'Vietnam-Era Lies' Being Used Against US Troops, Say Ex-POWs

By Kevin Mooney | July 7, 2008 | 8:23 PM EDT


(CNSNews.com) - Vietnam-era lies about American soldiers are back with a vengeance, according to former prisoners of war who addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C.

Left wing elements in the news media and in the U.S. Congress are working to undermine American soldiers in Iraq just as their predecessors from 30 years ago did in Vietnam, said Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) and George "Bud" Day, director and president of the Vietnam Veterans Legacy Foundation (VVLF).

Johnson, a decorated fighter pilot, served in the U.S. Air Force for 29 years and flew combat missions in Korea and Vietnam. He was a POW in Hanoi for almost seven years.

Day served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, was held as a POW in Vietnam for 67 months, and was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Johnson and Day both characterized the Vietnam War as a "noble cause" and said America was winning the campaign until Congress withdrew funding. They fear the present day Congress has emerged as similar menace to the U.S. cause in Iraq.

When he emerged from prison in the early 70s, Day said, he was astonished to learn that a large proportion of the U.S. press wanted the North Vietnamese to prevail. Media people "who enjoy all the rights and privileges" of being an American were actually advocating for a communist victory, the war veteran said.

He is concerned that the same dynamic is at work today among politicians who oppose the war effort in Iraq. "The George McGovern wing of the Democratic party is alive and well," Day said.

Carlton Sherwood, who produced the 2004 documentary on Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) entitled "Stolen Valor," served as moderator for the panel discussion, which was entitled "The Left's Repeated Campaign Against the American Solider." Sherwood is himself a Vietnam veteran.

"Stolen Valor" was a critical look at Kerry's anti-war activity and the impact it had on soldiers fighting in Vietnam. Sherwood said he saw a certain parallel between the congressional behavior of the early 1970s and today.

The VVLF has assumed a special importance in light of current politics, he argued, because "it is the only organization that exists in America today dedicated to setting the record straight, and exposing the lies and myths about Vietnam and those who served there, and in the process, to protect and preserve the honor of men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan today."

A VVLF film shown during the presentation focused attention on quotes from high-profile Democrats such as Kerry and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.).

For his part, Johnson said he never would have expected to see members of Congress in both houses "denigrate" the armed forces the way he believes they have done recently.

Johnson also said the news media "is not behind" U.S. troops.

While anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan is a household name, the Texas lawmaker noted, very few Americans are familiar with Marine Corporal Jason Dunham of New York, who died while shielding fellow Marines from a grenade blast in Iraq in April 2004, and was awarded the medal of honor.

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