Guenter Lewy - Areas of Research - America in Vietnam - Winter Soldier Investigation

Winter Soldier Investigation

America in Vietnam, which appeared seven years after the Winter Soldier Investigation, became controversial in the context of the 2004 US Presidential Election. Presidential hopeful John Kerry had been involved with the Winter Soldier Investigation; in the context of the campaign, Lewy's suggestion that the Winter Soldier Investigation was dishonest and politically motivated was frequently cited to impugn John Kerry's reputation.

Vietnam Veterans Against the War, the group of which Kerry had been a part, alleged that American war policy and conduct in Vietnam was resulting in warcrimes being committed. Lewy suggests that the group used "fake witnesses" in the Winter Soldier hearing in Detroit, and that its allegations were formally investigated:

The results of the investigation, carried out by the Naval Investigative Service, are interesting and revealing. Many of the veterans, though assured that they would not be questioned about the atrocities they might have committed personally, refused to be interviewed. One of the active members of the VVAW told investigators that the leadership had directed the entire membership not to cooperate with military authorities. A black marine who agreed to be interviewed was unable to provide details of the outrages he had described at the hearing, but he called the Vietnam war "one huge atrocity" and "a racist plot." He admitted that the question of atrocities had not occurred to him while he was in Vietnam, and that he had been assisted in the preparation of his testimony by a member of the Nation of Islam. But the most damaging finding consisted of the sworn statements of several veterans, corroborated by witnesses, that they had in fact not attended the hearing in Detroit. One of them had never been to Detroit in all his life. He did not know, he stated, who might have used his name.

Government officials today have no record of any such Naval Investigative Service report, although they suggest that it could have been lost or destroyed. Lewy later said that he could not recall if he had actually seen the alleged report or simply been told of its contents. "I don't think Lewy is interested in presenting any of as truthful," University of Richmond history professor Ernest Bolt told the Chicago Tribune. "He has an angle on the war as a whole." Bolt said it is impossible to tell whether Lewy fairly characterized the naval investigative report because no other historian had seen it.

Read more about this topic:  Guenter Lewy, Areas of Research, America in Vietnam

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