- Democratic Senator from Massachusetts and 2004 Democratic Presidential nominee
- Denounced U.S. for alleged systematic “war crimes” in Vietnam
- Organizer of Vietnam Veterans Against the War
- Worked to cut off aid to anti-Communist guerrillas in Nicaragua
- Proposed large reductions in defense and intelligence spending
John Forbes Kerry was born December 11, 1943 in Denver, Colorado. His father, Richard Kerry (1915–2000), was a Foreign Service Officer and an attorney for the Bureau of United Nations Affairs. His mother, Rosemary Forbes Kerry (1913–2002), was a World War II nurse and a member of the wealthy Forbes family.
After graduating with a political science degree from Yale University in 1966, John Kerry enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He served as a swift boat captain in Vietnam's Mekong Delta, and rose to the rank of lieutenant. For his combat duty, Kerry received a Silver Star, Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts.
Kerry and the Antiwar Movement
After his discharge from the Navy in early 1970, Kerry became a prominent figure in the anti-America, pro-Hanoi crowd of antiwar protesters personified most visibly by Jane Fonda. Like so many of those activists, Kerry publicly maligned U.S. soldiers. He became a spokesman and organizer for the group Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and he developed close ties to Ramsey Clark, who had served as Attorney General under President Lyndon Johnson.
During an unsuccessful run for Congress in 1970, Kerry, depicting the United States as a country whose aggressive impuses needed to be reined in by outside forces, said: "I'm an internationalist. I'd like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations."
On May 23, 1970, Kerry married Julia Thorne, the sister of one of his former classmates at Yale. (The couple would go on to have two daughters together but were divorced on July 25, 1988, and the marriage was formally annulled in 1997.)
In May 1970, Kerry met with North Vietnamese/Viet Cong delegations at the Paris Peace Talks, where they discussed a variety of proposals—especially the eight points enumerated by the top Vietnamese delegate, Nguyen Thi Madame Binh. Kerry strongly advised the U.S. Senate to accept those points.
At that time, Kerry himself acknowledged that his visits to Paris were “on the borderline of private individuals negotiating, et cetera.” This was significant because a federal law known as the Uniform Code of Military Justice prescribed severe punishment (including, in some cases, the death penalty) for any person who “without proper authority, knowingly harbors or protects or gives intelligence to or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly.”
During the ensuing months, Kerry became increasingly strident in his insistence that the U.S. accept Madame Binh's (i.e., the Viet Cong's) peace proposals. VVAW went so far as to sign a “People’s Peace Treaty” (reportedly drafted in Communist East Germany in December 1970), whose nine points were all extracted from a list of Viet Cong conditions for ending the war. Kerry fully supported this treaty. According to Gerald Nicosia, a historian of the antiwar movement: “These [VVAW] people signed their own symbolic 'people's peace treaty' with the Vietnamese. As [VVAW co-founder] Jan Barry recalls, the gesture was intended as a means of embracing the people they had harmed, of asking forgiveness for those they had killed.”
In early September 1970, Kerry was a featured speaker at the VVAW-sponsored Operation RAW (Rapid American Withdrawal), an antiwar march that began in Morristown, New Jersey and ended in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Fellow speakers included such notables as Jane Fonda and Michael Lerner.
By frequently participating in VVAW demonstrations, Kerry marched alongside many revolutionary Communists. Exploiting his presence at such rallies, the Communist publication Daily World prominently published photographs of Kerry addressing anti-war protestors, some of whom were carrying banners with portraits of Communist Party leader Angela Davis. Openly organized by known Communists, these rallies were typified by what the December 12, 1971 edition of the Herald Traveler called an “abundance of Vietcong flags, clenched fists raised in the air, and placards plainly bearing legends in support of China, Cuba, the USSR, North Korea and the Hanoi government.”
From January 31 to February 2, 1971, Kerry participated in the so-called “Winter Soldier Investigation” in Detroit, where more than 100 Vietnam veterans and 16 civilians testified that U.S. troops had routinely, and as a matter of policy, committed atrocities—including rape, arson, torture, and mass murder—against innocent civilians in South Vietnam.
