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ZIEGLER: Howdy. We're here, in Colorado in 65-mile-an-hour winds, on The Inquisition. We're going to welcome (unintelligible) voices. Scott Swett is on the other line, and he's in 17-degree weather back there in Washington, D.C., and on the guest channel we have Bruce Kesler from Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace.

Welcome Bruce. Welcome to The Inquisition.

KESLER: Thank you for having me. You forgot to mention it's 80 degrees and sunny in San Diego.

ZIEGLER: Well, I knew that you would mention it, and so I was just providing a proper lead in.

SWETT: Thank you for sharing.

ZIEGLER: So while the rest of the country endures winter and my Broncos are being splattered by the San Diego Chargers, we're going to talk today about the recent election and the Vietnam veterans' role in that election, and I want to get your take on what the Vietnam veterans contributed to the election, especially the ones via the Swift Boat Veterans.

KESLER: Well, essentially the winning margin. You know, Kerry had succeeded, along with his allies in the leading liberal media, in selling the picture of himself as a wonderful war hero and valiant war protestor. And unique in this election, compared to other demographics, Vietnam veterans spoke up, broke through, and put the lie to that and in effect provided the winning margin for the election. Without us, we'd be talking about President Kerry now instead of President Bush.

SWETT: In retrospect it may seem obvious that Vietnam veterans would, based on Kerry's history as an anti-war protestor and his having accused Vietnam veterans of all manner of atrocities, that they would rise up against him. Do you -

KESLER: Not necessarily, Scott. Not necessarily. We've all been quiet for 30-odd years and gotten used to just grinning and bearing it and getting on with our lives. Actually, there was just a very few who lit the spark, and actually you were one of the key people, and that led to the wildfire that devoured Kerry.

SWETT: Well thank you. That leads into my next question, which is: What do you think made them think they could get away with it? What they were presenting was pretty much a mythological picture of Kerry, both in and out of Vietnam, and there was huge amounts of evidence available to anybody that cared to look to counteract his war-hero claims. Do you think it was just force of habit, that he had done this successfully in previous campaigns?

KESLER: Well, not only his force of habit, but it was that the rest of us had returned to our normal lives over the last 30, 35 years, and didn't think of him at all, or if at all, like something on the bottom of our shoe -

ZIEGLER: Now, wait a minute.

KESLER: Plus, they had the leading liberal media all lined up in lockstep with them and thought they could get away with it.

ZIEGLER: Wait a minute, Bruce. You're telling me that Vietnam veterans for the last three and a half decades have had normal lives? I thought they were all violent drug abusers who were homeless and living on the streets of Washington, D.C. with their long hair and smoking crack in between their flashbacks to Vietnam and the violent out-takes that took place from there.

KESLER: Well, only on the front page of the New York Times and on CBS, but all the statistics and studies showed, for example, there was major research that was done in 1985 by the Washington Post of Vietnam veterans. There have been more recent studies which show that the incidence of homelessness, of traumatic disorders, of unsuccessful careers, et cetera, is far higher among non-veterans and among non-Vietnam veterans than among Vietnam veterans.

SWETT: That truth has gotten a certain amount of air play in the last - since the beginning of the year, primarily.

KESLER: Not much, but some.

SWETT: Well, far more than it has for decades, but you were saying exactly this same thing in 1971. You were saying that Americans, Vietnam veterans, had: A, served honorably, and were being slandered by a small handful of leftist activists.

Could you tell us a little bit how you became politicized in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

KESLER: Well, actually it goes back to the early '60s when I started college. You know, I grew up in a liberal left home, but - the child of immigrants with a basic appreciation for the freedom and the lifesaving that America gave us.

I was walking across campus one day, looking - let's see, that was the mini-skirt days, so I'm sure I was looking at that - and when someone handed me a flier with these grotesque anti-American slogans on it, and I went back to talk to him, being raised to believe that one had polite conversations, and instead he started yelling anti-American slogans at me, and being a Brooklyn boy, I punched him over a bush and told him I'd fix his wagon.

The college I went to was known as the little red school house, and -

SWETT: What school was that?

KESLER: Brooklyn College. It's a university in New York.

