Wednesday, January 04, 2006


This is one of five papers presented in person at Texas Tech University in March 2005 by Nancy Miller Saunders, Gerald Nicosia, Alex Primm, Terry DuBose and Willie Hager -- all early members/supporters of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). The unedited video of this face off with the Swift Boat Veterans 'For Truth' can be viewed for free at the TTU website. Click the link at the end of this article to view the videos.


In 1971, the year that will figure so prominently in today’s presentations and discussions, I was 29 years old. I had served in Vietnam for two tours, totaling 21 months. My tours spanned the years 1965 thru 1968. I had been a United States Marine, Sgt. E-5. During my two tours I served as a Combat Engineer Team Leader and as a Helicopter Support Team Leader in multiple combat operations in the field in South Vietnam…specifically in I Corps…the Northernmost Military Region, which bordered the DMZ with North Vietnam. As Combat Engineers and Helicopter Support Teams, we were attached out in four person teams to the various Marine Regiments and Battalions and Companies for support for their combat operations. Therefore, we were assigned to and worked with Marine units of all sizes and from all Divisions; the 1st, 3d, and 5th Marine Divisions who were deployed in RVN at the time. In this capacity, we were exposed to the many fighting philosophies of these units, which were very diversified. In a nutshell; in our capacity, we saw it all.

I had seen enough by 1 March 1969, after a Marine Corps career spanning 10 years. I was decorated for my services in combat, and was Honorably Discharged as a Sgt. E-5 from the United States Marine Corps. Two years later, in 1971, I was a married to a beautiful woman, going to Saddleback College, in Mission Viejo, Ca, on the GI Bill (such as it was), surfing, and trying to put my experiences in Vietnam and the Marine Corps and all of the turmoil that thinking about it brought to me out of my mind. I was doing great at college and having a large time leading an almost dreamlike life, why sweat it, right?

Then one day, I saw a newspaper article on the inside pages of a newspaper that had a photo of a Marine hunkered down and firing his M-16 over a berm in a place called Go Noi Island, RVN. I forget the newspaper or the title of the article, or the exact date; but I sure didn’t forget the image of that Marine fighting on Go Noi Island. I had been there, two years previously. It all came flashing back to me; in the late summer of 1968; I was attached (USMC calls it TAD) out to successive units rotating on and off Go Noi Island, RVN, without myself having rotated out of the field for several of those unit rotations. Until one day, word came out to us in the field; the 27th Marine Regt, whom I had come over with in 5th Shore Party, from Kanehoe Bay, Hi, was being rotated out of Vietnam, along with the Army’s 82d Airborne Division, this withdrawal was scheduled for September of 1968. Now, here it was, two years later; and this Marine in this photo was still engaged with the enemy on Go Noi Island…just as I had been for so many weeks during that final in-country Operation. That was just overwhelming!

And then all of the other craziness of it all came roaring back on me...I was instantly reinforced that I had done the right thing in getting out of the Marine Corps, and away from any need to have to ever return to Vietnam…at the time I left, we had already been there for four years, with no end in sight…now, seven years, and counting, later; I was being confronted with the exact same scenario, in the exact same location that I had managed to escape from in 1968, upon the withdrawal of the 27th Marine Regiment from the field of battle in Vietnam. I felt so tremendously sad for that unidentified Marine, and for all those who were still dying needlessly, without rhyme or reason, and then, suddenly; for all of us.

I take the time and the space here to give you all of this, in order to set the context of the times, and of my state of mind, and my perceptions of events yet to come. A very different perspective, and a very different truth than those wannabe Plumbers, the Swift Boat Vets For Truth AKA Vietnam Veterans For A Just Peace, circa 1971 would have you believe existed in that day regarding VVAW and the Vietnam veterans who stepped up to the plate and testified at the Winter Soldier Investigation, in Detroit in 1971, and those who symbolically tossed their medals back to the government that issued them at Operation Dewey Canyon III. Both of these 1971 “Actions” were in protest to what was becoming in all clarity, a failed US policy in Vietnam that was supported by an Administration that lied to, and misled the American people about what the reality was regarding our deployment there.

All of this is documented by actual American History and other Truths to follow… i.e. The Pentagon Papers, the Watergate hearings, and last, but not least; the ultimate fall of the Nixon Administration, under the threat of impeachment and in total disgrace. And in recent times, subsequent to the aforementioned events; the duplicity of Nixon’s war criminals in leaving American POWs behind and unaccounted for in South East Asia, at the same time telling the American people that all the POWs were already home.

