Dear John

Received this from someone who believes “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”. Russ sounds like a class act and the following proves it.

An Open Letter to Senator John McCain from a Vietnam Veteran
Senator McCain,
I begin this missive with an embrazo, as we call it here in Texas, for your
service to our country, as a warrior, as a prisoner of war and as a United
States Senator. You have served far better and endured far more in the
service of America than most men will ever do. For that, this old sergeant
salutes you.
That said, as a Vietnam ground combat veteran, I must take issue with you on
the situation of John Kerry and the Swift Boat Veterans. You have labeled
these men “dishonest and dishonorable,” and that, Sir, is nothing more than
your opinion based on no direct knowledge of the events they dispute. For
you to so condemn these men publicly, without any firsthand knowledge of
John Kerry’s performance in their midst and under their professional
observation, is unfair to them and all veterans who share their view that
John Kerry is unfit to command. Who was best qualified to evaluate you as a
naval aviator, those senior officers who flew with you or the enlisted men
who serviced your aircraft? Who had the experience, training and knowledge
to make a professional military judgment of your performance in the air, the
trained naval aviators on your wing or the enlisted flight crew back on the
carrier? Certainly the enlisted men were vital in performing the mission but
observing and rating your performance was not their role.
It is my understanding that you originally shared our animosity towards John
Kerry, but during your senatorial service, you came to know him more
personally and chose to forgive him for his labeling you a war criminal.
That you are able to forgive a man even though he had denounced you and your
fellow aviators as you languished in North Vietnamese prisons, with your
captors using his testimony to try to break your will, is truly commendable.
I admire you for your ability to turn the other cheek. However, I must point
out that your forgiveness of John Kerry is purely personal and imposes not
one iota of obligation to forgive him on those of us who still consider him
You carry no mandate to speak for us. Your personal feelings are yours and
yours alone; but, emphatically, you do not speak for us. You spoke up to
defend your friend and your friend has turned your words into talking
points. It is truly reprehensible how the Kerry campaign and the mainstream
media are hiding so cynically behind your condemnation of the Swiftvets,
using your statement as an excuse to dismiss their claims as baseless, smear
politics. Honestly, Senator, did you really intend to provide this kind of
cover for those who are so desperate to prevent the truth from coming out?
With all do respect, since you weren’t there to observe John Kerry first
hand as were these Swiftvets, may I humbly suggest that the honorable thing
for you to do, is to stay out of this fight and allow them and us to have
our voice. Moreover, there is one thing you could do to level the playing
field: acknowledge that you have no true knowledge of events the Swiftvets
describe and that your immediate condemnation of these men was premature.
Call on the mainstream media to investigate all parties fairly and determine
whose version of events is true. I understand John Kerry is your friend, but
that places him neither beyond accountability nor above the truth. You have
a unique ability at this moment in America’s history to make a difference.
You have long been a dutiful warrior and servant of the people.
Please, do your duty now.
Russ Vaughn
2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division
Vietnam 65-66
I would request that all who agree with the sentiments expressed here copy
this letter and send it to:

There is little more I can add, except your words ring true, every one of them.
Oh, and if I haven’t said this already, “Thank you for your service Russ!” You ever get out in my neck of the woods, your money is no good at the local watering hole, but mine will be *grin*.


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