Tags: Kerrey's | Real | Crime: | Was | AWOL

Kerrey's Real Crime: He Was AWOL

Wednesday, 02 May 2001 12:00 AM

The scandal – unreported in the media – involves dereliction of duty, abandonment of his fellow soldiers and disregarding evidence of criminality, perjury and obstruction of justice.

Let's go back: It is 1991 and new evidence is made public – out of Cambodia – that there are U.S. POWs still being held alive

Immediately the Pentagon/CIA went into full cover-up mode trying to discredit the photograph.

Other new evidence began seeping out as well. Live sighting reports and other current information showing Americans in captivity. Even Russian President Boris Yeltsin shocked the Bush White House by declaring that American POWs from the Vietnam War may have been taken from Vietnam to Russia and may still be held alive in Russia.

A preliminary report from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee concluded that U.S. POWs were indeed alive and held in Vietnam and Laos.

All of this – leading up to a presidential election – was too much to be ignored. So the U.S. Senate, at the instigation of New Hampshire GOP senator Bob Smith, created a Senate Select Committee on POWs. They chose John Kerry as chairman and Smith as vice chairman, and then they 'loaded up' other Vietnam vet senators to add 'heft' to the panel.

Thus, Nebraska senator Bob Kerrey joined the panel.

For the next year this committee – especially the staff – was to take a totally new look at this still-unresolved matter. The key questions? Did we leave U.S. POWs behind in 1973-1975? And are they still alive today?

The story of the travails of this committee is for another time and place – and could fill a book.

But for our purposes here, the main point is simple: Bob Kerrey went AWOL!

He rarely attended any hearings – public or private. And those that he did bother to show up for were mere 'stops' on the way to other business.

In other words, Bob Kerrey – for reasons that are

He wanted – as McCain said three days ago on "Meet The Press" – to "heal the wounds of the war and move on."

Some investigation!

In other words, don't let the facts and the evidence get in the way of your pre-ordained conclusion!

Let's just wrap it all up and "move on."

Bob Kerrey was obviously scarred for life by what he saw, did and went through in Vietnam. We can't begrudge him that. But what is wrong here is that as a U.S. senator he allowed his own scars to

He paid cursory attention to the startling facts that proved – and still to this day prove – that U.S. POWs are alive and held

Why did Kerrey do this?

Because he wanted to "move on."

Fine.

But the POWs he so cavalierly dismissed as a member of that rigged Senate committee

They are stuck. They have "fallen through the cracks."

For that I blame – in part – Bob Kerrey.

If he could not dispense his duties, he either should not have joined the Senate POW Committee in the first place – or he should have resigned from the U.S. Senate.

Millions of people – mistakenly – put a lot of stock in what Bob Kerrey, John Kerry and especially John McCain say about Vietnam and the POW issue. Many Americans figure, "Well, they were over there, so they must know."

The disconnect in this argument is now clear: Precisely

The problem is that as U.S. senators they had – and still have – a

John McCain’s shocking statement last Sunday shows how putting these overly ambitious Vietnam vets (all three have already run or are now running for president – Bob Kerrey in 1992, McCain in 2000 and maybe again in 2004, and John Kerry in 2004) in charge of the POW investigation was one of the

They disgraced themselves and the Senate – and, worst of all, they betrayed our POWs.

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The scandal - unreported in the media - involves dereliction of duty, abandonment of his fellow soldiers and disregarding evidence of criminality, perjury and obstruction of justice. Let's go back: It is 1991 and new evidence is made public - out of Cambodia - that...
Kerrey's,Real,Crime:,Was,AWOL
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Wednesday, 02 May 2001 12:00 AM
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