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I Had a Nightmare

Don Bendell

Picture this, if you will. It is President John Forbes Kerry. Every hair is in place, a new Brookes Brothers blue suit fits him just right, with a red power tie, carefully knotted, and shiny black wing tips. He stands in front of that hallowed piece of black Indian granite 493 and a half feet long, and at its height, ten feet one inches tall. On it are inscribed the names of those 58,235 silent witnesses to the horrors of Vietnam. It is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, but simply called "The Wall," and it possesses magical magnetic powers. It draws Vietnam veterans, surviving family members, widows, and orphans from all over the United States to it. Once here, it becomes even more powerful, because when one is within touching distance, it draws tears out of the eyes with such energy, they pour out in racking sobs.

A family kneels down by one of those names with the tears pouring forth, and Kerry says, "What's wrong? Why are you crying?"

The white-haired mother lays her head on her husband's chest and weeps.

He speaks, "Mr. President, our son's name is right here. He was one of the 6,077 National Guardsmen and reservists killed in the war."

Kerry looks at them and smiles, saying, "Didn't you hear me in 2004? I told everybody that being in the National Guard was akin to being a draft-dodger, conscientious objector, going to Canada, or AWOL. Straighten up, woman! Why cry? Didn't you hear what I said before Congress in 1971 during the Winter Soldiers testimony? Don't you folks understand? That is what I was saying about most of these people listed on the wall, and most of the other Vietnam veterans. It must be true. My buddies from Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Beamon, Chee, Mazionel, Laboon, Swetz, Hubbard, Van Lesser, and Harbert, also testified to committing such atrocities. I know they were proven to be phonies afterwards. Five of them weren't even in the military, but Hollywood still made movies about it, the news reported it, books were written about it. I was a war criminal myself and committed atrocities, by my own admission. Nobody prosecuted me. Nobody cares. Relax. They made me Prez. Now, please move. You're blocking the camera and messing up my photo op for my "Band of Brothers." This is going in a veteran's magazine. Don't you know who I am?"

Pointing at the solemn Wall, the man says, "Mr. President, are you calling all of these people rapists, murderers, and torturers? You put down my son who was in the Guard. You put down the former President for being in the Guard when 140 Medal of Honor recipients were in the National Guard. Band of Brothers? I checked your voting record on veteran's issues at the Library of Congress website, www/thomas.loc.gov/. You sponsored one lousy veteran's bill the year you ran for President, and only 4 others the previous 18 years, and they never saw the light of day."

The new President gets uncomfortable and moves away, but he runs into Mike Benge, a man from USAID.

Benge says, "President Kerry, I was held in captivity by the North Vietnamese for five damned years, and I was tortured by my North Vietnamese captors while being read your testimony, as well as comments by Jane Fonda and Ramsey Clark. When we, the American POW's, came home during Operation Homecoming, we told you that there were more American POW's left behind, but all you did, every time a TV camera was on you, was promote normalizing relations with Vietnam when you were chairing the Senate Select Committee on MIA/POW Affairs. There were thousands of pieces of evidence, including live sightings, and you buried it all while praising Communist Vietnam. Why?

Then, in 2001, the Vietnam Human Rights Bill HR2833 passed in the House by a majority of 410-to-1. It would have economically forced Vietnam to provide for an accountable end to human rights abuses against minorities, but you stalled it in committee in the Senate and let the bill die, along with many more Montagnards, our staunchest allies. Why, Mr. President? And please don't give me your crap about riders being attached to the bill. If that was the case, it would not have passed the House by such an overwhelming majority. Why?"

Kerry grins and wraps his arm around Mike Benge's shoulders and whispers, "Mike, come on, wake up and smell the coffee. Didn't you read the article in the BOSTON HERALD on June 16, 1993 by Michael Nell, the financial columnist for the paper?"

Mike gives Kerry a strange look, replying, "No."

John Kerry continues, "The article, Man, tells about a $ 905,000,000 contract Hanoi awarded to Collier's Jardine, a subsidiary of Boston-based Colliers International, to build a deep sea port facility at Vung Tau. Then Hanoi gave Collier's the exclusive real estate development rights for the whole damned country of Vietnam. You know what that's worth?"

Benge said, "Probably billions. So?"

Kerry laughs and says, "Yeah, and the CEO of Colliers International then was my first cousin, C. Stewart Forbes. Isn't that great? It happened as soon as I closed the books on the POW issue. I have my money in three blind trusts, Man. 2001? Hell, even in the mid-nineties, my Senatorial Disclosure Statements show that I own stock in companies that have subsidiaries in Vietnam. Mikey, who do you suppose administrates my blind trusts?"

Benge is amazed and says, "Your cousin?"

Kerry laughs and claps him on the shoulder saying, "I'll never tell!" and he pauses, then continues, "but frankly, Mike, I simply don't care anyway. I just wanted votes."

