In addition to two key books about John Kerry -- Douglas Brinkley's pro-Kerry book "Tour of Duty" and John O'Neill's anti-Kerry book "Unfit for Command" -- there is another book that would be well worth reading -- if you can find a copy.
It is John Kerry's own book, written in 1971, titled "The New Soldier." It is out of print and Senator Kerry will not let it be reprinted.
The book's front cover shows protesters carrying the American flag upside down, and inside are photos of members of Kerry's group -- Vietnam Veterans Against the War -- with clenched fist salutes and some of the guys done up to look like Che Guevara.
Also included are photographs of Ramsey Clark, who was a lawyer for Kerry's group. Clark went to North Vietnam and returned to report that American prisoners of war were being well treated there. Those POWs who were finally released after the war told a very different and very bitter story.
No wonder Kerry doesn't want his 1971 book reprinted during an election year. It would not fit in with the image he is trying to create today.
Those in the media who are looking for some kind of political conspiracy to explain why so many Vietnam veterans have organized into a group that has come out publicly against Kerry are overlooking the very obvious fact of what Kerry himself said and did when he returned to the United States after his abbreviated tour of combat duty in Vietnam.
Kerry was not simply part of the "anti-war" movement of the 1960s. Many of us opposed the Vietnam war then for a variety of reasons. What Kerry did was accuse Americans still fighting in Vietnam of widespread atrocities on a daily basis, atrocities authorized all the way up the chain of command, atrocities committed for racial reasons, doing things to the Vietnamese that we would never do to Europeans.
This will no doubt come as some surprise to those Germans whose cities were fire-bombed to rubble in World War II. In John Kerry's speeches and public appearances, however, he said that Americans deliberately killed innocent Vietnamese civilians, raped Vietnamese women wholesale and had "free-fire zones" where troops were under orders to shoot anything that moved.