And just then was having its first campus-wide elections in over 30 years, and I decided to run to fix their wagon. There were 30-odd candidates from the Socialist Workers Party, the Communist Party, SDS, and a whole bunch of other funny names, and myself, running against them, not really knowing what I was doing, but calling myself a conservative.

And lo and behold, to everyone's surprise, long before Agnew coined the phrase, the silent majority spoke up, and I won, and continued to win the next several years, and to teach others how to do it on other campuses.

ZIEGLER: Was that your only role in politics up until this most recent event, or had you gotten involved in politics between your service in the Marine Corps and the 2004 election?

KESLER: Oh no, I wasn't involved after '71. As I said, outside of fighting a local politico over a parking lot, we all basically went back to our peaceful lives and trying to build it.

SWETT: Today -

KESLER: What happened in '71 was I was recently back from Vietnam working in a yard goods store in Bedford_Stiverson while I was waiting to go back to grad school. I saw the motley crew of Kerry's liars on TV in Washington and the play they got, and simply got P.O.'ed, got on the phone to everyone I knew around the country, got together a force of Vietnam veterans that the next month we went into Washington on June 1, the day before John O'Neill joined us, and we proceeded to put the truth to Kerry's lying over the next month or so.

Kerry receded into the background, we went back to school and our lives and didn't think much about it until February of this year when we were all shocked that from a handful of votes in Iowa, Kerry was the crowned king of liberalism.

ZIEGLER: Article III of the United States Constitution, I believe, defines treason and the activities of - and the availability of office for someone who is accused - who has been convicted of treason. Is John Kerry ever going to be tried for that?

KESLER: No.

ZIEGLER: Why not?

KESLER: One, because I don't think we've had many trials for it in our entire history, especially most recently. So there's no predilection for prosecuting. Two, because, as with everything in our jurisprudence and media today, it would just make him more than he's worth. He is a traitor. Whether he legally committed treason is irrelevant.

SWETT: A traitor in the sense that he betrayed his fellow soldiers.

KESLER: Exactly, and America.

SWETT: Bruce, one of the things that the opposition did to attempt to discredit John O'Neill was to portray him as a bitter man with a long-held grudge against Kerry that dated back to the times when he was, according to their charges, an operative of President Nixon and Colson, that Colson and Nixon sicced him on Kerry as kind of a White House attack dog.

You were the head of the organization Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace at the point where John O'Neill joined the organization. Can you tell us a bit about that and how John wound up on the Dick Cavett show.

KESLER: Well sure. You know, as I said, I started and organized the whole thing on my mother's telephone from my bedroom in Brooklyn. There was absolutely no help or support from the White House, or involvement.

John - back in those days the New York Times, even if it was anti-Vietnam war - the editor of the op-ed page was Harrison Salisbury, noted historian and journalist who was anti-war, but he published my op-ed in mid-May in the New York Times opposed to Kerry and the mis-impressions he was making of us.

John O'Neill saw it and contacted me a day or two before in my youthful exuberance and idealism I had organized a press conference in Washington. We went in, got honest coverage from the major media, and it was only then that Nixon and the White House took any notice of us, and basically they were inept or lazy or both at defending Vietnam veterans, but jumped on our bandwagon.

SWETT: Well, it was -

KESLER: We were never tools of them. If anything, they were tools of us.

SWETT: It would stand to reason that they would look for somebody who had already emerged as a plausible counter spokesman to Kerry rather than try to invent one, and that does seem to be the case.

So we're in early June now, and at the National Press Club you've announced the formation of the new organization. I'm looking at a couple of articles - one in the New York Times, one in the Washington Post - that give you very straight, fair journalistic coverage of this, in stark contrast to the coming-out party for the Swift Vets at the National Press Club this year, where they were immediately branded as Republican operatives. Would you care to comment on the changes you've seen in the media between then and now?

KESLER: Well, you know, as I think I said earlier, you know, the media, or the leading media in this country, has always been basically liberal or liberal centrist, but at that time you had straight reporting and you had what I call honest American discourse and conversation across the lines. Today you've had a literal mimeo machine for the left and the Democrat party take over the leading media.

ZIEGLER: Bruce, you're a self-avowed liberal, and yet -

KESLER: Yep, and proudly so.

ZIEGLER: Right. And yet you're telling us that the media is liberal and has been, and you've been able to publish almost, what, a dozen articles in the last few months about the election and the Vietnam veterans' role?