These are the Truths of the times, not the swill that the Swift Boat Vets are trying to foist off on America as truth. The Swifties are quite simply an ugly and dangerous resurgence of the Nixon Doctrine On The Governing Of The American People. Apparently we didn’t get all of the cockroaches when we turned on the lights during the fight for control of America’s political system back in the ‘70s.

In the volatility of those times, it was becoming extremely difficult for many veterans to reconcile their participation in all of that purposeless killing. That and the, seemingly, never ending deaths of the American GIs who followed in their foot steps. The one’s who followed were the numbers reported each night by the Networks; “ Only 10 Americans were killed in Vietnam today”… Only 10!? How do you interpret “Only”?

This was my first introduction to Right Wing spin on the news. The sad thing is that most of the GIs that went to Vietnam prior to 1971 were unaware of the objective truth. They went armed only with their government’s lies about their pending sacrifices. It’s one thing to fight and die bravely for something you believe in, but completely another to kill and possibly die for something that nobody other than Nixon’s war criminal cabinet and advisors believed in any longer. The lid was coming off the pot, and VVAW was becoming the cook, with a very big spoon for stirring things up. This was the image that I as a veteran of that war saw; not the one that the then Veterans For A Just Peace were trying to conjure up.

In our college and surfing community in Southern California, we had constant updates from student activists, and PBS Specials, as well as through our music and the LA Free Press; the primary underground news organ of the time. It was on those pages that I first became aware of Vietnam Veterans Against The War. At that time they were using the Free Press to recruit members and to stir up interest in Vietnam Veterans joining them in Washington D.C. for an action that they were calling Dewey Canyon III, A Limited Incursion into the Congress of the US, to protest further participation in the Vietnam War by US forces. Shortly after learning of the Winter Soldier Investigation which had recently taken place in Detroit, a documentary film of the event was made available. These guys were testifying publicly to acts that all of us knew were SOP, (Standard Operating Procedure) for the day, throughout the military in Vietnam.

However, for the most part, the rest of us had never even talked to our families about these kinds of things, let alone each other. Our shame was so great, and our emotions so numbed from having been a part of all those horrible things that these guys were now telling the American people about; that we had never dared given even a small thought to sharing them with anyone.

But, here it was…cat out of the bag…more Truth to deal with…these guys were the heroes that gave many of us, through their actions in 1971, an avenue to begin healing from wounds that we didn’t even realize that we had up to that point! Furthermore they shocked America awake as to the reality of a Tour Of Duty in Vietnam. They were saying words that my heart wished that I had the courage to say. I was catching on fire!

Dewey Canyon III was all over the news while it was going on, in what was growing coverage of VVAW’s actions by all forms of media…TV put the VVAW in all of the living rooms of America at the 6:00 P.M. hour (Before Cable News). This was extremely powerful imagery that was being put in front of Americans who huddled around their TV sets by the millions every night in those days. GIs throwing their medals away?! How could this be? What are they, a bunch of Communists? They can’t really be veterans! There must be a sinister plot of violent overthrow by radical dissidents in all of this.

That was the message the Swifties AKA VVFAJP were reinforcing as far and wide as they were able to, back in 1971. Or, was it something more; was something really happening here? Was it possible that these men were really tormented heroes pouring out their souls to their countrymen, as it appeared that they were? The American people chose to believe that conclusion…embraced that image, and accepted the Truth of the Reality that these men bore as bravely as they bore their combat wounds and mental scars resulting from their service to their country in Vietnam. VVAW became a household acronym. And so, as a reward for one of the most powerful, heart rendering, and yet peaceful statements ever made protesting our participation in Vietnam; the symbolic returning of medals earned in Vietnam; the Swifties AKA VVFJP, attacked us.

However, the American people took us to their hearts. This incredibly powerful imagery was calculated to do just what it did; stop the hearts of Americans as they watched Operation Dewey Canyon III unfold on TV. They watched, transfixed, as Combat Veterans with tears in their eyes and cries of frustration on their lips symbolically tossed their awards for service and heroism back to the government and, in so doing, made all those watching the evening news believers. Winning Hearts and Minds.

