as a man of integrity, but pick an issue that matters to your family anyway like, maybe, health care. Research that one thing.

Don’t think that when you have “read what all the candidates say on the issue” that you’re done, either. That’s just what they say (and this comment is as true of Kerry as it is of Bush). Look for stories about what they’ve done.

Just be sure not to pick some hot-button issue that, in reality, has no impact on your family (unless you’re planning to need an abortion someday). Kerry is pro-choice. So what? Are you going to be having an abortion? Bush is anti-gay-marriage. So what? Are you planning to marry someone of the same sex as you anytime soon? If you are, fine; that may be an issue for you to research. My point is pick an issue that actually has an impact on the way you live and that actually alters your family’s future.

I’m confident that if enough people did this, the “right” man would be elected for the Presidency. For, in the end, the job of the President is to be the Executive of our nation. His job is to administer the laws passed by our representatives in Congress in a way that benefits as many Americans, while upholding the ideals of our Constitution, as possible.

It is our duty, as American citizens, to cut through the lies, the crap and the miscellany thrown out to keep us from the real issues. Without that effort, the Republic of the United States cannot survive as an instrument of the people. Instead, it is taken over by those who turn the government into an instrument to be used against the people, to enrich themselves and their friends.

Remember: You get the government you deserve. And what you deserve is determined entirely by what you’re willing to put into understanding what kind of government you are creating with your vote.

UPDATE: See my more recent article exposing Republican attempts to mislead people about the placement and consequent meaning of the Kerry photo posted in the Hanoi War Remnants Museum — complete with diagrams.

Categories: Politics-In-General


9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Nat Dawson // Sep 6, 2004 at 10:56 am

    It must be the Jew in me because my feelings after having been spared the worst of Hurricane Frances were not ones of relief – but ones of guilt. I look out at my back yard and see a war zone of fallen branches, piles of pine cones and water-logged flower beds but nothing more serious than that. Yet, we were on the periphery of the storm as it deviated west of its projected path, and I think of those poor souls who were directly in the path of Frances who have lost everything. Every book, every photo, every piece of furniture – some it family heirlooms – it is too, too tragic. Those people are suffering and I cannot celebrate having being “missed” while their homes are a mess of mud and twisted steel. Truly, an ill wind blows nobody any good.

    [Editor’s Note: Good to see you survived, although I’m puzzled as to why you continue to refer to yourself as if there were “Jew in you”; my recollection from your past posts is that you have always indicated you are a Christian, not a Jew. Perhaps you just mean that once upon a time, someone in your lineage was a Jew. But if that’s what you mean, why don’t you ever refer to the amoeba in you? On the other hand, it fits the Republican profile to pretend to be what you are not, in hopes that will make people more likely to swallow what you say. Or was your comment intended to inspire people with your overwhelming compassion as a conservative?

    Nevertheless, it’s good to see you’re still alive, but a sad thing to see that Frances has blown some of its garbage my way. Specifically, I’m referring to more of the “pot calls kettle black” and ad hominem posting — see below — devoid of any real content. No surprise, though, considering your model:

    There was not a single word about what the nation might expect from the administration in a second term on any domestic issue, be it Social Security, same sex marriage, tax cuts, deficits – anything. Nothing about reforming the intelligence apparatus in this country. Indeed, nothing about dealing with North Korea or Iran or even Iraq with any specificity at all.

    The three paragraphs about education, economics and health were, obviously, a joke…. It is worth noting that Cheney didn’t even attempt to deal with the failures of U.S. intelligence before the war, the crisis of post-war Iraq or the scandal of Abu Ghraib. He posed as a brave man taking on the terrorists; but Cheney was cowardly in what he avoided…. I imagine Cheney’s speech will make up some undecided minds. He has every right to attack his opponent and it would probably be dumb if he didn’t. But the rest of his speech was so thin, so cursory as to be insulting. It was the speech not of a statesman, but a hack. (For more of this article, visit CBSNews Online.)

    But, then, I’d be totally stunned if anything you wrote constituted a real argument based on real and true facts, rather than the ad hominem you always submit.]