KESLER: Actually, it's probably over a hundred.

ZIEGLER: Wow. I stand corrected.

KESLER: As well as another hundred or so that I either ghost wrote or edited for others.

ZIEGLER: Is there, within the mainstream media, a residual of the professional journalists that you talked about and were interviewed with in 1971?

KESLER: Sadly to say, and you know, Scott, you and I have had discussions and arguments over this, and I think at one point I called you and said, "Scott, I have to admit I'm wrong." Sadly, as I have learned, there is, if any, extremely little residual of that fairness that once existed.

SWETT: Well, my take was that there was no evidence that led me to believe that the vets against Kerry were going to get a fair shake, and therefore, what I thought needed to be done was to focus on alternative means of delivering that message.

Bruce felt that there were fair and honest people who could be reached that would portray both sides accurately, and he did succeed in finding a few, but I think it would be fair to say fewer than he had anticipated going in. Is that a fair characterization?

KESLER: That's a fair characterization, but even few were good enough to break through. You know, as Steve Sherman said, we're all shooting in the same direction from behind different trees. And you know, just preaching to the converted is fine, but breaking through into the middle and the left to open up minds is also important.

ZIEGLER: But I think that your view of it is somewhat benign. I mean, Mary Beth Cahill just had a deal on C-Span with all the different campaign managers, and in that discussion Cahill said that she underestimated the impact of the Vietnam veterans and the Swift Boat Veterans on the Kerry campaign, but what she failed to mention was that the Kerry campaign fully expected their allies in the mainstream press to not get the story out, and in that view they were correct.

What they were not correct in was assessing that the alternative media would bring the story out and get to millions of people and force the media not to tell the original story, but to react to the fact that the alternative media had beat them on the punch.

KESLER: Well, that's absolutely correct, Tim, and that's why I had an op-ed in yesterday's San Diego Union Tribune on just that subject.

ZIEGLER: It's an excellent article.

SWETT: In that article you emphasized the spontaneous nature of the anti-Kerry revolt among veterans, and that's also how it appeared to me, that there were a number of groups and individuals that just emerged from the mix doing different things, and then over time they found each other and began to coordinate their efforts.

KESLER: And largely through you, Scott.

SWETT: Well, I was one of the conduits, but certainly there were a number of others.

KESLER: Yes.

SWETT: Wintersoldier.com, as a repository of information about these matters, became one of the meeting places.

KESLER: Well, even through you I found some guys who I hadn't been in contact with for 33 years.

SWETT: Care to name some names?

KESLER: I won't, for their own privacy.

SWETT: Okay.

KESLER: But I think you recall some of them.

SWETT: Yes. Yes, I do.

Back to Mary Beth Cahill's commentary, there seems to be a very consistent spin coming from the Kerry camp that Kerry's failure against the - specifically the Swiftvets was that he didn't react strongly enough and early enough to discredit them, the assumption being they were discredited but it was too late and nobody noticed. What's your take on that spin?

KESLER: It's simply a total lie. Kerry, as, you know, we all know, tried to in effect bribe Admiral Hoffman in January of 2004.

I knew through friends and operatives to the Kerry campaign that they were doing negative research on us as early as February of 2004.

It's simply that they thought that they could get away with either stifling or intimidating us, and to their surprise they could do neither.

But actually, what Cahill and others in the liberal media are doing today is similar in a sense to their portrayal of we were beaten by this issue of morality. It's a smokescreen to avoid they were beaten on each and every issue in each and every demographic group. And that truth they can't face.

SWETT: Well, certainly not all demographic groups. They won among the traditional supporters such as African Americans and -

KESLER: No, in every demographic group of Bush's support, the vote for Bush went up by significant percents over -

SWETT: Over 2000.

KESLER: - 2000.

SWETT: Okay, thanks for clarifying.

Let me clarify one other matter. You mentioned Senator Kerry's attempt to, quote, "bribe Admiral Hoffman" at the start of this year. As I recall, that consisted of an offer, possibly even an implicit offer of favorable treatment in the next edition of the Brinkley book "Tour of Duty." It wasn't any kind of monetary compensation. Is that correct?

ZIEGLER: Bruce, we'll cover that -

KESLER: That's correct.

