John Kerry (Voiceover throughout) : “They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, randomly shot at civilians, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam.”
Needless to say, it's taken grossly out of context. The SWILLs try to give the impression that Kerry just pulled stuff out of his ass so he could smear soldiers. We call this "projection."
However, Kerry was not claiming to have witnessed atrocities himself at all. Kerry was reporting the testimony from the Winter Soldier Investigation, and was essentially recapping what other people had publicly said and reiterating what Congress had just heard.
The full text of the Winter Soldier Testimony is here. Here is the Table of Contents, with links:
Need for Investigation. Remarks by the Hon. Mark O. Hatfield of Oregon In the Senate of the United States, Monday, April 5, 1971.
- Opening Statement of William Crandell
- 1st Marine Division
- 1st Air Cavalry Division
- Weapons Panel
- 3d Marine Division
- Racism Panel
- "What Are We Doing To Ourselves?"
- Prisoners of War Panel
- Miscellaneous Panel
- Third World Panel
- "What Are We Doing to Vietnam?"
- 25th Infantry Division and Public Information Office
- 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions and 173rd Airborne Brigade
- 1st, 4th, and 9th Infantry Divisions
- Americal Division
- Medical Panel
- Closing Statement of Don Duncan
And a very short excerpt, from the extremely extensive testimony of dozens of veterans:
"CAMILE. I was in the 1st Battalion, 11th Marines, attached to the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines.... The calling in of artillery for games, the way it was worked would be the mortar forward observers would pick out certain houses in villages, friendly villages, and the mortar forward observers would call in mortars until they destroyed that house and then the artillery forward observer would call in artillery until he destroyed another house and whoever used the least amount of artillery, they won. And when we got back someone would have to buy someone else beers. The cutting off of heads--on Operation Stone--there was a Lt. Colonel there and two people had their heads cut off and put on stakes and stuck in the middle of the field. And we were notified that there was press covering the operation and that we couldn't do that anymore. Before we went out on the operation we were told not to waste our heat tablets on food but to save them for the villages because we were going to destroy all the villages and we didn't give the people any time to get out of the villages. We just went in and burned them and if people were in the villages yelling and screaming, we didn't help them. We just burned the houses as we went."
Some people find this stuff very difficult to face, and it hurts them deeply. But it did happen. Kerry didn't make it up, and it could not be ignored by anyone with a conscience. And by reporting it, he not only did his duty as an American, but as a human being, too.