For their part; the then version of what is now slickly named The Swift Boat Veterans For Truth AKA Vietnam Veterans For A Just Peace, heaped derision, disrespect and lies about these men’s service to their country, and on their actions protesting further service by anybody on that failed mission. A shameful practice that continues to this day. Only now, their venom is primarily being directed at our younger Brothers and Sisters who are today Speaking Truth To Power, as we did back in The Day, the IVAW.

I know first-hand about the true character of the Winter Soldier Investigation Veterans, and of their claims. Theirs, and hundreds of other Vietnam Veterans who were there on the Mall in 1971 for Dewey Canyon III to Speak Truth To Power, and to the American People, about the real nature of their service to their country. I know this as I was to meet and come to know most of them personally over the next few years as I traveled the US on VVAW business…and I assure you that it was Courageous and Honorable service.

These VVAW types were dedicated to bringing about the 10 Objectives of VVAW, not assassination plots and anti-government conspiracies, as the Swifts’ AKA VVFAJP propaganda would have you believe. The forces of evil, in this case, are known under the modern day guise of Swift Boat Veterans For Truth. Who attempted then, and still to this day attempt to portray the symbolic Dewey Canyon III medal return action as a contrived left wing political plot to overthrow the legitimate government by a bunch of non-combat veterans and wannabes.

Wrong! The majority of the news watchers among the American people of the day rightly figured it out that; if the vets who had fought and managed to return from this war were there in Washington, D.C. for this, and are making this kind of statement in front of the world, there must be something to it.

It was unprecedented that American fighting men would return from a war and speak out so passionately and poignantly against America’s continued participation in that same war. It is still some of the most powerful and defining imagery in American history. The Swifts, on the other hand, in 1971, were basically unknown to the majority of the masses, and remained that way right up until the recent John Kerry Presidential election campaign. They once again reared their ugly heads and showed their black hearts.

Other than one subsequent debate where their “leader”, then and now; John O’Neill, was humiliated by John Kerry, and drowned in his own rhetoric on ABC's special June 30, 1971 broadcast of The Dick Cavett Show, they generated very little public interest in their Nixononian like postulations. They were not heard from in any kind of a meaningful way again until the recent Presidential election, where they once again fired up the hate machine, and again took up their assault on VVAW and John Kerry. They even had a new and timely name; The Swift Boat Veterans For Truth. The right wing money poured into their coffers, and they launched their campaign to sabotage the Presidential campaign of past VVAW leader and spokesman, Senator John Kerry.

They had curried favor with the Money Minions of the Right, with their pathetic attempts, way back in 1971, to derail the VVAW onslaught of those times. The 2004 election was pay-off time for them. They were given millions in financing, as well as free political license to perform character assassination on the Democratic nominee, Senator John Kerry.

The saddest part, this time around, was that John Kerry gave them a by. Americans scratched their heads and wondered why he didn’t respond; Could the Swift Boat vets be right they wondered, as Kerry failed to respond? Could these charges be true; why doesn’t he speak up? This one billion decibel silence on the matter by the Kerry camp empowered the Swifties, and fattened their war chest. And, most importantly today; it is the reason that this panel appears before you… it stops here; these thugs will not intimidate us, and they will not be allowed to dishonor our service, our politics or our heroes, ever again. Not without direct response from those who know, and have lived the Truth that these guys so badly distort for personal political and financial gain…today is the beginning of the end for these thugs and their Brown Shirt tactics.

John Kerry gained national prominence at Dewey Canyon III, when his countenance appeared on PBS TV at the Congressional hearings where he made the famous “ Last Man To Die Speech”. John was not speaking for himself, as the Swifties would have you believe. He was speaking as the selected representative of the thousands of VVAW Veterans who had descended on Washington D.C. for Dewey Canyon III, and said so right at the opening of his presentation… So, that was the VVAW Reality of the time, not the image that the Vietnam Veterans For A Just Peace AKA Swift Boat Veterans For Truth were trying to conjure up for their personal and political gain. That was the Reality of VVAW in 1971; not the lies and half truths of the politically opportunistic Vietnam Veterans For A Just Peace, who are once again wheeling out the old act, directed now at AARP; our parents and Grandparents…and it was a very powerful Reality, indeed. It was a compelling reality that was fueled with the fires of the souls of thousands of America’s best.

