Re: “Kerry as secretary of defense would be an insult to Vietnam vets” (Your Voice, 11-20).
I am unhappy that Mike Brown was chosen to speak for all Vietnam veterans where John Kerry as secretary of defense is concerned. Most of us in Vietnam were not West Point graduates, nor did we fly Cobra attack helicopters. Brown is an atypical veteran of that war.
I was a draftee who worked in an office where frequent reports of American violence against Vietnamese civilians went across my desk. The office I worked in had investigators who looked into these allegations, and they were often justified. No, they were not on the scale of My Lai, but they were atrocities.
I would love to have Kerry as secretary of defense. I got home from Vietnam in late 1967, and the treatment I got was not always what I’d hoped for, but that ill treatment cannot be blamed on Kerry’s testimony in 1971 in front of the U.S. Foreign Relations Committee, nor on Jane Fonda. She was one of the most popular of all the pinup queens displayed on the walls of our hootches.
Why not place the blame on those men who ran the war: Lyndon John, Gen. William Westmoreland, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and company? They planned and prosecuted that unnecessary war and lied to us.
Kerry and Fonda were much too young and powerless to have any important voice in the Vietnam War. My voice is worth hearing. I’m old now and dying from my exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. They lied, and we die.