My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


What Makes a Soldier

I had a long conversation with my brother tonight--birthdays, and all. In the course he reminded me of something I knew but had forgotten: soldiers don't fight for their flag or their country, they fight for the man next to them in the foxhole. Never having served, I could not attest to this personally, but it smells true to me, and since I have read this from Colin Powell and others, and my brother attests to it, I will accept it as truth. My brother further says that for John Kerry to leave the foxhole and, in effect, call all of the men down there with him criminals and murderers was the gravest betrayal he could commit. All of his noble service can not atone for that act.

But you don't just have to take his word for it, through me; you can take the word of an accomplished author and Vietnam SpecOps commander, who wrote this (also sent to me by my brother):

Open Letter to John Kerry:

My wife had rotator cuff surgery earlier this year, and the recovery is
terribly painful. Then, she developed a staph-epi infection, and they had to
cut the same scar open and operate on her again. Just thinking about the
pain and anxiety of facing that painful surgery a second time in the same
wound, makes me cringe. That experience, however pales in comparison to what
I am going through right now, in my heart.

The old hurts are surfacing and the feelings of betrayal by fellow citizens,
and their leader stirring them up, are breaking my heart again. I am being
cut in the same scar. How did we who served in Vietnam suddenly become
cold-blooded killers, torturers, and rapists, of the ilk of the Nazi SS or
the Taliban? Most of us were American soldiers who grew up idolizing John
Wayne, Roy Rogers, and all the other heroes. That was why I volunteered. But
for political expediency, John Kerry has rewritten history, again. After
spending only four months in the country of Vietnam, John Kerry testified
before Congress in 1971 with these exact words about incidents he supposedly
witnessed or heard about from other vets: "They personally raped, cut off
ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals
and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at
civilians, razed villages, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food
stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam."
I was a green beret officer who volunteered for duty in Vietnam and fought
in the thick of it in 1968 and 1969 on a Special Forces A-team on the Ho Chi
Minh Trail, just for starters. We were the elite. We saw the most action.
Everybody in the world knows that. But we did not just kill people, we built
a church, a school, treated illnesses, passed out soap, food, and clothing,
and had fun and loving interaction with the indigenous people of Vietnam,
just like our boys did in Normandy, Baghdad, Saigon, and everywhere American
soldiers ever served. We all gave away our candy bars and rations to kids.
Our hearts to oppressed people all over the globe.

My children and grandchildren could read your words, and think those
horrendous things about me, Mr. Kerry. You are a bold-faced, unprincipled
liar, and a disgrace, and you have dishonored me and all my fellow Vietnam
veterans. Sure, there were a couple bad-apples, but I saw none, and I saw it
all, and if I did, as an army officer, it was my obligation to stop it, or
at the very least report it. Why is there not a single record anywhere of
you ever reporting any incidents like this or having the perpetrators
arrested? The answer is simple. You are a liar. Your medals and mine are not
a free pass for lifetime, Senator Kerry, to bypass character, integrity, and
morality. I earn my green beret over and over daily in all aspects of my

Eight National Guard green berets, and other National Guard soldiers, have
been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and you totally dishonored their widows
and families by lumping National Guard service in with being a draft-dodger,
conscientious objector, and deserter, just so you can try to sabotage the
patriotism of our President who proudly served as an Air National Guard jet
pilot. I have a son earning his green beret at Fort Bragg right now, and his
wife serves honorably in the Air National Guard, just like President Bush
did, and I am as proud of her as I am my son. I volunteered for Vietnam and
have no problem whatsoever with President Bush being our Commander-In-Chief.
In fact, I am proud of him as our leader.

John Kerry, you personally derailed the Vietnam Human rights Bill, HR2883,
in 2001, after it had passed the House by a 411 to 1 vote, and thousands of
pro-American Montagnard tribespeople in Vietnam died since then who could
have been saved, by you. Earlier, as Chair of the Senate Select Committee on
MIA/POW Affairs, you personally quashed the efforts of any and all veterans
to report sightings of living POW's, when you held those reins in Congress.
You have fought tooth and nail to push for the US to normalize relations
with Vietnam for years. Why, Mr. Kerry? Simple, your first cousin C. Stewart
Forbes, CEO, of Colliers International, recently signed a contract with
Hanoi, worth BILLIONS of dollars for Collier's International to become the
exclusive real estate representative for the country of Vietnam.

"Hanoi John," now that it works for you, you beat your chest about your
Vietnam service, but to me, you are a phony, opportunistic, hypocrite. You
are one of those politicians that is like a fertilizer machine: all that
comes out of you is horse manure, and you are spreading it everywhere.

Medals do not make a man. Morals do.

Don Bendell
Canon City, Colorado

Don Bendell served as an officer in four Special Forces Groups, is a
best-selling author with over 1,500,000 books in print, a 1995 inductee into
the International Karate Hall of Fame, and owns karate schools in southern

Happy birthday, John. And thanks.

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