Winter Soldier Investigation, Operation Dewy Canyon III, and John Kerry’s soul wrenching speech in Congress was the VVAW that thousands of us Vietnam Veterans saw and knew in 1971…the Call that we answered. That Reality was the reality that America in general saw and knew to be VVAW. It was that reality that they responded to in their enthusiastic support of our always non-violent actions. Not the sordid and seedy surreal dime store novel image of wild and dangerous men plotting, and trying to hatch schemes of violent overthrow of our government, and assassination of our elected officials that the Swifts would have America believe to be the case.

That Reality was perceived and acted on by the majority of the real Combat Veterans of VVAW as a patriotic undertaking. Many forces tried to co-opt our image, and our military organizational skills, and what we perceived as our national mandate…we were infiltrated by the FBI and the communists, and both were very challenging to our efforts; but, like the good combat soldiers that we were; through it all, we never lost site of the objective, and we never faltered till we recaptured the American Flag from the Nixon administration, and brought America’s interest in involvement in a continuing war in Vietnam to an end.

Many of us will be paying the price, and bearing the personal scars for that commitment for the remainder of our lives; but it was a good thing…not the swill that the Swift Boat Vets spew in the form of snippets and half truths, self righteously assassinating people’s character and belittling their service to their country…damning them for exercising the basic American rights of freedom of thought, and freedom of speech. Values that they had shed blood for…theirs, and that of the enemy forces in the field in Vietnam.

Every time I get an image of the VVAW that I knew and participated in; my heart swells with the pride of having been a part of their Reality. On the other hand, speaking of images and reality; every time I think of the Swifties, I get images of Nixon and Jack-Boots. Beware, America; think for yourselves; don’t allow the forces of evil do your thinking and analysis of events for you. We fought and died in Vietnam, and later struggled to bring down a corrupt and evil Administration in order that you should be able vote your heart and your conscious, not the party line. That is the Reality of VVAW Vs The Swift Boats For Truth, and their pathetic and cruel manipulation thereof for personal and political gain. Truth, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, and in the hearts of those who have lived it.

To view the video of this presentation, click here link and scroll down to Saturday, March 19, 2005, 10:30 A.M.


This paper focuses on 2 books from the 2004 election: "On Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War" by Douglas Brinkley and "Unfit for Command, Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry" by John O'Neill & Jerome Corse. It was presented in person at Texas Tech University, March 2005, as part of a VVAW panel that included Nancy Miller Saunders, Gerald Nicosia, Alex Primm, Terry DuBose and Willie Hager, all early members/supporters of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). Click link at end of article and scroll down to VVAW panel to view videos.


The change in focus for this paper came about rather quickly when I realized there was no way to read, much less analyze, the perhaps several score of books that dealt with the Vietnam War in the last election. The only thing which may compare with this vitriolic flood may be two 19th Century American campaigns: John Quincy Adams’ attacks on Andrew Jackson in 1828 for alleged adultery; second, Grover Cleveland’s problems with courtship during the election of 1884.

Their malevolence make these scurrilous tactics of the 19th Century similar to our 2004 election. But in these previous mudslinging campaigns, the candidates had been hurling invective at each other many months before Election Day. The Swift Boat veterans’ attacks on John Kerry came out of the blue only few months before Election Day ‘04. A 30-year-plus history of mistruths surrounding the Vietnam War helped create a charged election season, as we shall see.

This morning we’ll look at a few attacks in the book Unfit for Command on the Vietnam Veterans Against the War when John Kerry was involved. Also I’ll examine one Midwestern chapter of that organization. Are the Swift Boaters right in calling VVAW of no value? As many veterans must have been, I was apprehensive when the Democratic nominee decided to make his service in Vietnam a key part of his campaign. This war has always been divisive.

Wouldn’t focus on other issues, such as the on-going war in Iraq, be more relevant? However when Douglas Brinkley’s biography, Tour of Duty, was released last spring, I felt the Kerry campaign may have wisely selected his military service as the key narrative in defining the candidate. Though I thought the book somewhat rambly, it attempted to be reasonably objective. Maybe Kerry could resolve differences over this old conflict as he and Sen. John McCain had confronted MIAs in Vietnam.

