Former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey says he is ashamed that as a Navy SEAL he led a 1969 combat mission during which unarmed Vietnamese women and children were killed. Though a member of Kerrey’s SEAL unit and a Vietnamese woman who said she witnessed the killings alleged the civilians were herded together and massacred, Kerrey maintains the raid was carried out in self-defense.
Kerrey was later awarded a Bronze Star for the raid in the Mekong Delta. The citation says 21 Viet Cong were killed and enemy weapons were captured. Or destroyed. Kerrey’s squad, in reporting to military superiors, didn’t mention killing civilians.
Kerrey, who has not ruled out a run for president in 2004, claims he is haunted by the 32-year old memory of the raid.
- H. Bruce Franklin, Author of Vietnam and Other American Fantasies