Kerrey's Case: Not Closed

By Press, Eyal | The Nation, May 20, 2002 | Go to article overview

Kerrey's Case: Not Closed


Press, Eyal, The Nation


One year after the story broke that a Navy SEAL team under his command was involved in an atrocity during the Vietnam War, former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey stood before a packed hall in lower Manhattan as the keynote speaker at a three-day conference on human rights. The conference--"International Justice, War Crimes & Terrorism: the U.S. Record"--took place at New School University, where Kerrey is president, and grew out of Kerrey's own suggestion that his experience in Vietnam be turned into an "educational moment." On hand were an array of prominent writers (David Rieff, Samantha Power), advocates (Aryeh Neier, president of the Open Society Institute), public officials (former UN ambassador Richard Holbrooke) and judges (Richard Goldstone, former chief prosecutor at the international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda).

But while the conference featured lively panel discussions on important subjects like prosecuting war crimes and responding to terrorism, Kerrey was noticeably cagey when it came to discussing how his own experience might shed light on America's culpability for human rights violations in Vietnam. "When I said I hoped to turn my revelations last spring into an educational moment," he announced, "I did not intend to meekly submit to cross-examinations or self-indulgent one-sided criticism of US foreign policy during the war in Vietnam."

Fair enough, but that is hardly what has happened in the year since Gregory Vistica's excellent article on the incident involving Kerrey's Navy SEAL unit appeared in The New York Times Magazine. Vistica presented two conflicting versions of the incident in question. According to Kerrey and five other platoon members, a group of Vietnamese civilians was inadvertently killed following an exchange of fire in the village of Thanh Phong, where US commandos were searching for a representative of the National Liberation Front. According to the more damning account of former Navy Seal Gerhard Klann, however--a version corroborated by several Vietnamese survivors--roughly a dozen women and children were lined up and executed at close range that night. Five more civilians were killed at knife-point before the team had reached the village.

When the story first appeared, the charges were deemed serious enough that Human Rights Watch called on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for an "urgent, thorough and independent inquiry" of the case. "For the US to ignore allegations of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions as have been made in this case would seriously undermine efforts around the world to enforce these essential standards," the organization stated.

Twelve months later, all talk of investigating the Kerrey incident has evaporated. Kerrey, meanwhile, has continued to preside over the New School, a university with a proud progressive history that has found itself enmeshed in moral and political controversy. Dismayed that Kerrey never told school officials about the operation until the story made international headlines, the Graduate Faculty Student Union called for him to step down. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Kerrey's Case: Not Closed
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.