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Kerry's Rhetoric in '70s Still Enrages Some Vets

August 29, 2004

Re "Kerry's Testimony," editorial, Aug. 26: The Times has every right to campaign for Sen. John F. Kerry on its editorial page, but it misses the point of the current controversy. Bickering over Kerry's four months of active duty in Vietnam or whether or not his actions or minor injuries deserved awards is not the main issue.

The fact that he called his fellow soldiers torturers, murderers and baby-killers while we still had troops in the field is what enrages veterans of every era, including me. This betrayal in itself should put him out of contention as a candidate for commander in chief.

Arthur Hansl

Santa Monica

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From all the evidence the media have saturated us with regarding Kerry's service in Vietnam, it is clear that he served honorably in that capacity and risked his life for the benefit of his comrades on more than one occasion. Following his discharge, he was outspoken concerning the atrocities fellow soldiers said they observed and he questioned the legitimacy of our presence in Vietnam in no uncertain terms.

To my way of thinking, Kerry's service in Vietnam together with his willingness to follow his conscience and speak out against the war upon returning to the U.S. unequivocally constitute praiseworthy acts of courage. His actions on both fronts clearly embody the courageous leadership that is sorely needed at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

John Newport

Santa Ana

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