ZIEGLER: - when we get back from this break. We're going to pay some bills. This is The Inquisition on Rightalk radio, a webcast that gets to the heart of the matter. We'll be back in a few minutes with Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler on The Inquisition.

(Commercial break)

ZIEGLER: We're back from the break. We're on The Inquisition with Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler. We're interviewing Mr. Bruce Kesler of San Diego, and he's written an article yesterday in the San Diego Union Tribune that gives probably one of the best post mortems on the Vietnam veteran involvement in the most recent election.

Bruce, thank you for joining us, again.

KESLER: Thank you for having me.

ZIEGLER: In this segment I want to talk about - and Scott can always head off in a different direction, but I think we want to go into the media and the interactivity of the new media and how the democrats have relied so heavily on the old media. Are they ever going to get the image that this new media is not something that they can send out a point position paper on and it's going to follow along in lockstep?

KESLER: Well, I hope they don't because then we'll keep winning, but I think basically they're not getting it because they are the establishment and don't want to admit - or they were the establishment, and don't want to admit they no longer are, or are impregnable, nor for that matter, allow any competition even from their own ranks. We're talking about elitists who are sitting there fat and happy.

SWETT: Bruce, when you say "we will keep winning," obviously as a moderate to liberal yourself, you're not speaking of conservatives. Let me ask you to clarify that.

KESLER: I'm talking about Americans who believe in honest, open forums and discourse.

SWETT: Okay, thank you.

ZIEGLER: Do you see a legislative effort -

KESLER: And that is the big "we."

ZIEGLER: Bruce, do you see the formation of a legislative effort to try to put some kind of regulation on the internet, tax it, guide it, control it, a reform on McCain_Feingold that deals specifically with the internet?

KESLER: I don't see it happening, but just as with McCain_Feingold and other so-called electoral financing reform laws, people will find a way to get through and around, and you just can't stifle Americans.

SWETT: Well, the internet is so handy that it would be a shame to have to reinvent it in some other form.

You mentioned before the last break the increasing partisanship of the old guard media. I have a private theory that the reason that thy are more publicly vocal about their leftist leanings is because they've become less and less influential. In other words, they've had to scream to be heard. And then in this election I thought they went flat out for Kerry, and even that didn't work. Would you care to comment on that aspect?

KESLER: Well, I don't think it's because of their declining influence. I think it's because they reached a peak of their influence and grew extremely arrogant.

SWETT: Well, I don't think you'll get any serious disagreement on that count.

But in 1971, although there was a Republican president, the democrats had dominated, you know, state legislatures and the congress by lopsided margins for years and years. We're in a very different political environment today. Do you think that has any impact?

KESLER: No. I think - if we're talking about with respect to the media, no. It's simply that you had a more diverse backgrounds and knowledge and experience and respect for open forums and open discussions among media types then than you have today. Today you just have a much greater parochial uniformity to the left among the media just in effect, almost writing to themselves and to each other.

ZIEGLER: Bruce, I've got a question for you. I'm going to quote from your article yesterday in the San Diego Union Tribune.

Quote, "This behavior by some of the liberal media was purposeful. The survival of their favored candidate was endangered by our truth and facts. As important, the self_image of many reporters was endangered. Their myths of our pervasive evils in defending Vietnamese freedom and of their valiant memories of mounting school libraries' ramparts could not take the incongruence of exposure."

You and I and Scott are aware of this because we were daily looking at the story and how it was unfolding. I don't think that most of Americans have reached the conclusion that you applied to the result of the election.

How do we get the libraries, the schools, the textbooks, all of the pervasive part of American culture that says the Vietnam veteran was a psychopath, the Vietnam war was wrong, and there was no holocaust perpetrated on the free people of South Vietnam after the North took over?

KESLER: That's a big task, Tim, but honestly, as I keep using the phrase here, it's through having faith in America and Americans, in persistently speaking out, using - knowing our facts, using moderate words, even for moderate thoughts, and by creating and nurturing personal contact across the spectrum that eventually get one's point across to them or allow one the venue and the opening for getting one's own thoughts across.

ZIEGLER: As you pointed out in the article, the New York Times itself used the term "unsubstantiated" without refuting one point that the Swift Boat Vets put forth in the course of the election, and they're still using that term.