In April 1971 Kerry helped organize one of the most confrontational series of antiwar protests of the period—five days of rallies in which nearly 1,000 self-identified Vietnam veterans gathered on Washington, DC’s Mall for what they termed “a limited incursion into the country of Congress.”
On April 22, 1971, Kerry testified before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and stated that at the Winter Soldier Investigation, many Vietnam veterans had “told stories that at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war…” “We learned the meaning of free fire zones,” added Kerry. “Shooting anything that moves, and we watched while America placed a cheapness on the lives of Orientals.” Further, Kerry charged that America's "war crimes committed in Southeast Asia" were "not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command." He promoted the leftist worldview of a racist America that was no better than its Communist enemy: “We saw that many people in this country had a one-sided idea of who was kept free by our flag, as blacks provided the highest percentage of casualties.” And he declared, “We cannot fight Communism all over the world, and I think we should have learned that lesson by now.”
More than three decades later, when Kerry was running for U.S. President, the publication U.S. Veteran Dispatch noted that Kerry’s 1971 Senate testimony had “occurred while some of his fellow Vietnam veterans were known by the world to be enduring terrible suffering as prisoners of war in North Vietnamese prisons.” Similarly, Senator John McCain recalled that his North Vietnamese captors had used reports of Kerry-led protests to taunt him and his fellow prisoners. Retired General George S. Patton III angrily charged that Kerry’s actions had given “aid and comfort to the enemy.” And the organization Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry stated:
“As a national leader of VVAW, Kerry campaigned against the effort of the United States to contain the spread of Communism. He used the blood of servicemen still in the field for his own political advancement by claiming that their blood was being shed unnecessarily or in vain.... Under Kerry’s leadership, VVAW members mocked the uniform of United States soldiers by wearing tattered fatigues marked with pro-communist graffiti. They dishonored America by marching in demonstrations under the flag of the Viet Cong enemy.”
On April 23, 1971—the day after his Senate testimony—Kerry and a number of fellow antiwar veterans ceremoniously threw away some of the medals and ribbons with which they had been honored for their service. On April 24, Kerry explained his actions: “In a real sense, this [Nixon] Administration forced us to return our medals because beyond the perversion of the war, these leaders themselves denied us the integrity those symbols supposedly gave our lives.” Several months later—in a November 6, 1971 interview on the WRC-TV program Viewpoints—Kerry confirmed that: “I gave back, I can't remember, six, seven, eight, nine medals.” These included the Bronze Star, Silver Star and three Purple Hearts.
In subsequent years, Kerry would offer differing versions of what had happened to his military medals:
- During his first run for the U.S. Senate in 1984, he reported that he was still in possession of his medals, and that the only medals he had thrown away actually belonged to another soldier.
- In 1988 he said he had thrown away three ribbons which he had been awarded for combat wounds, but not his medals. “I was proud of my personal service and remain so,” Kerry told the National Journal.
- In 1996 he told the Boston Globe that he had indeed thrown out his ribbons but not his medals. The latter had been spared, Kerry said, not because he valued them but because he “didn't have time to go home [to New York] and get them.”
- During his 2004 presidential run, he repeatedly denied having discarded any of his medals. In a December 2003 interview, for example, Kerry said: “I'm proud of my medals. I always was proud of them,” adding that he had only gotten rid of his “ribbons.” In April 2004 he told a Los Angeles Times reporter: “I threw my ribbons. I didn't have my medals. It is very simple.... We threw away the symbols of what our country gave us for what we had gone through.”
In the summer of 1971, Kerry traveled to Paris to discuss with North Vietnamese and Viet Cong delegations the conditions under which they might agree to release U.S. prisoners of war. This particular act of private diplomacy was likely a violation of the so-called Logan Act, which states:
“Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”
In November 1971 Kerry attended a series of VVAW meetings in Kansas City, Missouri, at which a plan to assassinate U.S. Senators, known as the “Phoenix Project,” was debated and ultimately voted down. Historian Gerald Nicosia says, “My evidence is incontrovertible. He [Kerry] was there.” Nicosia adds that Kerry then resigned from VVAW on the third day of the meetings because of the extreme actions the group was considering.
