Limbaugh revived discredited Kerry charges; blamed Kerry's "anti-war activism" for the "hatred that exists for America today"


On the August 30 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show, radio host Rush Limbaugh misrepresented Senator John Kerry's actions in Vietnam and his 1971 Senate testimony, and then blamed Kerry for present-day anti-Americanism around the world. Limbaugh revived the discredited charge that Kerry made "home movies ... reenacting things in Vietnam"; he also erroneously claimed that Kerry "indict[ed]" "all these Vietnam veterans" for committing atrocities during the war, and that Kerry's "anti-war activism" is "largely responsible" for much of the "hatred that exists for America today."

The charge that Kerry reenacted combat scenes on film during his service in the Vietnam War in order to enhance his future political career was most recently revived by The Wall Street Journal and the anti-Kerry book Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry; Internet gossip Matt Drudge publicized it during the Democratic National Convention. Media Matters for America has previously noted that current New York Times executive editor and former columnist Bill Keller debunked the rumor about Kerry's amateur Vietnam films in 2002.

Limbaugh then claimed that when Kerry came back from Vietnam, he told "stories" "about all the atrocities committed by all these Vietnam veterans -- some of them who didn't commit any atrocities whatsoever. It's Kerry indicting everybody." As MMFA has extensively documented, in his 1971 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry did not accuse veterans of the crimes he spoke of; he related the stories of other Vietnam veterans who came home and testified to their personal experiences. In addition, as MMFA has also noted, Kerry's testimony was an indictment of the leaders at the time and did not blame the soldiers who reported having committed atrocities in Vietnam.

Limbaugh concluded his tirade against Kerry by blaming him for anti-Americanism around the world:

LIMBAUGH: Could it possibly be that the root of all of this anger at the U.S. can be traced to the Vietnam War and perhaps what John Kerry said himself? With all these stories of decapitation and dismemberment and burning villages and shooting people in the back, could it be that John Kerry so deceives himself with his anti-war activism for some of the dislike or hatred that exists for America today among certain people around the world? I think it's distinctly possible. I think this man is largely responsible for a lot of things that he claims to be, uh, better suited to fix than anyone else is. I just think this is all coming home to roost.

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, 2004 Elections
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