    And speaking of an ill wind, the vile, contemptible, unprincipled Kerry continues his preposterous and thoroughly fraudulent campaign. Having seen his churlish, mean and small midnight reaction to the RNC in New York, I am even more convinced that this is a man with NOTHING but ambition at his core.

    There is nothing nice or generous about him. He does not bespeak of any personal warmth or sincerity. There is nothing spontaneous. Just a complete void. He is just an android. An automatron droning his stupid Socialist slogans which he, as a multi-millionare, cannot possibly actually believe in. [Editor’s note: If this is true, what of Bush and Cheney, who are also millionaires? Oh, I forgot, instead of health care for middle class citizens, they push subsides for already-rich companies and their executives. Instead of “socialist slogans” relating to social benefits for lower and middle-income people, they spout “socialist slogans” for corporations.]

    Have we not learned anything from the nearly disastrous election of Gore and how tragic that would have been? Can anybody who has witnessed the borderline insanity of Gore, as demonstrated in recent speeches, have any doubts that our country found THE RIGHT MAN in George W. Bush? No doubts whatsover. [Editor’s Note: One might wish for evidence of this. But, since it’s Nat talking, we’ll just have to give up that pipe dream.]

    And what is Kerry? He is even more arrogant than Gore. A bigger (but nowhere near as good) liar than Clinton. A man with a more dovish foreign policy than Jimmy Carter and the personal morals of Ted Kennedy. Kerry is not a man to be trusted with the most important office in the land.

    His voting record alone disqualifies him. He has voted against every weapons system now deployed and in use to protect our troops. He has voted for tax increases and against tax cuts. Clearly there is NO difference between him and Dukaka and Dukaka was resoundingly rejected by the electorate. [Editor’s Note: More of a question, really: Nat, do you ever research these things before writing them? I mean, if what you said were common knowledge, it would be acceptable to just say it without support. But as these things are neither common knowledge, nor even true, it’s the most irritating thing about your writing — more so, even, than the ignorance of your positions.]

    Maybe the strongest argument against Kerry is the fact that if he somehow deceived his way in, he would accomplish nothing because the Republicans control Congress. Tom DeLay would not even give him the time of day. Kerry would be powerless to enact anything that the House Republicans didn’t want. [Editor’s Note: If that’s the strongest argument against Kerry, then it’s one we should all aim for. Neither Bush nor Kerry are our best choice for President. Better, then, a President who could not further distort the status quo than one who continually works to dismantle our Constitution and erase all our Founders fought to create.]

    At least Tom DeLay will take W’s phone call and, as the Prescription Drug Bill showed, he will work with W to enact legislation that he, himself, might not normally sponsor.

    W being re-elected is the only sane option. I do NOT trust Kerry with our security. Someone that weak on National Security, with advisers like the secret-stealer Sandy Burger, should be shut out of anything to do with national security. I do not want our foreign policy to be dictated from the Champs Elysee. And, it’s very clear we must maintain an interventionist stance abroad if we are to preclude future attacks. [Editor’s Note: I particularly like this piece. Translation? “We have to continue to invade other countries, because since they repeatedly get sick of our taking advantage of them via corrupt politicians put into place by us — because they continue to overthrow those puppets and then attack us, or go around those puppets and attack us directly — the only way to stop them is to actually overthrow their governments and occupy their countries.”]

    For the sake of a continuing America, George W Bush is THE BEST and ONLY choice on Nov 2. [Editor’s Note: What about those of us who are interested in continuing the real America? You know, the one with a government of, by and for the people, structured according to the Constitution?]

  • 2 Mark // Sep 6, 2004 at 2:18 pm

    I’m waiting for the bible-bangers to say that these two hurricanes mean that God is PISSED about the stolen election in 2000, and he doesn’t want any more bullshit this year out of Florida.

    Or does God only strike at Patriotic Americans (aka Democrats)?

  • 3 nick meyer // Sep 7, 2004 at 8:21 am

    The last sentence of your comment here mARK seems rather small even coming from you. So there are no Republicans that are patriotic? That comment will go down in the history of Rick’s blog as one of your most moronic quotes.

  • 4 Mark // Sep 7, 2004 at 8:37 pm


    If you define Patriotic Americans as those who hold dear the ideals that made this country great, such as allowing every adult to vote regardless of race, and actually COUNTING the votes that are cast, I can’t think of too many members of the G-O-P (Greed on Parade) who would qualify.