Brinkley’s book was overshadowed during the campaign as more strident political books on both left and right dominated. Literary warfare went bonkers. The most effective of these campaign tracts was Unfit for Command, Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry. The Swifts most serious charge against John Kerry may be on page 108: “Senator Kerry refuses to consider that his testimony caused more deaths and prolonged the war in Vietnam by undermining support at home and contributing directly to a Vietnamese Communist victory.”

Referring to Kerry’s famous speech of April 1971 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Swiftees imply widespread support for the war. In fact backing for the war had been steadily declining for at least three years at this time. One of the strongest anti-war statements of this period came a year and three-quarters before Kerry’s address by Life magazine, hardly a radical publication.

The June 27, 1969, issue devoted 12 pages to photographs of the 242 Americans killed in Vietnam during the last week of May, the week of Memorial Day, 1969. These 242 deaths were an average weekly loss for the United States during this period. More than 20,000 additional Americans were to die in Vietnam after that special issue in Life magazine appeared. What purpose did these deaths serve?

Blaming veterans who for the first time in history opposed their own war for its very continuation makes as much sense as attacking trees for causing lung cancer or walkers for highway fatalities. But political arguments are rarely about reason. This is what makes Unfit for Command so toxic. Its arguments rely on half-truths and attacks on anyone who questioned the wisdom of American policies at any level. By contrast, Brinkley’s biography shows how John Kerry gradually turned against the Vietnam War. Such ambivalence about this conflict typifies what many, in the military and out of uniform, felt during America’s three decades of involvement and especially at the height of combat in the late 1960s.

For most who joined VVAW, it was not an easy decision. Over its most active years, the group was diverse across the nation. There was little to gain from becoming a member. Unfit for Command makes the decision to join into something casual:

In 1970, joining the VVAW took little more effort than just showing up. Anyone with a beard, scraggly uniform, and enough make-do information about the military and Vietnam-information readily available in a bar or a library—could become a full-fledged member.” (p. 114)
This hardly describes the membership process. Veterans were reluctant to join the organization as most who had been released from service and were questioning their service in the conflict had enough of organizations at any level. They wanted to be left alone to adjust to the new world of being a civilian. Many anti-war veterans may have looked scraggly, but their consciences were far from inactive. Joining the organization, when our St.Louis chapter was most active, demanded total openness because most of us were starting out in careers and thus had time free from studies or marginal jobs. So we came to know one another in the process of planning protests, which took many creative forms, ranging from developing a housing program for vets to throwing bags of our own blood onto a military facility to protest the Christmas bombing of Hanoi.

The Swift Boaters also attack VVAW for ‘demonizing’ American soldiers fighting in Vietnam. (p. 116) Nothing could be further from the truth. Our argument focused on government policies, not finding fault with fellow veterans. We were saying the emperor was not only naked, he was criminal.

Just as VVAW nationally sponsored the Winter Soldier Investigation in 1971, our St. Louis chapter sponsored a similar local inquiry into the war that April. Some 20 vets testified. One of the most memorable was an Army lieutenant who compared his service in Operation Phoenix to ‘neutralize’ Viet Cong infrastructure to Nazi policies. This young officer went on to serve in George H.W. Bush’s justice department. Three other law students in our VVAW chapter have continued in legal public service.

Was our VVAW chapter unique in being composed of several hundred young veterans, officers and enlisted men from all walks of life, who could unify around one basic principle: that American troops should be withdrawn as quickly as possible from Southeast Asia?

Some of us were more conservative, believing the war should have been carried out more aggressively; most felt that the war was immoral and would never be won no matter what. Usually checking with police before any actions, we developed an understanding with the St. Louis Red Squad out of their respect for our openness as veterans. Mostly it was a profoundly local organization led by a core that rarely contacted chapters in Arkansas, Chicago, Kansas City or the East Coast. Long distance was expensive back then. In general VVAW in the American Heartland was a healthy and rapidly growing organization in the early 1970s: no wonder the Nixon Administration sought to destabilize us with infiltrators. Not only was VVAW a rapidly growing organization, our military in Vietnam was losing its ability to fight. Thus VVAW was targeted as an enemy. The Swift Boaters used similar half-truths successfully last fall.

