Tags: Former | POW: | Kerry | Preyed | Family

Former POW: Kerry Preyed on My Family

Monday, 18 October 2004 12:00 AM

The new allegation against Kerry is made in the controversial documentary "Stolen Honor: Wounds that Never Heal" by James H. Warner, a former Marine Corps naval flight officer who won the Silver Star after spending more than five years in a North Vietnamese prison.

Warner's sensational charge against Kerry is just one of the fresh allegations that Kerry did more than protest U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War – he also worked to help the North Vietnamese by getting families of POWs to criticize the U.S. government.

When Capt. James (Jim) Howie Warner was shot down on Oct. 13, 1967, he could hardly have known at the time that his pain and suffering would be enhanced by a recently discharged naval officer-turned-war protester named John Kerry.

As Warner suffered brutal treatment in Vietnam, young Kerry was helping to organize the infamous Winter Soldier hearings held in Detroit, Mich., at the end of January and into early February of 1971.

Warner recounts that Kerry personally recruited his grieving mother to testify at the Winter Soldier hearings – testimony that Warner was confronted and taunted with while in captivity, testimony that later appeared in John Kerry's infamous wartime book, "The New Soldier."

In "Stolen Honor," Warner says, "They showed me a transcript of testimony that my mother had given at the Winter Soldier hearing. I read her testimony; it was not particularly damning, but I wondered how did someone persuade her? Then they showed me a statement by John Kerry. I know that he did talk to her and my sisters. It is really a contemptible act to take a grieving old lady and prey upon her grief and manipulate her grief purely for the promotion of your own political agenda."

In his interview with NewsMax, Warner's anger toward Kerry for involving his family is still very much alive and well: "There's not a single thing Kerry has done – except to marry a rich woman – that didn't show bad judgment."

From his Winter Soldier hearings, which have largely been discredited by historians, Kerry gained national publicity for himself and furthered the anti-war cause. The POWs claim Kerry and his fellow anti-war protesters helped prolong the war – and their brutal captivity – by two years or more.

For his efforts, Kerry has been lauded in Vietnam and is featured as one of the Vietnamese communists' heroes in their national war museum.

Warner says that while Kerry was having his various dialogues with the enemy in Paris and using Warner's family for his ends, he still could have intervened to help the POWs.

Warner says with some anguish that Kerry didn't "even ask them to stop the torture. While he was making friends, why didn't he do something to get us letter privileges with our families? My mother didn't know if I was alive or dead."

B.G. Burkett, Vietnam historian and author of "Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of Its Heroes and Its History," tells NewsMax that Warner's family was not alone in their experience.

Burkett said that Kerry's Winter Soldier group contacted the families of several POWs to denounce the United States.

"It's a pretty horrendous thing, these family members being called by Kerry or his group while their son or husband is being tortured in a Hanoi prison," Burkett said. "And the message to the POW families was clear: If you speak out against the U.S., the communists will go easy on your loved one."

Burkett said the effort to involve the POW families in the anti-war movement was one of the most "evil things Kerry and his group ever did."

When Virginia Warner did testify, she did not denounce the U.S. but she spoke as a mother would: "My name is Virginia Warner, and I am the mother of James Warner, who has been a prisoner in Vietnam, North Vietnam, since 1967 in October. I'm here to ask the American people to help get this thing over with."

Having his mother's testimony included with the "testimony" of those who claimed to be veterans, with the left-wing activists present, gave a dignity to the whole proceeding that it did not merit, Warner argues.

Kerry's work on behalf of North Vietnam and his use of Warner's mother were not overlooked by Warner's communist captors.

In a recent essay, Warner writes about the interchange between himself and one of his tormenting captors – a man he refers to as "Boris."

"Then Boris reached behind his back and pulled out some clippings from a left wing newspaper in the U.S. He showed me several articles about an event, which had been held in Detroit, called 'The Winter Soldier Hearings.' He left me to read the articles while he left the room. The articles reported alleged "testimony" from people who claimed to be Viet-Nam veterans who allegedly claimed that they had done things which, if true, would have [led] to courts martial for each of them.

"Suddenly, I read an article about my mother testifying. Unlike the leftists, she did not condemn the U.S., she merely stated that she hoped the war would end soon and I would be released. The next article mentioned testimony from my father. His was like my mother's testimony, merely expressing hope that the war would end soon and that all who suffered from war would find relief. Nothing they said fit with the virulent anti-American sentiments that the leftists had expressed. But having their testimony included in with the ‘testimony' of those who claimed to be veterans, and the left wing activists present, seemed to give a dignity to the whole proceeding which it did not merit."

Boris told Warner to note especially the former U.S. military officer who had accused American soldiers of war crimes.

"‘This man was an officer in your navy. He says that the war is illegal, immoral and unjust. Read what he says.'

"I read the words of John Kerry. What John Kerry said, according to the clippings, was that the U.S. should abandon South East Asia, unilaterally and immediately. This, of course, would not only leave the Prisoners of War in the hands of the communists, but far worse, there was not a sane person in the universe who did not know that the instant the countries of South East Asia were abandoned, the blood bath would begin."

Warner wondered why Kerry did what he did.

"When John Kerry said that Vietnam vets were criminals, did he not know that the communists would use his words against the POWs?" Warner asked. "He feels insulted when someone questions his patriotism. What other conclusion would you come to, if you were in my shoes? Kerry, from what I read, did not criticize the tactics or strategy we were using in Vietnam. If that was what he wanted to say, I am sure that most Vietnam vets, who saw first hand that McNamara's strategy was foolish, would have agreed with him."

Warner is just one of 17 POWs who appear in "Stolen Honor" and who accuse John Kerry of betrayal.

Warner is frustrated that his story, and that of the other POWs, is being denied to the American people and efforts have been made to stop Sinclair Broadcasting from airing the documentary.

"They should have read the McCain-Feingold law that most of them voted for," Warner says. "In the black letter law of the act, the restrictions do not apply to one who owns or operates a media outlet."

Burkett argues that new revelations, such as Kerry's use of POW families, need to be revealed to the American people before they make a historic decision on Election Day.

"These POWs more than anyone else have a right to be heard and should be heard by all Americans," Burkett told NewsMax, adding, "They each spent additional months if not years in prison because of John Kerry."

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The new allegation against Kerry is made in the controversial documentary "Stolen Honor: Wounds that Never Heal" by James H. Warner, a former Marine Corps naval flight officer who won the Silver Star after spending more than five years in a North Vietnamese...
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Monday, 18 October 2004 12:00 AM
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