I came across this statement by John Kerry to the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in 1971 .
bolding is mine.
Now tell me why a man who calls for the prosecution of television executives and comic book publishers for undesirable expressions will be no threat as president to the 1st amendment of the constitution of the United States.
Kerry was saying that the conditions were perfect for producing a lot of Calleys. The U.S. was bogged down in Vietnam, basic trainees were being trained to hate “Charley” because it’s hard to fight and kill someone you don’t hate, the war was still being pushed and glorified in some circles, etc. Television news was tossing out grossly exaggerated body counts. Kerry was deliberately going overboard to make a point. Calley shouldn’t have decided all on his own to declare a personal war. A lieutenant doesn’t (or shouldn’t) have that much power. Couple all this with his probable frustration at never being sure just who the enemy is, or knowing exactly what his orders were, and you have a disaster in the making. Take the hill, give it back. Search and destroy. Our management of the whole war, even if you accepted the “domino theory” was an abject lesson in incompetence at the highest levels.
If President Kerry shows himself to be a foe of first amendment rights, we’ll just have to rally around a viable opponent, either in the Democratic primaries of '08 or from amongst the Republicans. He’s got to please us or we’ll replace him.
If you’re raising this as if it is to be of concern with regards to the forthcoming election of '04, umm, are you seriously suggesting that we juxtapose the Kerry comments above with the Patriot Acts I and II and conclude from that comparison that Kerry might, conceivably, by some less-than-ridiculous stretch of the imagination, be more of a threat to first amendment rights than the current administration??
Even if he actually meant “round 'em up and prosecute 'em” 30+ years ago, as mighty a stretch in interpretation that might be, I doubt that George “there ought to be limits to freedom” Bush is going to be a much better defender of your right to free expression. That was only like four years ago that W. made that comment.
You know what, grieny, I’ve about had it with your condescending “you Americans” attitude and your warnings that those of us who support Kerry are getting their wool pulled over our eyes by a liar who wants to take away our First Amendment rights.
Doesn’t Stockwell Day need his car waxed or something?
I’m sorry if I came across as condescending to Americans. I have always had the greatest admiration for America while cognizant of just a couple of shortcomings in my view related to the role of guns and medical care.
I have been on record expressing admiration for almost all American presidents prior to Bush during my lifetime with the exception of Carter whom I respect as a most honourable man. Does the fact that I’m not American morally disqualify me from commenting while “you Americans” get to choose the next leader of the free world?
The period of the Vietnam War was a terrible time for the US. It was the longest war we ever fought, and most of us had no idea what a victory would look like. Kerry fought in that war, and came back home to protest it. I see no reason to question the sincerity of his desire to end that horrible chapter of US history. Maybe he exagerated. maybe he relied too much on the tesitomy of others, but I can’t see any reason on this earth to suspect that Kerry would want to suppress the free expression of ideas, per the 1st amendment, in America. I find the idea entirely preposterous.