What made our chapter most effective was neither the dozen or so vets we sent to Washington D.C. to protest as part of Dewey Canyon III in spring 1971, nor the several dozen who returned their medals and commissions as officers to the government at a similar protest later that year in St. Louis. What made this VVAW chapter most significant were the human bonds between young men filled with anger at their best years wasted in failed foreign adventures. We inspired a certain idealism and hope in each other because we knew we were survivors of terrible tragedy. We bonded as we had with fellow soldiers in Vietnam, and didn’t worry that much about personal political ideologies. We gave new life to ourselves, to the peace movement nationally and to Congress to oppose executive corruption by our determination to speak truth to power. This is the ultimate value of VVAW, its moral witness to American foreign policy.

One time a young vet visited our on-going irregular weekly meeting in St. Louis. He was discouraged, out of work and maybe strung out on drugs. We learned later he killed himself shortly after that. It was a terrible feeling for all of us. But it only strengthened ourresolve and drew us tighter together. We knew the effects of hate and extremism all too well. We ourselves were the only people we could fully trust. No one outside of our group understood our rage at the betrayal of American ideals and useless deaths we had witnessed. Trust in America was the ultimate victim of the war in Vietnam.

Larry Sabato and Glenn Simpson also wrote about the death of trust in America in their classic examination of recent elections, Dirty Little Secrets: The Persistence of Corruption in American Politics. It reports a 1964 survey found 76 percent of respondents trusting the federal government to do what is right most of the time. Thirty years later that figure had fallen to 19 percent.

The lies that supported the Vietnam War killed trust in America. These same lies were carried forward into the 2004 campaign. The lies of the past killed off discussion of current issues. Thus the war in Vietnam continues to cast its pall over the war in Iraq and all of us.

John Kerry asked Congress in 1971 who will be the last person to die in Vietnam. The recent election makes clear that not only is truth the first causality in war, truth is a continuing casualty of combat. It is almost as if the word ‘reconciliation’ has been stricken from the language.

To view the video of this presentation, click here link and scroll down to the appropriate panel.


This is one of five papers presented in person at Texas Tech University in March 2005 by Nancy Miller Saunders, Gerald Nicosia, Alex Primm, Terry DuBose and Willie Hager -- all early members/supporters of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). The unedited video of this face off with the Swift Boat Veterans 'For Truth' can be viewed for free at the TTU website. Click the link at the end of this article to view the videos.


With this opportunity I wish to set the record straight about what I said and did not say as it relates to the VVAW, John Kerry, and any talk of violence against senators who were the primary hawks supporting the Vietnam war. But, first I wish to thank the Texas Tech University and The Vietnam Center for conducting open and honest discussion of this important time in our nation’s history. The division in the country over Vietnam and its effect on the nation needs to be understood, for I fear we are now repeating aspects of this history that are not yet completely comprehended.

For this discussion, I will take quotes from the literature of the so called “Swift Vets and POWs for Truth” [sic], and point out the half-truths and lies as one who waspresent at the events.

On their web pages the not so “Swift Vets” have the following statements about my alleged activities: (Quoted verbatim from the URLs noted at the bottom of the quotation. The use of elipses (two and three dots) scattered throughout the quote appears to mean that the writer omitted words, a dangerous practice when attempting to show unbiased facts. While they post these things under my name, almost none of them had anything to do with me. I certainly didn’t get any trips to meet Jean-Paul Sartre in Norway paid for by rich New Yorkers. I have no idea where they got this mess, it isn’t in the FOI FBI file sent to me in 1979.)

“DuBOSE, Terry (former WAW)
--6/7l: FBI File (S8,p135): DuBose is WAW Regional Coordinator for TX. (S8,p161-162): “Nat‘l WAW News: Conf. of WAW regional coords. was held in St. Louis on June 4&5. Terry DuBose..attended this meeting. Several upcoming nat’l. programs were discussed.. vets to lobby and fast in support of the Hatfield-McGovern amendment.. On 6/19, there will be a National Day of Solidarity with the United Front of Cairo, IL.. open race war in the streets in recent months..will meet to find concrete ways WAW can support them.., Other news (redacted) will be attending the Int’l. Peace Conf. with such notables as Jean-Paul Sartre, in Norway this month. They are being flown to the conf. by some NY peace people.. If you can pick up the Dick Cavett show on TV, you can see a debate between WAW people and reps. of the newly-formed VV For a Just Peace on 6/30 know that the debate won’t be much of a contest,
*but it should be amusing..”
--11/71: At VVAW meeting re assassination; said Kerry was there.
--8/4/04: Supports Kerry. (“Those who take issue with John Kerry’s military record should compare it to George W. Bush’s.. ‘Winter Soldiers’ was shown at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival last year. Anyone who believes Vietnam was not a mistake should watch this film” Letter to the Editor, Arkansas Democratic Gazette, Aug 4 2004, http://www.knowledgeplex. org/news/38172. html (1)