  • 5 Rick // Sep 7, 2004 at 10:30 pm

    It seems to me to be an important thing to make a differentiation between those who do these things and your average “rank and file” Republican.

    My comments here should in no way be taken as supportive of the Republican Party.

    What you’re saying, though, Mark, seems to leave no room for the possibility of people who, in good faith, believe the things that the Republican leadership tells them. To the extent that you lump all persons who see themselves as Republicans into the exact same bucket as those who see themselves as Republicans and are willing to do anything, no matter how horrendous, to achieve the goals of the Republican Party, this seems to me to be a mistake.

    And it’s a mistake unbefitting anyone of your caliber — let alone someone in his final year of law school who has an interest in criminal defense. As you often say to me when I make some such mistake in judgment: “You’re better than that.”

    Reiterating that nothing I say here is intended to support the true ideals and goals of the Republican Party, I (regretfully) make allowance for those who mis-apprehend what’s going on.

    The Republican Party, I still contend as I did long ago, is not playing “the same game” as the Democratic Party, though there are times individual Democrats give one pause. Unfortunately, as Bob noted, the Republican approach is highly effective with those who will not (or cannot) stop to think about their real interests. The average person watching these things happen just doesn’t get it. Surely, the Republican rank-and-file, if they understood things better, would rebel.

    No doubt this is one reason the Bush administration operates with so much secrecy on most issues.

    As Michael Moore has pointed out in a column available on USA Today, most Americans stand for values that they mistakenly believe the Republican Party also stands for.

    Your comments, it seems to me, fail to take into account the possibility of “mistake of fact.” Or, in the current scenario, “facts” — plural. And hammering at those who honestly mis-apprehend the situation — without allowing for the possibility that they, if not the Republican Party to which they give their support, are honestly mistaken — only alienates them, making it virtually impossible to open their eyes in such a way as to win their support in correcting the problem.

  • 6 Mark // Sep 8, 2004 at 6:42 am


    I must disagree with your thesis that all of those who follow the Repugnicant talking-points are blissfully ignorant of what they are saying and the kind of fascism they are supporting.

    Let’s take Florida — the starting point for my comments posted in this thread. Anyone who has done any research at all into the subject knows that more Floridians cast votes for Gore than for Shrub in 2000. If all of the votes are counted, even the illegal absentee votes, the results are incovertable — Gore wins.

    Followers of such Pied Pipers as Druggie Rush and Bill O’Lielly laugh this off. They act as if they think it’s funny — and I imagine that most of them actually do. They accuse those who remember that this past presidential election was stolen of “whining.” They know the truth, and they believe that name-calling and making jokes about it will somehow make the truth either go away or not really matter in the scheme of things. And these are the people who like to portray themselves as “moral.”

    Granted, almost every legal scholar of the Repugnicant persuasion thought what happened in Florida in 2000 was a travesty and a gross miscarriage of American ideals. But these honest souls are in the minority in the G-O-P. The vast majority of the Repugnicants are happy knowing that the true will of the majority Florida voters was thwarted by five members of one court. They think fascism is sexy and/or manly somehow. I don’t think they are as ignorant as you appear to believe. And I strongly believe that the results of such thinking on the part of the lemmings of the “right” is a great tragedy not only for them, but for our nation as a whole — for ALL of us have to suffer through the consequences.

  • 7 Rick // Sep 8, 2004 at 9:46 am

    My response to this will become today’s blog entry, since your comment allows me to talk about something that’s been bugging me for awhile.

  • 8 John // Sep 17, 2004 at 6:19 pm

    I have never read nor could imagine such hate filled venom as displayed by these comments. My GOD bless and forgive you you all and bring peace to your tormented soles.

  • 9 Rick // Sep 17, 2004 at 6:37 pm

    Howdy, “John”! How’s “Mr. Dawson” these days?

    Anyway, I thank you for your deep concern about the bottoms of my feet, but I typically wear sandals, so they feel just fine!

    As for the “hate filled venom” — given your pedigree, this is probably pointless, but I’ll ask anyway — care to clarify?

    Thanks again and give my best to “Mr. Dawson”!

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