Legal and Political Career
In September 1973 Kerry enrolled at Boston College Law School, where he went on to earn a J.D. three years later. After graduating, he found work as a prosecutor in the office of the District Attorney of Middlesex County, Massachusetts. In 1982 he was elected lieutenant governor of the state.
When Paul Tsongas, the junior U. S. Senator from Massachusetts, announced in 1984 that he would be stepping down for health reasons, Kerry, a Democrat, decided to run for Tsongas' seat. He emerged victorious and was subsequently re-elected in 1990, 1996, 2002, and 2008.
Condemning the Reagan Administration's Actions in Grenada
Kerry denounced the 1983 U.S. invasion of Grenada—a measure that overthrew the island nation's communist government and replaced it with a pro-Western one. Likening the conflict to “Boston College playing football against the Sisters of Mercy,” he said: “The invasion of Grenada represents the Reagan policy of substituting public relations for diplomatic relations ... The invasion represented a bully’s show of force against a weak Third World nation. The invasion only served to heighten world tensions and further strain brittle U.S.–Soviet and North–South relations.”
Kerry and Central America
On April 18, 1985, Kerry and fellow Democratic Senator Tom Harkin—in a trip arranged by the Institute for Policy Studies—traveled to Nicaragua to meet with that country's president, Daniel Ortega, whose communist Sandinista government had strong ties to the Soviet Union and Cuba. (The Sandinistas had ethnically cleansed the Miskito Afro-Indians and destroyed Nicaragua’s Jewish community.)
At that time, the Reagan Administration was backing a rebel Nicaraguan force known as the Contras. Through Kerry and Harkin, President Ortega offered a cease-fire agreement on the condition that the U.S. stop aiding the Contras. Reagan denounced the offer as a transparent “propaganda initiative” designed to influence an upcoming House vote on a $14 million Contra aid package, but Kerry said: “I am willing ... to take the risk in the effort to put to test the good faith of the Sandinistas.” The House of Representatives ultimately voted against the Contra aid, but Ortega nonetheless flew to Moscow (the day after the House vote) to accept a $200 million loan from the Soviets.
In December 1985, Kerry was the only U.S. senator to vote against the appropriation of funds for police training in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Rica.
In 1986, Kerry supported a “fast for life” initiative by four U.S. military veterans protesting President Reagan's “illegal and extraordinarily vicious wars against the poor of Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala.” Fellow supporters of the "fast for life" included Ted Kennedy, Leon Panetta, Tom Harkin, David Bonior, Lane Evans, and Patrick Leahy.
In the late 1980s, Kerry headed the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Operations. In that role, he tried to prove that the Nicaraguan Contras were drug-runners. Most notably, he tried (unsuccessfully) to link Vice President George W. Bush, who was running for the White House, to the Contras' alleged criminality. One Republican aide at the time said the following:
"[Senator Ted] Kennedy’s people were liberal, to be sure, and so were [Senator Chris] Dodd’s. But Kerry’s people were much more rabid. They promoted the most bizarre conspiracy theories around.... There was a real fruity network of goofball and semi-subversive people, and Kerry ran with those people. He was always a bit aloof himself, but you can tell a lot about politicians by the people they let in. These weren’t liberals. They had a shockingly hostile attitude toward the United States—our military, our intelligence community, our policies."
When Violeta Chamorro (who was backed by the Bush administration) was elected president of Nicaragua in February 1990 (unseating the Communist Daniel Ortega), an interviewer asked John Kerry: “Does this mean the United States did the right thing all those years by funding the Contras?” The senator replied, “Well, I think that’s almost an irrelevant debate right now. I don’t happen to believe that, because many of us believe it could have been a different form of pressure. But the important thing now is that the election has taken place. I really think it’s more of a triumph of multi-nation diplomacy.”