John O’Neill very skillfully joined three half-truths to form two very complete lies. In the book “Unfit for Command”, O’Neill stated: “Then Lipscomb found two VVAW members, Randy Barnes and Terry DuBoise [sic], who had attended the meeting and were willing to go on record stating that they remembered Kerry being there.”(2) This quote came from an article by the yellow journalist Tom Lipscomb (New York Sun, March 12 2004)3, and was picked up and repeated by others who did not follow-up on the accuracy of the statement and none of whom called me for verification.(4,5)

Here is my recollection of what happened during that time.

As a VVAW State Coordinator and National Steering Committee Member, I
attended two of the national VVAW meetings. The first was in St. Louis in the early part of 1971. At that meeting I remember the discussions about the racial tensions in Cairo, Illinois, that VVAW voted to support the United Front of Cairo, and several other national issues. I also remember talking to John Kerry while sitting on a back porch in St. Louis after dinner one evening. However, I did not talk to John Kerry in Kansas City six months later, and do not recall his being there, though others have said he was present.

On the day in question, the Kansas City VVAW meeting took place in the education building of a church with a grassy campus in the bend of a creek. The Steering Committee meetings were serious, long, and tiring. We broke for lunch and the members were standing up, stretching, and heading out to eat when a vet approached me and asked me to come down to the creek behind the building where some vets wanted to talk. I followed him around the building and down the grassy slope to a group of 6 or 8 vets. I knew two of the vets; I did not know the others. One vet came up and introduced himself; we shook hands. I was introduced to the others, but I don’t remember their names or states.

At this unofficial group there was emotional talk about the fact that the Vietnam War was not slowing down, thousands were continuing to die, and we could probably bring the war to an end by simply “blowing away” about six to eight of the hawks’ ringleaders. While I understood their logic, I felt that this was not a good direction, and would be disastrous to VVAW. I did not say much, just that war and violence are the problems, not the solutions. I did not agree to violence and left at the first opportunity to return to the main building.

The discussion down by the creek was simply some angry Marine veterans who were frustrated by the continuing war, and who were grieving their lost buddies. No assassination attempts on anyone were ever made by any of them. John Kerry was not present in this informal group, and to my knowledge he knew nothing about the cantankerous talk.

While this topic did come up late in the official VVAW Steering Committee meeting, my recollection is not the best. The VVAW Chicago office told me last month that one person was insistent that the “Phoenix plot” be addressed, and it was flatly defeated in a unanimous NO vote. However, the FBI report posted on Mr. Scott Swett’s website ( states, “The delegations from New England and the East Coast proposed activities a week before Christmas and advocated non-violent civil disobedience.”(6) And this was Kerry’s delegation. In both versions, we, the WAW, did not propose any violent activities; yet, the Swift Boat Vets for Truth [sic] conveniently and completely ignore this fact.

The Swift Vets’ apparently took their inaccurate information from Thomas Lipscomb, with whom I did speak by phone. Lipscomb found out about the violent talk from FBI records and an oral history of WAW. He called me and I described the talk down by the creek, and I specifically stated that it was a “rump meeting”, was not a part of the real VVAW meeting, and that John Kerry was not there. Lipscomb conveniently left most of what I said out of the article. Then instead of checking for accuracy as most good writers of history do, John O’Neill and Jerome Corsi took Tom Lipscomb’s malicious article and cherry-picked information from the FBI, and used that information in their book. These were the half-truths that the Swift Vets turned into full-blown lies trying to paint WAW and John Kerry as endorsing violence, when the truth is that we (VVAW) rejected even the suggestion of violence.