KESLER: Well, I have in front of me a three-inch thick file of my correspondence back and forth with the so-called public editor of the New York Times, Dan Okrent.

ZIEGLER: Uh-huh.

KESLER: A summary of which was ultimately published by Don Luskin on his website. You know, Don is a noted commentator on CBS Market Watch as well as the National Review.

And the point is that by continual conversation, continual discourse, continual documenting, and doing so in a fair, honest, and open manner, it not only had that ultimate impact of the revealing article which spread across the web, but also had some marginal impact even within the New York Times, and I can't mention some names, of people who know that they were being watched by people who knew what they were doing.

SWETT: I was involved with another aspect of that effort. The PR firm for the Swift Vets was in fairly constant communication with people in the mainstream media that were writing articles about them, and every time they wrote "unsubstantiated," they would say, "You really have to back that up. Our claims are not unsubstantiated; we have 60 eye witnesses" and so forth. "How is it that you continue to use this term?" And in many cases the response they would get is, "I didn't write it; the editor put it in. There's nothing I can do about it."

KESLER: Well, in fact after I had this guerilla campaign against the New York Times' "unsubstantiated," they started changing it from "unsubstantiated" to "partly unsubstantiated" and "allegedly unsubstantiated" and other modifiers like that, and the response to me was, "You see, we're being fair now."

SWETT: More recent -

KESLER: Still backed them off a little bit.

SWETT: more recently they've shifted to using the term "discredited," although again, they make no effort to prove it.

KESLER: Right.

SWETT: On all the key arguments that actually reached the level of the mainstream media - Christmas in Cambodia, the Bay Hap incident, the question of whether Kerry and Rassman were under automatic weapons fire from both shores, all of that stuff - Kerry's accounts just fell apart completely under any kind of scrutiny, but the "discredited" label never seems to point in that direction, does it?

KESLER: Well, let's put it this way, sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me. There aren't enough people, I believe, who care about the issue, who pay attention to the issue, who put that much credence in those adjectives.

And I'll just give you a quick anecdote. I was at a large party in September or October here in San Diego. Several hundred liberal attorneys, many of whom are good friends of mine, who in the heat of the election I ended up spending most of the party arguing over just those words.

Post election I was at recently a large Christmas party with many of the same people, and many of those same people came up to me privately or in small groups and said, "You mean the stories about Kerry were true?"

There's a point here that if one acts persistent, friendly, factual, eventually the truth gets through, and also victor's right to history.

SWETT: you know, that's a good point, and I also appreciate your remarks about the power of rational discourse and civil discourse.

One of the tools that all of us used in this effort to considerable effect was e-mail, and perhaps nobody quite as vociferously as you did. You started out with what I believe was just a small kind of private list of people to whom you were sending important articles, important information. What happened from there?

KESLER: Well, a demonstration of America. Over time those e-mails of various news articles and articles that I wrote were passed from hand to hand. People contacted me from all over the country, and eventually by one count those e-mails were reaching over a hundred thousand people a day, a great many of them highly influential and highly activist in their local and national communities, and I repeatedly saw word for word articles that I wrote being repeated by others in articles elsewhere.

As I said, I probably had about a hundred published pieces during the campaign and probably helped edit and ghost write a hundred others, and there were literally hundreds more that were taken from my e-mails.

SWETT: That's kind of -

ZIEGLER: What I loved about your e-mail list was that I started - here I felt that I was part of this small inner cabal, and to find out that I'm only one of a hundred thousand folks that were getting your e-mail, you know, is kind of shattering, but what I loved about your e-mail was that over the course of the campaign I would start getting your e-mail from other people who I thought were totally apolitical.

KESLER: That's how it grew.

ZIEGLER: And it was - that I had not sent it to - very emblematic of the new media and how the impact of the internet and e-mail is going to affect things in the future.

SWETT: Bruce, as admin at Winter Soldier, I was getting an average of 500 e-mails a day down in the stretch, and each time I got one of your summary e-mails, I could count on getting it from at least 15 to 20 other people in the next half hour.

KESLER: That's about how it worked. I pity our poor little computers.

SWETT: Well, it keeps them off the streets and out of the pool halls, if nothing else.