Kerry and the Institute for Policy Studies
In the 1980s, Senator Kerry hired Gareth Porter, a former fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies, as a legislative aide.
Kerry's Controversial Joke about Vice President Quayle
At a November 15, 1988 businessmen's breakfast in East Lynn, Massachusetts, Kerry made a joke
about then-president-elect George H.W. Bush and his vice president,
saying: “If Bush is shot, the Secret Service has orders to shoot Dan
Quayle.” Kerry apologized the following day for the remark.
Kerry and POWs in Vietnam
As chairman of the Select Senate Committee on POW/MIA (Prisoners Of War/Missing In Action) Affairs—which was created in 1991 to determine whether any American POWs or MIAs were still alive in Vietnam—Kerry, who favored a normalization of U.S. relations with that country, pressured the panel to conclude that no American servicemen remained there. According to the U.S. Veteran Dispatch, “[N]o one in the United States Senate pushed harder to bury the POW / MIA issue, the last obstacle preventing normalization of relations with Hanoi, than John Forbes Kerry.” Controversy erupted in December 1992, however, when the U.S. Veteran Dispatch issued a report whose substance raised questions as to what may have motivated Kerry to so avidly pursue normalization:
“Vietnam announced it had granted Colliers International, based in Boston, Massachusetts, a contract worth billions designating Colliers International as the exclusive real estate agent representing Vietnam. That deal alone put Colliers in a position to make tens of millions of dollars on the rush to upgrade Vietnam's ports, railroads, highways, government buildings, etc. C. Stewart Forbes, Chief Executive Officer of Colliers International, is Kerry's cousin.”
On May 26, 1995, Kerry married the philanthropist Teresa Heinz Kerry, whom he had met at an Earth Day rally five years earlier.
Kerry and the Democratic Socialists of America
In 2002, Kerry sent his greetings to a major gathering of the Democratic Socialists of America's (DSA) Boston chapter. When Kerry ran for U.S. President against George W. Bush in 2004, DSA urged its members to support Kerry (though its preferred candidates were Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich).
Kerry the "Internationalist"
In April 2004, newsman Tim Russert asked Kerry to clarify his 1970 assertion that U.S. foreign interventions should occur only at the behest of the United Nations. Kerry replied:
"That's one of those stupid things that a 27-year-old kid says when you're fresh back from Vietnam and angry about it. I have never, ever, ever, in any vote, in any policy, in any speech, in any public statement advocated any such thing in all of the years I've been in elected office. In fact, I say the following and I say it very clearly, I will never cede the security of the United States to any institution and I will never cede our security to any other country. No country will have a veto over what we need to do to protect ourselves."
But in fact, Kerry's 2003 book, A Call to Service, essentially echoed what he had said 33 years earlier. Wrote Kerry:
"In contrast to the dangerous mix of isolationism and unilateralism that characterizes the Republicans, [I support] speaking from a position of strength on international issues--the multilateral cooperative tradition of democratic internationalism forged in the course of two world wars and the cold war. It acknowledges that multilateral organizations are vehicles for the promotion of our ideals and interests around the world."
Moreover, Kerry favors the establishment of an International Criminal Court operating under UN auspices.
Losing the Presidential Election of 2004
Kerry and his running mate, Senator John Edwards, lost the 2004 presidential election by a margin of 286 electoral votes to 251.
Kerry and the Iraq War
In 2001, Kerry voted to authorize the use of military force against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. He took this position based on his firm conviction—which he publicly articulated on numerous occasions—that Saddam was seeking to develop weapons of mass destruction. During the weeks and months leading up to the March 2003 U.S. invasion, for example, Kerry made the following statements:
But as the
political winds shifted, Kerry and his fellow congressional Democrats
began to portray, with ever-growing frequency, the Iraq War as a
foreign-policy debacle that had been launched without justifiable
cause. In 2004, for instance, Kerry charged
that President Bush had not only “misled the American people”
about the threat posed by Saddam, but had also “arbitrarily”
decided that the “time for diplomacy is over” and “rushed our
nation to war.” During a presidential debate that October, Kerry said:
“Saddam Hussein didn’t attack us. Osama bin Laden attacked us. Al
Qaeda attacked us.”