Because many have doubted that VVAW was made up of Vietnam War veterans, my records are open, unlike the records of our current President. I graduated from Hardin-Simmons University in May 1966 with a Bachelor of Business Administration and enlisted in the Regular Army in August that year. The first year was spent in Basic Training at Ft. Dix, N.J., Advanced Infantry Training (AIT) at Ft. Ord, CA, Officer Candidate School, Quartermaster OCS, at Ft. Lee, VA, and Airborne School at Ft. Benning. During OCS, I put “Vietnam combat unit” as first choice on my “Dream sheet”. I received orders for the !jth Special Forces Group; however, after arriving in Vietnam my orders were changed to Hq. and Hq. Company 53rd General Support Group. The 53d was a large organization that supplied troops in the Mekong Delta area. After the Tet Offensive in 1968, a buddy, Lt. Charles Dickey, and I went to Hq. and requested transfers to combat units. Dickey’s transfer was accepted and mine was declined. Dickey was killed in combat in July just before we were due to rotate back to “the real world”.

After an honorable discharge, I went to Austin for a position as Tax Examiner in the Texas State Comptroller’s office, but I became more and more disillusioned with the war. After the Kent State Massacre, I left state employment and hitch-hiked to California and down the West Coast. Knowing few in California, and running low on funds, I returned to the University of Texas at Austin to utilize the GI Bill. I was doing graduate studies, and was starting to protest the Vietnam War. In 1970 I helped organize a veteran’s antiwar group we called “Vets for Peace”, but soon after that we received word about VVAW and the Dewey Canyon 111 protest in Washington. A contingent from Texas participated in DCIII, and when we returned to Austin we changed our organization from "Vets for Peace" to "Texas VVAW".

During the Dewey Canyon 111 WAW bivouac on the Mall, with lobbying, and other activities in Washington, D.C., April, 1971 , Nixon and associates claimed that we were not veterans. The Texas contingent volunteered to collect and alphabetize all identifications. Texas Representative Bob Eckhardt and his staff made room for us in
their offices and provided us with telephones and administrative support. We collected over 1,200 DD214's, and military orders from Vietnam. VVAW always advised members to carry their DD214's when representing VVAW because we were frequently challenged. All of these events have been published elsewhere. (8,9)

I am candidly telling what I remember in the hope that this makes clear that the not so "Swift Vets" cherry-picked information and half-truths, and knowingly molded them to fit their own prejudices. They have played fast and loose with the truth; acting as an Orwellian "Ministry of Misinformation", taking half-truths and statements out of context, spreading libelous lies. They [vou, Swett, Corsi, O'Neill and the other swift liars] have slandered me and the members of WAW; and worse, much worse, you have negatively subverted the democratic processes of our great nation. It is treasonous.

Peace, Terry J DuBose, M.S., RDMS
March 7, 2005
lst Lt. US Army, RVN, 1967-1968
Hq & Hq, 53rd Gen Support Gp.

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1) Swift Boat Vets and POWs for Truth [sic]; “Know the players” Enemies list; 12535&~postdays=O&postorder=asc&start=O&sid=b34b395
73deced7b3b26d7b62583bad4, last access February 27,2005
2) O’Neill JE and Corsi JR, Unfit for Command; Regnery Publishing, inc. 2004, p. 141.
3) Thomas Lipscomb; “How Kerry Quit Veterans Group Amid Dark Plot” NY Sun; 3/12/04; 162/posts; last access February 6, 2005.
4) TWO WITNESSES COULD END KERRY PRESIDENTIAL RUN -- “The Phoenix Project” various sources I 3-12-04 I Posted on 03/12/2004 10:32:07 hM PST by doug from upland; last access February 6,2005.
5) Jewish World Review March 16, 2004 23 Adar, 5764; Thomas H. Lipscomb “New Witness: Kerry Was Present at Dark Plot Meeting: Group Debated and Voted Down Plan To Assassinate Senators”;; last access February 6,2005.
6) Federal Bureau of Investigation; Vietnam Veterans Against The War (VVAW), Steering Committee Meeting Kansas City, Missouri, November 12, 13, 14, 1971, Internal Security - New Left; dated November 18, 1971 (100-448092-592; page 6,, last access 2005 Feb. 27.
7) Richard Stacewicz; WINTER SOLDIERS, An Oral History of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War; Twayne Publishers 1997, p. 294-295.
8) Daryl Janes; NO APOLOGIES: Texas Radicals Celebrate the “60s”; Eakin Press, Austin TX, p. 147-158.
9) Waterhouse LG & Wizard MG; Turning the GUNS around: Notes on the GI Movement; Praeger Publishers 1971, 9 p. 190-202.

To view the video of this presentation, click here link and scroll down to the appropriate panel.