Kerry chuckles, while Benge stares, open-mouthed.

Then, the rookie President leans forward and continues, "People believe me. It's easy, man. I say what I want, when I want, and they believe it, because democrats are very passionate, so they want to believe me. If republicans try to warn them or warn independents, I just attack the republicans and say they are slinging mud. Cool, huh?"

"Even after all I've done, I can still go on TV and simply call vets my Band of Brothers, and I am a war hero to everyone."

Kerry shouts gleefully, "Get this: I voted against the first Gulf War, but for the current War in Iraq. Then I voted against the money for it. I publicly criticized Bush for our intel, but I voted to decrease the CIA and NSA by 80%, and even the FBI by 60%. This was one of my better ones. Then I said Bush was decimating VA, when he actually doubled the growth for veterans over Clinton. I said Bush was underpaying our military and the truth is he has raised their pay by 21% since taking office, and I have voted against military pay raises 12 times! All I have to do is go on TV and lay all the blame on Bush, and the suckers buy it. I amaze myself!"

Benge says, "Aren't you ashamed of all this?"

Kerry says, "No. Here's my best shot yet, though. Remember that the whole free world swore we would never allow another Adolph Hitler? Saddam Hussein had killed over 300,000 of his own citizens. He used gas on thousands of innocent Kurds, men, women, and children. Nerve Gas, Man! You know, body shaking, can't breathe, soil your pants, pee yourself, excruciating pain: Gas, a Weapon of Mass Destruction. Remember the Gulf War and all the Scuds Hussein shot into Israel while Baghdad was being attacked by us? Plus, in the government, we had numerous classified intel reports about Hussein and the al Q'Aida both buying SADM's off the weapons black market. You know, Backpack Nuclear Bombs. USSR admitted to leaving 20 behind in Afghanistan. Hey man, it would only take one under a bench in Tel Aviv, London, or Phoenix and, Boom! World War III! Everyone, Kerry, Clinton, Kennedy, Albright, Gore, they all said that we had to use force and stop Hussein. I mean, like where is the dividing line, Man, when someone becomes a Hitler? So, who was going to stop him, France, Germany, Spain? Ha, ha. We're the only superpower left. So, we attacked Iraq and deposed Hussein, but my guys claimed it was a war for oil and that Bush lied about WMD. Doesn't matter that it is now a mid-eastern fledgling democracy, and we have no more visions of Scuds, maybe with gas, exploding in Israel. I spun it cool man, all against Bush. They even called him a draft dodger, when he volunteered for extra duty by becoming a jet pilot. They call me a war hero, even after my former boss and fellow sailors all said I am a phony and some of my medals were phony as could be and I am unfit to be commander in chief."

Mike Benge says, "You are sick!"

Kerry laughs, saying, "No. I'm President of the US of A, and those suckers I call my Band of Brothers helped vote me in! Think about it: 18 years in the Senate, and I only proposed five damned bills for veterans that went nowhere, and they buy my Band of Brothers line!"

Benge says, "How did they help vote you in?"

Kerry got an evil grin on his face, kind of like Lurch from the Addam's Family on his first pot high.

He said, "Simple, they didn't do anything. They kept quiet, like always. I waltzed right into the White House."

I awakened with a scream, and then looked all around, chest-heaving. I blinked my eyes. I calmed myself, now remembering that the Band of Brothers were mine, not Kerry's. He betrayed his brothers in arms in 1971, and was cast out of our family. He threw away his right to be called one of us when he tossed it over a fence at the Capitol, along with a handful of medals.

Awake now, I remembered: I called on my fellow warriors to forget our swords and pick up our pens, our cell phones, and our computer keypads, and make ourselves known as the proud, hard-working American citizens that we are.

I told my fellow vets what I had said before, "Medals do not make a man, morals do."

They agreed.

We went to war again, in voting booths, radio shows, editorial pages, conversations with friends and relatives, and with letters to the major sponsors of network TV shows and liberal newspapers demanding change or a boycott of their products. We, the veterans of all wars, of all parties, determined that the politicians and media would not make us lose this one. We protected our commander-in-chief, who would not let us forget 9-11, who led the charge against terrorists worldwide, who got a would-be Hitler to hide in a spiderhole, while his people were liberated, and who made former terror-sponsor Qadaffi crawl to us with his tail between his legs, insured that Afghan women could proudly show their faces again, and knew that he would protect our grandchildren. We insured that George W. Bush got re-elected, because we all were tired of the years of depression, nightmares, and an unrelenting media making us want to retreat into the depths and safety of our former womblike foxholes. With God as our Commanding Officer, my Band of Brothers, 25,000,000 of us, rose up, and won this war. Nobody could have stopped us.

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