- “It would be naive to the point of great danger not to believe that, left to his own devices, Saddam Hussein will misjudge, provoke and stumble into a future, more dangerous confrontation with the civilized world. He has as much promised it.”
- “If Saddam Hussein is unwilling to bend to the international community's already existing order, then he will have invited enforcement, even if the enforcement is mostly at the hands of the United States, a right we retain even if the Security Council fails to act.”
- “Without question we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal and murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime. And we all know the litany of his offenses. The reason I think we need to really think about him is because he presents a particularly grievous threat through the consistency with which he is prone to miscalculation. He miscalculated an eight-year war with Iran. He miscalculated the invasion of Kuwait. He miscalculated America's response to that act of naked aggression. He miscalculated the result of setting oil rigs on fire. He miscalculated the impact of sending scuds into Israel and trying to assassinate a former American President. He miscalculated his own military strength and he miscalculated the Arab world's response to his misconduct. And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction. That is why the world, through the United Nations Security Council, has spoken with one voice, demanding that Iraq disclose and destroy its weapons programs. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but it's not new. Since the end of the Persian Gulf War we've known this.”
- “Saddam Hussein could not be left to his own devices based on everything we learned about him for seven and a half years while we were inspecting in Iraq. People have forgotten that for seven and a half years, we found weapons of mass destruction. We were destroying weapons of mass destruction. We were, the United States of America, together with Ambassador Butler and the United Nations.”
Kerry also accused the U.S. military of "terrorizing" the Iraqi people. On December 4, 2005, he told Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation: “And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women…”
Kerry again sparked controversy on October 30, 2006, when he spoke to an audience composed mostly of college students at a campaign rally for Democratic California gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides. “You know,” said Kerry, “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.” The following day, political leaders from both major parties criticized Kerry's remarks as insulting to members of the U.S. military who were fighting in Iraq at that time. Kerry replied: “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.” He then explained that his original remark was merely a “botched joke” that had been intended as a jab at President Bush. That is, he had inadvertently omitted from his comment the word “us,” which would have changed the offending sentence to: “If you don't, you get us stuck in Iraq.”
Kerry Endorses Obama for President
On January 10, 2008, Kerry endorsed Illinois Senator Barack Obama for U.S. President.
Tax Controversy Regarding Kerry's Yacht
In July 2010 the Boston Herald reported that Kerry had commissioned construction on a new $7 million-dollar yacht in New Zealand and subsequently moored it in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, where he could avoid paying Massachusetts taxes on the vessel (including some $437,500 in sales tax and an annual excise tax of approximately $70,000). When critics chided Kerry for trying to evade taxes, the senator stated that he planned to pay the taxes in question—whether he owed them or not—as soon as he took legal possession of the boat.
Kerry and Global Warming
In the summer of 2012, Kerry delivered a speech on the Senate Floor warning of the dangers of “climate change,” which he said was “as dangerous as any of the sort of real crises that we talk about,” including the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, “because it affects life itself on the planet.” Kerry characterized those who doubted that human industrial activity causes global warming as “fundamentally a flat-earth caucus, a bunch of people ... who still argue, against all the science, all the evidence,... that somehow we don’t know enough about climate change, or they argue that the evidence isn’t sufficient, or they argue that it just is a hoax.”
To limit the emission of greenhouse gases that allegedly cause global warming, Kerry supports the implementation of a “cap-and-trade” program. Toward that end, in September 2009 he and Senator Barbara Boxer together proposed the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, which called for a cap-and-trade system as well as a 20% decrease on emissions by the year 2020.
