Winter Soldiers, Pt. II19 Feb 2004
Walter Wouk e-mails me with some more information:
The Nixon Administration investigated the backgrounds of all of those who testified at Winter Soldier, as reported by Andrew E. Hunt (A History of Vietnam Veterans Against the War.” Hunt writes:
“A White House official, Charles Colson, began to investigate the organization. “The men that participated in the pseudo-atrocity hearings will be checked out to ascertain if they are genuine Viet Nam combat veterans,” read a confidential memo titled, “Plan to counteract Vietnam Veterans Against the War,” in Colson’s White House files.” (Hunt pg. 73)
The fact is Vietnam veterans who testified at the Winter Soldier Investigation had their credentials checked out by the Nixon Administration and no poseurs were uncovered.
Now Colson is a man I have read about before. If you know anything about the Nixon administration, he’s a familiar figure. An encounter between Colson and Nixon regarding Kerry was widely publicized by Gillespie to discredit Kerry. From the wikipedia.com entry on John Kerry:
In a secretly recorded White House conversation of April 28, President Nixon discussed Kerry with his counsel, Charles Colson. Nixon said, “Well, he is sort of a phony, isn’t he?” Colson agreed, and mentioned that during the antiwar demonstrations that had just taken place, Kerry stayed at the home of a Georgetown socialite while the other protesters slept on The Mall. Colson opined, “He’s politically ambitious and just looking for an issue. Yeah. He came back [from Vietnam] a hawk and became a dove when he saw the political opportunities.” “Sure,” said Nixon. “Well, anyway, keep the faith.”
So judging from this we can ascertain that Nixon and Colson were investigating purely on ideological/political grounds, and they still couldn’t find anything substantial. Further, there’s more to this story that is usually forgotten, also from wikipedia:
In 1993, Colson sent a letter of apology to Kerry for his behavior at this time. He told a reporter for the Boston Globe, “I apologized for having tried to undermine him when he was head of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. I think there were some stories that Nixon and I were trying to find ways to discredit him, and I am sorry for past feelings resulting from anything I have done.”
Well, there you have it. Every nasty falsehood has its root somewhere. Can we put this one to bed, now?