Source:The Film Archives– U.S. Naval Lieutenant John F. Kerry, testifying in front of Congress in 1971, about the Vietnam War.
“John Forbes Kerry (born December 11, 1943) is an American politician who is the 68th and current United States Secretary of State. More on this topic.
He served as a United States Senator from Massachusetts from 1985 to 2013, and was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Kerry was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 Presidential Election but lost to incumbent George W. Bush.
The son of an Army Air Corps veteran, Kerry was born in Aurora, Colorado. He attended boarding school in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and went on to graduate from Yale University class of 1966, where he majored in political science and became a member of the influential Skull and Bones secret society. He enlisted in the Naval Reserve in 1966, and during 1968–1969 served an abbreviated four-month tour of duty in South Vietnam as officer-in-charge (OIC) of a Swift Boat. For that service, he was awarded combat medals that include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts. Securing an early return to the United States, Kerry joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War in which he served as a nationally recognized spokesman and as an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War. He appeared before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs where he deemed United States war policy in Vietnam to be the cause of “war crimes.”
From The Film Archives
It’s been said that presidents who have military or foreign policy experience, are less likely to commit American troops to combat in foreign nations, then presidents without that previous experience, because they know exactly what they are putting those troops through and what they have to go through. And the sacrifices they and their families will make as a result and perhaps even the ultimate sacrifice they may make.
I’ll give you a perfect example of that: when Dwight Eisenhower became President in 1953, one of the first things he looked to was to get American troops out of the Korean War. Because he saw it as a civil war.
Ronald Reagan a World War II veteran, never committed American troops into combat. We never went to war in his eight years as President. Jimmy Carter, another World War II veteran, never committed American troops to combat in his four years either. President George H.W. Bush did commit troops to the Gulf War in 1991. But for a very limited mission: get Iraq out of Kuwait, not to invade and occupy Iraq. A big country of twenty-five million people, a mistake that his son wasn’t able to avoid twelve years later.
President George W. Bush, who never had combat experience, or foreign policy experience, other than signing up for the reserves to avoid Vietnam service, commits American troops to two wars within seventeen months as President: Afghanistan and Iraq. Two wars we are now trying to get out of ten years later.
We’ll never know what type of president John Kerry would’ve made on foreign policy, or anything else. And I believe that’s unfortunate, because we are talking about a Vietnam veteran from the Baby Boom Generation, who volunteered to serve his country in Vietnam, unlike George W. Bush who did everything he can to avoid service there.
But when you hear Senator Kerry talk about foreign policy as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and as a senior Senator, you know that he doesn’t take these things lightly. And committing American troops to any war is a huge deal and shouldn’t be taken lightly.