Kerry and Hanoi's "Humane & Lenient Treatment" of POWs

By Michael Benge

What world is Senator Joseph Biden, Delaware Democrat, living in; surely it's not one of reality? He must have over-dosed on to many episodes of TV's "Hogan's Heroes."

During a July Senate hearing, Biden commented on the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of POWS, "There's a reason why we sign these treaties: to protect my son in the military." According to Jonah Goldbery of National Review, Biden "... hissed at the Attorney General through is enormous teeth, That's why we have these treaties, so when Americans are captured they are not tortured. That's the reason in case anybody forgets it." (Commentary, "Treaties that don't apply," Washington Times 6/21/04).

Au contraire Senator Biden, the Geneva Convention protects Prisoners of War from being tortured only if they are captured by civilized people from civilized countries, and then only if they want to play by the Marques of Queensbury Rules.

And senator, haven't you noticed that the terrorists aren't civilized and they don't play by any rules?

Biden also seems to suffer from selective memory, but then that should come as no surprise for a politician. Ho Chi Minh's Communist North Vietnamese government (NVA) signed the Geneva Conventions on the Treatment of Prisoners of War in 1957, yet it grossly violated all provisions of the Convention by starving, torturing and murdering not only American POWs but also those of our allies, including thousands of South Vietnamese POWs.

The atrocities carried out against American POWs by the communist North Vietnamese are well documented, but seemingly forgotten, and instead of punishment for the crimes committed, the US has granted our tortures favorable relations that have allowed them to line their pockets with gold and fatten their bank off-shore bank accounts from ill-gotten gains.

After the release of American POWs during Operation Home Coming in 1973, the U.S. government handed the North Vietnamese communists a list of over 300 American servicemen known to have been captured alive and had been in the hands of the NVA but had not been released.

Despite assurances by Senator John Kerry that the Vietnamese communists have been fully cooperating in the accounting for POW/MIAs, less than 50 sets of remains of the 300 servicemen have been returned.

In the 1993 Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, Kerry parsed the committee's final report by stating that there was no evidence of any live POWs remaining in Vietnam; on the other hand, there was no evidence that any of the 300 POWs were dead.

By parsing the language of the report, if they were alive, Kerry had sealed their fate - it was a death warrant condemning them to death.

Further NVA violations of the Geneva Conventions included inviting the Cuban communist government to torture and murder American POWs in the infamous "Cuban Program," in an attempt to extract "confessions" from American POWs for presentation at the Communist Internationale Second Symposium Against Yankee Genocide in Vietnam held in Cuba, October 18-21, 1968, a follow up to Bertrand Russell's International War Crimes Tribunals in May and November, 1967.

All three were creations of the KGB-funded World Peace Council with a budget of $15 million per year, and part of a worldwide propaganda program that included funding for anti-war demonstrations in the US. This KGB-funded effort was intended to boost communist morale that the war in Vietnam was being won, and demoralize the American public that the war in Vietnam was being lost.

When the communist North Vietnamese retreated after being defeated in the battle for Hue that ended Feb. 24, 1968, they took some 5,000 South Vietnamese POWs, soldiers, civil servants as well as their wives and children, including three German Doctors working at the University of Hue.

All were systematically murdered and buried - 20 to 40 bodies to a grave. The bodies showed clear evidence of atrocity killings: groups of bodies tied together, each with hands wired or tied with bamboo strips behind backs, rags stuffed in mouths or plastic bags tied over their heads, the bodies contorted but without wounds (indicating burial alive.

The atrocities in Vietnam, as those committed in Iraq by the Saddam Hussein, were only modestly covered by the world's press, and apparently these war crimes made no impact on the world's mind or conscience, for there was no agonized outcry. There were no demonstrations at either North Vietnamese or Iraq embassies around the world.

As spokesman for Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), Kerry never once protested the Hanoi communist's war crimes although he knew of them at the time. However, he did march under the Vietnamese communists banner with Jane Fonda protesting the U.S. involvement in the war, and praising Ho Chi Minh.

Kerry also testified the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971 that American servicemen in Vietnam committed atrocities, reminiscent of Genghis Khan, and that these acts were "not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command calling all Vietnam Veterans, those who were killed, and those still fighting in Vietnam war criminals.

On April 18, 1971, Kerry appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" stating "Yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities..." Whether this was a mea culpa by Kerry, only he knows; however, his testimony was largely based on fabrications by purported Vietnam combat veterans presented at the Jane Fonda-funded Winter Soldier Investigation.

A great share of these purported combat veterans were phonies and proven to have never been in the military, or if so, never having served in Vietnam, or if having served in Vietnam had never seen combat.

Kerry's fabrications gave aid-and comfort to the enemy, and were used by the North Vietnamese communists as the basis to torture and demoralize American POWs.

While I was a POW in Hanoi, we were lectured repeatedly by the communist political officers regarding John Kerry's testimony before congress in which he accused us of being "war criminals."

We were told that as such, we were going to be tried in Nuremberg-like war crimes trials and "we would be held forever." Many others were tortured as a result of Kerry's testimony.

As a Senator, Kerry has fought harder for the Vietnamese communists than he ever did against them during his four months as a Swift Boat commander. Kerry's picture hangs in the Vietnamese communist's war museum in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), in which he is immortalized in tribute to aiding the communists in winning the war.

In 2001, Kerry single-handed prevented the Vietnam Human Rights Act from going to the floor of the Senate for a democratic up or down vote after passing the House 410-1.

On June 21, Vietnamese News Agency (the mouthpiece for Hanoi's communist party) cited presidential candidate John Kerry's 1971 fabricated testimony as proof that the U.S. committed war crimes in the conduct of the Vietnam War and compared this to the US treatment of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Ironically, in the same article, the Vietnamese communists had the audacity to claim, "they treated captured U.S. troops humanely" during the Vietnam War.

If Senator Biden is so concerned over adhering to the Geneva Conventions on Prisoners, why then hasn't he called for war crimes trials for the North Vietnamese communist criminals instead of continually rewarding Hanoi with taxpayers dollars?


Michael Benge spent 11 years in Viet Nam, over five years as a Prisoner of War-1968-73. While serving as a civilian Foreign Service Officer, he was captured in South Viet Nam by the North Vietnamese and held in numerous camps in South Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, and North Viet Nam. He spent 27 months in solitary confinement and one year in a "black box." For efforts in rescuing several Americans prior to capture, he received the State Department's highest award for heroism and a second one for valor.

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