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Stolen Honor - A Dishonor: Vietnam Veterans oppose Sinclair Broadcast smear even in reduced format

By VVAW National Office

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CHICAGO_ In a victory for Sinclair opponents, the Sinclair Broadcast Group has reduced its plans to show anti-Kerry documentary "Stolen Honor" in its entirety. Instead, Sinclair will air a special one-hour "news" program that will show clips from the movie as part of a discussion of the use of documentaries and other media to influence voting.

Barry Romo, spokesperson for the National Office of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) said, "The issue still at hand is that Sinclair is presenting its program about "Stolen Honor" as news, when the company is blatantly trying to influence the election." Romo describes Carlton Sherwood's new documentary, Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal, as "a destructive and dishonorable smear not just on John Kerry, but also on Vietnam veterans who stood up to tell the truth despite enormous public pressure to keep silent."

VVAW does not endorse political candidates and has no current association with Senator John Kerry or his campaign, but believes in exposing lies disguised as news, whether the lies appear in a whole movie or in clips from it or in special "news" programs. "Back in April, 1971, when VVAW member John Kerry testified before Congress, he spoke for us; he spoke for all of the Vietnam vets who opposed the war and he spoke the truth, but he never called fellow soldiers war criminals or made the statements that Carlton Sherwood claims," Romo says.

Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal producer, Carlton Sherwood claims that Kerry said, "The 2.5 million men who served in Vietnam were akin to 'Genghis Khan's barbaric hordes,' thugs and psychopathic war criminals who wantonly plundered the Vietnam countryside, murdering, raping and bombing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians – old men, women and children -- each and every day."

"Read John Kerry's testimony. He never said that and anyone who claims he did is a liar," Romo responds.

Sherwood also claims that Kerry's testimony "permanently branded in the American psyche the image of Vietnam veterans as murderous 'baby killers' and 'drugged out losers,' a perception that persists today, one deeply embedded in our history."

VVAW National Staff member David Curry says, "Sherwood conveniently ignores a little guy named William Calley."

On March 16, 1968, U.S. forces were conducting a "search and destroy" operation against the Viet Cong and entered the village of My Lai. There civilians, including women and children, were slaughtered by American troops. The story first broke in late 1969 and dominated the news throughout 1970. The Army conducted an internal investigation and the result was that Lieutenant William Calley and Captain Ernest Medina were brought before a court martial on the charge of murder.

On March 29, 1971, Calley was convicted of the murder of civilians and on March 31 he was sentenced to life in prison. The conviction and sentence produced a storm of protest. Essentially, polls showed that the public disagreed with the conviction and sentence, believing that Calley was only following orders, and that he was used by the Army as a scapegoat.

"William Calley exposed the unfortunate role of many Vietnam servicemen as war criminals long before John Kerry's testimony to Congress. If anything, Kerry's testimony washed a little blood off the image of Vietnam veterans, it demonstrated to the nation and to the world, that we had a conscience and that we still had a soul."

##### For more information:

Stolen Honor

Testimony of John Kerry, "Legislative Proposals Relating to the War in Southeast Asia," US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (April 22, 1971.)

Sinclair Broadcasting and Carlton Sherwood's connection to the Bush Administration

"Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths: The Series; Elite Unit Savaged Civilians in Vietnam" - Toledo Blade

For more information, contact:
Barry Romo, 773-276-4189 (mornings)
David Curry, 314-276-3821
John Zutz, 414-372-0749

Commentary on VVAW.org: