[sixties-l] Kerrey and McVeigh

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Sat May 12 2001 - 18:28:22 EDT

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    May 10, 2001
    issue of Workers World newspaper

    Kerrey and McVeigh


    Two mass murderers who learned their killing techniques from the Pentagon
    have been in the news: ex-Senator, ex-Navy Seal and confessed killer of
    Vietnamese civilians Robert Kerrey and convicted and confessed Oklahoma City
    mass murderer Timothy McVeigh.

    The two probably don't think of themselves as having much in common. Kerrey
    considers himself a law-abiding citizen who served his country. McVeigh likes
    to posture as a lone fighter against an oppressive tyranny in Washington. Yet
    they both became tools of a racist system of oppression and exploitation.

    Kerrey was a Navy Seal. That is, he was a trained killer, a shark with
    brains. Given the description of his group's duties, he was part of Operation
    Phoenix, a plan to assassinate civilian political leaders of the National
    Liberation Front of Vietnam. It meant killing the equivalent of town and
    village mayors who were suspected of sympathizing with what the U.S.
    occupying forces and their puppets called the "Vietcong."

    It also meant killing any civilians--politically active or not, grandparents
    and children--who had the misfortune of being in a position to compromise the
    military operation the Seals were carrying out. Or those who might testify
    against the murderers afterward. Kerrey said it was hard to carry out these
    killings. It's like that moment of decision when you are drowning kittens, he
    once explained to a college class after his role in the war was over.

    In February 1969, when he led his unit in a massacre, Kerrey was a
    25-year-old officer. Older than most U.S. youths drafted to fight in Vietnam.
    Not as old as the cynical politicians, generals, CIA officials and other
    executives of the Johnson and Nixon administrations who dreamt up Operation
    Phoenix, carpet bombing, napalm and Agent Orange for a war against an entire
    population. Those who orchestrated this war of imperialist aggression knew
    exactly what they were doing: keeping the world safe for the profits of the
    multinational corporations. All of these master criminals, like Robert
    McNamara and Henry Kissinger, have gone unpunished for their war crimes. It
    looks like Kerrey will also go unpunished for being their tool.

    McVeigh, on the other hand, never quite made the grade. He hoped for an Army
    career, won a Bronze Star in the brutal U.S.-led war against Iraq, boasted of
    killing some Iraqis and being on security for General Norman Schwarzkopf. He
    was a low-level tool for another master war criminal. When he tried to raise
    his level by becoming a Green Beret--an Army version of the Navy Seals--he
    failed to make the grade.

    Dumped from the Army, McVeigh had no officially sanctioned imperialist outlet
    for his backward and murderous sentiments. He joined the Ku Klux Klan. He
    hung around ultra-right militias. And he turned against the government
    that--under slightly different circumstances--might have gone on paying him
    to kill in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Colombia, or wherever. But he kept the same
    racist sentiments that made him useful in Iraq. He just bombed the "wrong"

    McVeigh showed how close he was to the official military when he explained
    his limited remorse for killing 25 children. "That's a large amount of
    collateral damage," he told his biographer. He used the euphemism for war
    crimes that will forever be attached to Jamie Shea, a British official who
    spoke for NATO during the bombing of Yugoslavia but was coached by Clinton,
    Albright and Co.

    McVeigh may pretend to be a rebel, but he's just a racist tool who was
    discarded by his masters. Now they hope that by executing him they can
    completely cut loose from the responsibility they have for creating him in
    the first place.

    In Kerrey's day, the term "collateral damage" was not yet in use. Plus the
    murders were close up--not by guided missile from a ship in the Mediterranean
    or the Persian Gulf. Kerrey claims to feel remorse for what he did in Vietnam.

    Before people get caught up in the media spin on this story and start feeling
    sorry for Kerrey, they should consider that there were other choices. There
    were U.S. youths ordered into the military who refused the draft. There were
    troops ordered to Vietnam who refused to go. There were troops whose
    experience in Vietnam taught them they must refuse to fight, or that they
    should fight instead against the officers who ordered them into battle. A few
    went over to the side of the Vietnamese liberation fighters.

    Some went to jail, others went into exile, many paid dearly for their courage
    in refusing to fight against a people's war. But none of them has any reason
    to feel remorse. Kerrey was honored as a hero, but these youths were the real
    U.S. heroes of the Vietnam War and far too little praise is given to their
    acts of courage.

    Kerrey and McVeigh, on the other hand, are just imperialist tools.

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