|U.S. Senator from Massachusetts|
From: January 2, 1985 - Present
|Successor||Incumbent (no successor)|
|Spouse(s)||Julia Thorne (divorced)|
John Forbes Kerry, born December 11, 1943 (age 73), has been the junior United States Senator from Massachusetts since 1984; he is considered one of the more liberal senators. In the 2004 Presidential election, he ran an unsuccessful bid for the presidency as the Democratic Party's nominee, losing to Republican incumbent president George W. Bush. Kerry is currently the Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Kerry's military service in the Vietnam War has been tainted with his subsequent distortion of facts regarding his tour of duty which was exposed during the 2004 presidential election.
Controversy over 2004 Election Financing
In 2007 the Federal Election Commission finally issued a draft report  stating Kerry spent $1.4 million more than federal rules allowed during his 2004 Presidential bid. In order to receive the public funds, Kerry, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts, and his running mate, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, agreed to spend $74.6 million or less on their general election campaign against President Bush. Kerry’s campaign may have to repay the overspending to the U.S. Treasury, since his unsuccessful general election campaign was funded by tax dollars. The draft audit also found the campaign’s media vendor improperly invested and earned interest on public funds. And auditors allege the campaign misreported its media buys and its outstanding debt. 
Kerry enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in February, 1966, and began active service that August as Ensign aboard the USS Gridley, a Guided Missile Frigate deployed in the Gulf of Tonkin. During his tour of duty, Kerry requested his second tour be in Vietnam, listing his preferred position as commanding a Fast Patrol Craft (PCF) or "Swift Boat." His request was granted, and on November 17, 1968 he reported to Cam Ranh Bay for a month of training. The Swift Boats had been considered to be a safe place to be during the war, but during that time their role was changed to become more dangerous and combat oriented. During his service, Kerry received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and a total of three Purple Hearts during combat operations inside Vietnam, and after his third minor injury was permitted to request reassignment as per Navy instruction 1300.39, Leaving Vietnam on April 2, 1969, less than 5 months after arriving. Upon returning stateside, he served as personal aide to Rear Admiral Walter Schlech until March 1970 when his active duty obligation had ended. Kerry continued serving in the Naval Reserves until February 1972.
Opposition to the Vietnam War
Kerry belonged to Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), where he supported the anti-war movement.
Controversially referring to US servicemen in Vietnam as having been sent "to die for the biggest mistake in history," Kerry alleged that the military had "created a monster" in the form of violence-prone American soldiers, and recounted that soldiers had personally recollected stories of having "personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads," of Vietnamese citizens and rampaging across Vietnam "[razing] villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan".  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." 
On NBC's Meet The Press in 1971, Kerry was asked whether he had personally committed atrocities in Vietnam. He responded:
- "There are all kinds of atrocities, and I would have to say that, yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free fire zones. I conducted harassment and interdiction fire. I used 50 caliber machine guns, which we were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people. I took part in search and destroy missions, in the burning of villages. All of this is contrary to the laws of warfare, all of this is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and all of this is ordered as a matter of written established policy by the government of the United States from the top down. And I believe that the men who designed these, the men who designed the free fire zone, the men who ordered us, the men who signed off the air raid strike areas, I think these men, by the letter of the law, the same letter of the law that tried Lieutenant Calley, are war criminals."
During his 2004 campaign for President, several groups were formed, most notably the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, to counter the charges of "war crimes" Kerry repeatedly made against Vietnam veterans (see below) and to call Kerry's military record into question, accusing him of inflicting his own wounds, going to unusual lengths to obtain his Purple Hearts, and attacking unarmed civilians. Swift Boat Veterans for Truth had been criticized, firstly because no member of the group served on the actual boat that Kerry commanded and secondly for perceived contradiction. As an example, Kerry's commanding officer, George Elliott, signed an affadavit for the Swift Boat veterans claiming that with the information he had now, he would not have recommend Kerry for the military honor, but later repudiated his affadavit, stating that Kerry had deserved the honor..
An internal memorandum for Attorney General John Mitchell from a Nixon staffer released by the National Archives in July 2007 revealed the Nixon White House had considered recruiting John Kerry. The memorandum states in part,
|“||He was asked the direct question of how he voted in 1968. He said "if he had voted (which he did not), he would have voted for Nixon." ||”|
Marine Corps Maj. Michael E. McBride wrote in Townhall.com, Mr. Kerry "has always had the power to clear up any of the Swiftboater challenges; all he had to do is allow the Navy to distribute unaltered copies of his service record, medical records, and DD214. It is essential that these records come from Department of Defense, so that they cannot be tampered with by Kerry or his supporters. The DOD copies are the true copies of record and the only viable evidence for these matters." Maj. McBride, citing Mr. Kerry's long reluctance to do, so goes on to write, "it is unlikely that any credible evidence exists to refute the base charges of the Swiftboaters."
He concludes, "If any of my ex-squadron mates dumped on me like the Swift boat vets are dumping on Kerry, my records would have been available the next day ... ." 
Kerry also claimed on multiple occasions to have been in Cambodia during the Christmas of 1968. When his claim was shown to be very improbable, his subordinates agreed that he was incorrect, but stated he was still there at a later time -- a claim that likewise is considered to be dubious.
Kerry voted to give President George W. Bush the authority to go to war with Iraq in 2002, although in his 2004 Presidential bid he campaigned as being opposed to the war, and now says, regarding his vote to give the President that authority, "There's nothing - nothing - in my life in public service I regret more, nothing even close. We should all be willing to say: I was wrong, I should not have voted for the Iraq War Resolution."  Kerry's initial vote on the matter and subsequent revision on the topic caused many to label him a "flip-flopper" during his 2004 presidential bid.
Controversy over comments on Iraq and education
On October 30, 2006, eight days before the 2006 elections, Kerry was a headline speaker at a campaign rally being held for unsuccessful Democratic California gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides at Pasadena City College in Pasadena, California. Speaking to an audience composed mainly of college students, Kerry said, "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq." After being criticized from President Bush and other leaders, Kerry stated "Let me make it crystal clear, as crystal clear as I know how. I apologize to no one for my criticism of the president and of his broken policy." After two days, Kerry wrote an apology on his blog, stating that he was sorry if anyone misinterpreted his comments.
Books by John Kerry
- John Kerry, The New Soldier, edited by David Thorne, Macmillan Pub Co (October 1971). ISBN-10: 002073610X
- http://nationaljournal.c om/voteratings/sen/lib.htm
- Agenda Document No. 07-37, Federal Election Commission, Washignton, D.C., May 21, 2007.
- FEC draft: Kerry broke spending limits, Kenneth P. Vogel, May 30, 2007.
- John Kerry's Testimony before the Senate Foerein Relations Committee, April 22, 1971, Editorial Notes by Dr. Ernest Bolt, University of Richmond.
- Vietnam 30 Years later: What John Kerry Said on Meet the Press, George Mason University, History News Network
- Swift Vets and POWs for Truth
- John Kerry - Unfit For Command
- Forging a Paper Hero: The Mystery of Kerry’s Medals
- Memo from Chotiner to Mitchell, April 26, 1971.