LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Standing by statements on Kerry’s military service

I have written many letters to the Delaware State News and other publications, and I have always tried to write in a respectful manner. I do not try to embarrass those contributors I disagree with. It is more important to get one’s point across than to try to belittle someone. Obviously, Mr. Will Gillespie does not share my opinion.

His letter (DSN Oct. 21, “Fear, loathing and lies about John Kerry’s service”) is replete with insults directed at me. It is interesting that he refers to me as “a right-wing repeat offender,” as though being a right-winger is a criminal offense. But then, people of his ilk probably believe it should be. For the record, I am a conservative Republican and proud of it. I doubt that Mr. Gillespie knows the difference.

Mr. Gillespie is free with the use of pejoratives. For example, in his first paragraph, he says I am a liar. I do not take kindly to that assertion, and Mr. Gillespie should know that unproven charges such as that may be actionable, especially if made again.

I resent being called a liar and the use of my first name by someone I have never met (thankfully) and never intend to meet. I do not claim that I am always right, and I do make mistakes, but I do not lie. I write plainly, and if Mr. Gillespie believes my comments are incoherent, as he says, perhaps he is simply not intelligent enough to understand them.

Mr. Gillespie must believe he is clairvoyant. He writes as a fact, not his opinion, that my goal in my Sept. 14 letter [“The rest of the story on Libby, Kerry and treason”] was to defame Kerry and exonerate Scooter Libby. First, I do not have to defame Kerry. He does a good enough job of that himself. And how can I exonerate Libby? Only a court could do that. My concern with Libby was that he had been accused of treason by another writer, even though he was never tried for anything close to treason. Nor was he tried for compromising U.S. intelligence or the lies of U.S. contacts “for political reasons.” Perhaps Mr. Gillespie is thinking of Benghazi.

He states that, in effect, Kerry was simply exercising his First Amendment rights in expressing his opinions in 1971. Mr. Gillespie neglects to note that Kerry was expressing his “opinions” before a congressional committee. Therefore, Kerry lied under oath when he said he witnessed certain acts of terror. Later, he said he had been told by others about these supposed acts. Therefore, Mr. Gillespie’s honesty may be in question.

Mr. Gillespie is not satisfied with defending Kerry; he insults the memory of President Reagan by stating Reagan made a “deal with Iran to delay release of the hostages until after his inauguration.” This is nonsense and certainly establishes Gillespie as a left-winger. But, I forget: liberals are never left-wingers; they are “progressives” or “moderates.” Sort of like Bernie Sanders. Where is the proof Reagan made any deal with the Iranians?

The more I consider Mr. Gillespie’s comments, the more I believe he is writing from someone’s talking points.

There is little point in further discussing Mr. Gillespie’s rant about the Swift Boat veterans. Mr. Gillespie has his sources, none of which have first-hand knowledge, and I have mine, some of which may have first-hand knowledge, but neither of us can prove the accusations made by both sides.

I stand by my assessment of Kerry, and particularly the statement of John O’Neill. Why would O’Neill and others lie about Kerry’s service? Of course, Mr. Gillespie believes Nixon was behind all the Swift Boat accusations, because Nixon “saw [Kerry] as a threat.” A threat to whom? Of course, Mr. Gillespie probably thinks Nixon was involved in the Lincoln assassination. Or at least, the President Kennedy assassination.

Mr. Gillespie, you are beneath contempt when you assume that I never served in combat. As I mentioned in a letter [published before] the one in question [“Stick to the facts,” Oct. 11], I served two tours in Vietnam. What do you think I was doing there, playing softball at an R & R facility the whole time? Do you think only you and Kerry should be recognized for your service? Perhaps Mr. Gillespie believes that only left-wingers, such as Bill Clinton, actually served in combat. Oh, I am mistaken; Clinton was a draft-dodger.

I never said that shrapnel wounds did not qualify for the Purple Heart. Of course they do. What I said was that the award Kerry received as a result of shrapnel was not caused by enemy action. My information is that he fired a grenade launcher at a rock. The blast-back hit Kerry. It was as simple as that, or perhaps you were there, as you write everything as a fact.

The Logan Act is not irrelevant. If Kerry was not involved in the peace talks, why was he meeting with the enemy in Paris? Of course, I doubt if Kerry ever considered the communists as the enemy. He could have been charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice because he was a reserve Navy officer at the time. But, on the other hand, perhaps Mr. Gillespie is correct in stating that Kerry was not negotiating with the communists. He may have been advising them. Certainly, he would be subject to the UCMJ if that were the case.

Mr. Gillespie states that many (of the Swift Boat veterans opposing Kerry) “have often changed their stories or regret their statements or recanted them all together.” Name one. If Mr. Gillespie can give me any information as to how to contact any of these men, I will do my best to contact them and report on what they have to say.

Kerry volunteered for service in Vietnam. I believe he did so in order to further his political career. However, once he was in-country, he decided he did not like the atmosphere and found a way out after about four and one-half months. He should not be praised for his “service.”

Franklin M. Ward

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