Kerry and the Middle East (Syria and Israel)
Since the early 2000s, Kerry has been the federal government’s highest-ranking apologist for Syrian President Bashar Assad. Indeed it was Kerry who made numerous efforts to undermine the Bush administration’s attempt to isolate the Syrian dictator after its courtship of him ended in failure in 2003; after Bush repeatedly accused Syria of supporting terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere; and after the United States withdrew its ambassador to Syria following the 2005 assassination of Lebanon’s former premier Rafiq Hariri in a car bombing most likely orchestrated by the Assad regime.
In January 2009, just days after Barack Obama’s inauguration, Kerry was sent to Syria as part of a policy review by an Obama administration looking to establish new relationships with countries the Bush administration had considered hostile. (This was the first of five trips Kerry would make to Syria between 2009 and 2011.)
During the January 2009 trip, Kerry listened to Bashar Assad advise him that Washington must “move away from a policy based on dictating decisions,” and that future relations between the U.S. and Syria should be based on a “proper understanding” by Washington of Middle East issues and interests. In return, Kerry used the occasion to bash the former administration. “Unlike the Bush administration that believed you could simply tell people what to do and walk away and wait for them to do it, we believe you have to engage in a discussion,” he said.
A year later, Kerry, as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sat down once again with Assad. “Syria is an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region,” he said in April 2010. “Both the United States and Syria have a very deep interest … in having a very frank exchange on any differences [and] agreements that we have about the possibilities of peace in this region.” And once again, he called on Syria to stop supplying weapons to Hezbollah.
In November 2010, disclosures of diplomatic cables by the WikiLeaks website revealed that Kerry had been busy undermining Israel as well: He had told leaders in Qatar that the Golan Heights should be returned to Syria, and that the capital of a Palestinian state should be established in East Jerusalem, as part of the "peace process."
By March 2011, as the anti-government protests in the Middle East begin to include Syria, France and the U.S. nixed another trip by Kerry to Damascus, concerned that it would signal “Western weakness.” That decision may have been precipitated by an appearance Kerry had made before a think tank audience twelve days earlier, where he:
- contended that the United States had a crucial role to play in facilitating the “democratic transitions” in the Middle East, including Egypt;
- asserted that “the people of Egypt liberated themselves in eighteen days without a single IED or suicide bomb”;
- praised President Assad for having been “very generous with me in terms of the discussions we have had”; and
- predicted that “Syria will change, as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the United States and the West and economic opportunity that comes with it and the participation that comes with it.”
Over the next 20 months, the death toll in Syria's bloody civil war, during which Assad cut a bloody swath through his own nation using heavy artillery and helicopter gunships in civilian neighborhoods, exceeded 40,000.
Kerry and Code Pink
In 2010 Kerry penned a letter backing the activities of Code Pink activists bound for Egypt and Gaza, on a mission of support for Hamas. "I respectfully request that every courtesy be given the members of the delegation during their visit," wrote Kerry. "My staff has met with members of the group and is impressed with their ability, dedication and commitment to the peace process." When they subsequently arrived in Cairo, the Code Pink delegates presented Kerry's letter to the U.S. Embassy in an attempt to pressure Egypt to permit their organization to stage a political march into Gaza, where they hoped to secure a meeting with Hamas leaders. (Notably, former Weather Underground terrorists William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn participated in that march.)
This was not the first time Kerry had dealt with Code Pink; staffers from the senator's office had met with members of that organization on prior occasions. Moreover, Kerry staffers had also previously met with a task force of United for Peace and Justice-Palestine.
Kerry and the Tea Party
In an August 2011 interview on MSNBC, Kerry derided Tea Party conservatives as fringe lunatics whose message was so absurd as to not even merit media coverage:
media in America has a bigger responsibility than it’s exercising
today. The media has got to begin to not give equal time or equal
balance to an absolutely absurd notion just because somebody asserts it
or simply because somebody says something which everybody knows is not
factual. It doesn’t deserve the same credit as a legitimate idea about
what you do. And the problem is everything is put into this tit-for-tat
equal battle and America is losing any sense of what’s real, of who’s
accountable, of who is not accountable, of who’s real, who isn’t, who’s
serious, who isn’t?”