ZIEGLER: Well, This is The Inquisition with Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler. We're interviewing Mr. Bruce Kesler, former marine and author and writer, and we're - this is Rightalk, Right - and The Inquisition on Rightalk radio. We'll be back in a couple of minutes after we pay some bills and I get chastised by the engineer for doing a lousy segue.

(Commercial break)

ZIEGLER: Welcome back to The Inquisition with Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler, talking to Mr. Bruce Kesler. Bruce is the author of over a hundred articles over the last few months concerning Vietnam veteran and the role of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in the recent election.

Bruce, you and Scott were talking about something over the break, and I'm going to let Scott head off into that direction.

SWETT: Well actually, my short-term memory being what it is, I'm going to head in another completely random direction.

We were talking a little bit about the attempts to unravel decades of maligning of Vietnam veterans, and I think that you'd probably agree with me that this is something that's going to take a while to really build back into the culture the idea that Vietnam veterans' service was honorable.

To what extent would you say that Vietnam veterans and their service has been vindicated or that that opportunity has occurred in the last few months because of Kerry's candidacy and this effort?

KESLER: Oh, 10 or 20 percent.

SWETT: Ten or 20 percent. So a kind of a good start, really.

KESLER: Well, it's the first time that the issue has been opened in over 30 year, and as I think you and I have both experienced in our communications, there's a whole new generation who is now interested in it, and much of the older anti-veteran generations is being discredited.

SWETT: So you see this as an ongoing educational effort and opportunity.

KESLER: Yes.

SWETT: Maybe a few more words on that.

KESLER: Well, let me give an illustration in another vein.

SWETT: All right.

KESLER: Under the old technology no one could ever really hear from us Vietnam veterans. Today with blogs, e-mail, et cetera, when there's a lie in a newspaper about what's happening in Iraq, there is instant truth to the lie coming from the soldiers and marines in Iraq to every blog and newspaper in the country.

SWETT: I think that's - I agree that's enormously important, and also on the historical front, something that I discovered is that there is a very tightly connected network of Vietnam veterans through e-mail and through a series of websites, that when something happens, they all find out about it real quick, and they're also positioned to respond quickly, and did so repeatedly throughout this year's campaign.

KESLER: That's correct.

SWETT: And in fact, that's kind of how the word about Wintersoldier.com first got out was that the Vietnam veterans community, which I didn't really know much about, latched onto it and pushed it through their channels, and then they started providing me with a great deal of very useful information that I hadn't previously had access to.

KESLER: Well, you started out, as I understand, out of a curiosity, but you tried to act fairly and moderately and compile information, and as those of us who hadn't been involved in the last 30 years quickly found out, you spontaneously did the best job of anyone and provided an invaluable link among us.

SWETT: Well, I appreciate the compliment. I don't know that I'd agree that it was the best link, but it was one of several -

KESLER: You were the best.

SWETT: - one of several crucial links.

Let's talk a bit about where we go from here. Do you see any possibility that Kerry could emerge as the Democratic nominee in 2008?

KESLER: Absolutely none.

SWETT: Presumably less because of his own lack of interest than the fact that people who control the money switches for the Democrats don't care to pour more cash down that same rat hole?

KESLER: It's the latter.

ZIEGLER: There's been an extensive effort on the part of the Kerry campaign to continue to work with their volunteers in both Iowa and New Hampshire in an attempt to dominate the primary process, and the way McAuliffe, when Terry McAuliffe was DNC chair, the way he had the primaries arranged, they're front loaded so that the early victor would carry the day, as had - that happened this year.

So without that structure of the Democratic primaries being changed, Kerry has multi-millions left over from this year's campaign which he did not use, and presumably there's a number of Kerry believers out there that would contribute and would continue to support him, and the grass roots effort of the campaign and the fact that he's had paid campaign staffers that will, presumably because of his own personal wealth, remain on the dole and continue to be able to support him.

I think he's going to be a formidable candidate regardless of what the Democratic party may want.

KESLER: He may have a lot of money, but his support will wane. He's certainly not a Goldwater or having a Goldwater army marching behind him ala post 1964. I think Hillary will have something to say as well as other Democrats about how much Kerry gets to say.

SWETT: There's also a very real question about whether Kerry can keep Theresa on the reservation for four years.

