Veterans urging support for Kerry
September 29, 2004
On the eve of the first 2004 presidential debate, a group of veterans who served in Vietnam is touring Nevada urging fellow veterans to see through the Bush campaign’s attacks and support John Kerry.
Christopher Ream served on Swift Boats operating out of the same base Kerry did in 1967-68 – a year before Kerry. Bob Mulholland served with the 101st Airborne and was wounded in the Tet Offensive in 1968.
“We were coastal patrol,” Ream said. “We were told not to go up the rivers.”
He said that was changed by one of the Swift Boat Veterans attacking Kerry a year later who decided to order Kerry and boat commanders up-river “because he wanted body counts.”
“They suffered 75 percent casualty rates when Kerry was there,” Ream said. “It was the roughest duty in Vietnam and he acquitted himself well.”
The men, who call their group “Veterans for Truth,” said what happened in Vietnam 30 years ago isn’t the issue in this campaign.
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“A lot of guys left there disillusioned. Not just Kerry,” said Mulholland.
He said the real issue veterans should be focused on is what Bush has done in Iraq.
“Bush has our troops in a cul-de-sac with no plan to get them out,” he said. “Bush, tonight, should do what (British Prime Minister) Tony Blair did the other day and apologize for misleading the country into Iraq.”
“I’ll give you 100 to 1 odds against that,” said Ream. He said Bush has failed the American people but either won’t or can’t admit it.
“He’s absolutely oblivious to the fact he’s made mistakes,” he said. “He says it’s a virtue to be consistent even if you’re wrong. And not just Iraq. The economy too.
“That’s not the guy I want as president. He should be asking everybody’s opinion, looking at everything. I want a guy who says let’s make mid-course corrections but, no, once he’s made up his mind, he doesn’t want to hear anything counter to that.”
Mulholland said Bush and his administration “don’t have a sense of responsibility for what’s happening in Iraq.”
Ream said Bush should not only admit those mistakes but answer to the American people for failed policies in Iraq, the damage to the American economy and the damage to the nation’s reputation and relationships abroad.
The two are part of a group of veterans touring the western states urging veterans to take an open-minded look at Bush’s record and vote for Kerry in November.
Contact Reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.