Secretary of State
On December 15, 2012, several news outlets reported that President Barack Obama would nominate Kerry to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State sometime during the next few weeks. Upon learning of that impending nomination, John O’Neill, the former leader of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, stated that Kerry “is well qualified to be the Secretary of Defense … of Cuba or Venezuela. He [is] certainly an expert on surrender and can run up a white flag with the best of them.” Obama's formal nomination of Kerry came on December 21, 2012.
On January 29, 2013, the Senate voted 94-to-3 in favor of confirmation. The only dissenters were John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, both Texas Republicans, and James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma).
Kerry's Senate Voting Record
For an overview of John Kerry's voting record on key bills in the U.S. Senate, click here. For a still more comprehensive overview of his voting record, click here.
Kerry and Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi
In January 2013, a number of news outlets
reported on some newly uncovered video footage showing Egyptian
President (and Muslim Brotherhood member) Mohammed Morsi in recent times urging Muslims to “nurse
our children and our grandchildren on hatred for ... Zionists,
for Jews,” as “a form of worshipping” Allah; stating that “there is no
place for [Zionists] on the land of Palestine,” a region Jews
initially came to occupy by means of “plunder”; denouncing the
“Zionist and American enemies” of the Palestinians; and referring to Jews
as “bloodsuckers,” “warmongers,” and “descendents of apes
and pigs.” But when the Obama administration nonetheless delivered a
gift of four American-made F-16 fighter jets to Egypt in early 2013, Kerry defended the move, saying:
“President Morsi has issued two
statements to clarify those comments and we had a
group of senators who met with him the other day who spent a good
part of the conversation in relatively heated discussion with him
about it.... [N]ot everything ... lends itself to a simple clarity, black white, this that,
Kerry's First Speech as Secretary of State
On February 20, 2013, during his first public speech as U.S. Secretary of State, Kerry spoke about the
risks faced by government employees working abroad under dangerous conditions. In his remarks, he said: "They fight corruption
in Nigeria. They support the rule of law in Burma. They
support democratic institutions in Kyrzakhstan and Georgia, mindful from
our own experience that it takes a long time to get democracy right,
and that it rarely happens right away." But "Kyrzakhstan" is a nonexistent country. Kerry apparently blended the names of Kyrgyzstan—an impoverished nation of 5.5 million people—with its resource-rich neighbour to the north, Kazakhstan. The State Department subsequently corrected Kerry's error in the official transcript of the speech.
Kerry's Comments About Islamic Terrorism
When the subject of Islamic radicalization and terrorism was raised during an April 2013 press confeence in Brussels, Kerry said:
"I think the world has had enough of people who have no belief system, no policy for jobs, no policy for education, no policy for rule of law, but who just want to kill people because they don’t like what they see. There’s not room for that. That’s what we’ve been fighting against after all of the wars of the 20th century. Now we’re in the 21st century, and it’s time for a different organizational principle. And we need to, all of us, do a better job of communicating to people what the options of life are. And we’re open. Democracies are open to people participating in the democracy, not killing people. And so I hope that we can all figure out how we translate these better opportunities more effectively in our politics."
Kerry Demands That Israel Free Incarcerated Palestinian Terrorists As a Good Will Gesture
On April 24, 2013, Kerry and the Obama administration—in an effort to revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on a peace settlement—demanded that Israel release a number of Palestinian terrorists from Israeli prisons as a good will gesture to the Palestinian Authority (PA). At the time, PA president Mahmoud Abbas's preconditions for resuming negotiations were the same as they had been for years: (a) Israel committing beforehand to a withdrawal to indefensible borders; (b) an end to Jewish building in Judea, Samaria, and parts of Jerusalem; and (c) Israel releasing Palestinian terrorists from prison.
 Army reports that were newly discovered in 2008 discredited the claims of Kerry and his fellow Winter Soldier witnesses.