KESLER: Yeah, or she shops for a new senator.

SWETT: That's true.

ZIEGLER: Well, in two years he has to run again for the U.S. Senate.

SWETT: Actually not. He's up in 2008.

ZIEGLER: Oh. I stand corrected. And that's what Scott Swett's role on The Inquisition is to do is to stomp on me and make sure that I'm correct. That's why we're here.

SWETT: That's not really my primary role. That's more along the lines of just -

ZIEGLER: One of those added benefits, right.

SWETT: - an adjunct pleasure.

ZIEGLER: Yeah.

Bruce, the closing of your article in the San Diego Union Tribune is, "The true post mortem of Kerry's defeat is simply the last hurrah of simple patriots." Is that really the last hurrah, or would the veterans that you worked with in this last election cycle rise up to defeat a John Kerry in 2008 in a presidential race?

KESLER: We're all in our late 50s, early 60s. Some who I've been in contact with who were senior officers then are as old as in their 90s, but yes, if Kerry rose again, we would knock him down again. But I think that most of us also see a more important role now is to help the next generation of Americans understand what we did, but also what they can do to be effective.

SWETT: How do you do that? How do you go about building up the structures that would allow you to mentor a new generation to tell the truth about some of these things?

KESLER: Well, partly through the new communications and technology structures and partly through new organizations that will emerge, but also largely through our schools, our churches, our synagogues, our personal contacts in business, that Vietnam veterans are less hidden and hiding themselves than before and are not only speaking out but sought out to be listened to.

SWETT: In the case of the media, of course, there's a robust alternate media that advocates for these positions have access to. In the case of education it may be a somewhat tougher nut to crack. I'm thinking of the fact that, you know, most political science, sociology, history areas of most college campuses are so thoroughly dominated by the left that it would be hard for conservatives even to get in there.

KESLER: Well, that's absolutely true, but what I'm looking for is the next technology is going to be the internet universities because fewer and fewer people can afford 20 and 50 thousand dollars a year in order to listen to a bunch of left-wing twaddle.

SWETT: I hear that.

ZIEGLER: This is The Inquisition with Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler. We're on Rightalk radio and discussing things with Bruce Kesler. We'll be back after we pay some bills, and we'll finish this segment up. The fastest hour in radio draws to a close.

(Commercial break)

ZIEGLER: We're back for the final segment of The Inquisition with Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler on Rightalk radio, Rightalk.com, with the Agitator running the show. we're talking to Bruce Kesler.

Bruce, one of the things that I really want you - you played such a significant role in the background of this recent election in connecting people with your e-mail list, the hundred articles you wrote and helped write.

There's two generations of Americans that think of the Vietnam veteran as what they saw in the movies "Platoon" and "Apocalypse Now," abbreviated as "A Pack of Lies Now," and "Full Metal Jacket" and the list goes on.

How do we change that perception? What role do you and those like you serve to those people who don't really know the truth?

KESLER: Well, my mentors back in the '60s did the same thing that we should be doing now, and that is seeking out young upstarts and helping them and putting others forward in how to be effective, encouraging them, getting it across. There's always seeking young minds that are open to truth, and that's our role.

Back before there was a word "neoconservative," one of the very prominent leaders of it said to me, "Ideas aren't trivial things; they're something that compel action." And that is the zeal and the excitement of America that we need to communicate to others.

ZIEGLER: I agree, and out of the things that I think is that the Marines and soldiers and airmen and the sailors fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan right now, they're not going to disappear for 30 years.

KESLER: Exactly.

ZIEGLER: They're going to come back, just like you guys came back. And we really appreciate the efforts that you and your fellow Vietnam veterans did in this last election.

KESLER: Thank you.

ZIEGLER: Bruce, thank you for joining Scott and I on The Inquisition. We really appreciate your time. Scott, I'll let you send us out.

SWETT: Well Bruce, thank you very much for being here. If this is a battle of ideas, here's a salute to a fellow warrior.

KESLER: My pleasure.

SWETT: This is The Inquisition with Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler, signing off for Rightalk radio. We'll see you in two weeks.

ZIEGLER: When we'll interview Larry Bailey on The Inquisition.

(End of transcript)

Last Updated Monday, November 05 2007 @ 07:58 AM MST|4,471 Hits