Some have dismissed the previous post because it came from the NYT. Ok. Then how about that bastion of leftist liberalism (NOT) the Boston Globe? http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/04/14/kerry_faces_questions_over_purple_heart/
It says in part: A review by the Globe of Kerry's war record in preparation for a forthcoming book, "John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography," found that the young Navy officer acted heroically under fire, in one case saving the life of an Army lieutenant. But the examination also found that Kerry's commanding officer at the time questioned Kerry's first Purple Heart, which he earned for a wound received just two weeks after arriving in Vietnam.
"He had a little scratch on his forearm, and he was holding a piece of shrapnel," recalled Kerry's commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Grant Hibbard. "People in the office were saying, `I don't think we got any fire,' and there is a guy holding a little piece of shrapnel in his palm." Hibbard said he couldn't be certain whether Kerry actually came under fire on Dec. 2, 1968, the date in question and that is why he said he asked Kerry questions about the matter.
The article continues:
Kerry went on to earn another two Purple Hearts and he led more than two dozen missions in which he often faced enemy fire. He won the Silver Star for an action in which he killed an enemy soldier who carried a loaded rocket launcher that could have destroyed Kerry's six-man patrol boat, and he won a Bronze Star for rescuing an Army lieutenant who was thrown overboard and under fire.
One reason that Kerry has long divided Vietnam veterans is because of the way he led a group called Vietnam Veterans Against the War after he returned to the United States. While in Vietnam, Kerry began to question the policy of "free-fire zones," which permitted sailors to open fire on rivers where Vietnamese were violating nighttime curfews. He said in a 1971 appearance on "Meet the Press": "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."
Thirty-three years later, that statement still rankles some veterans, apparently including those who have formed a group called Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry, which has a website devoted to what it calls Kerry's association with the "radical pro-communist" antiwar movement.
The statements of that group have been circulated widely over the Internet and picked up on conservative radio talk shows.
But some historians said Kerry is being unfairly criticized over his antiwar effort, which is best remembered for his Senate testimony in which he asked why soldiers should be asked to die for a mistake. "Thirty-three years later, his testimony has really proved to be prescient," said historian Stanley Karnow, author of "Vietnam: A History." "The war was a mistake. Nobody knew better that the war was a mistake than the poor grunts out there fighting it."
Indeed, some of Kerry's crewmates who were aghast that Kerry had led them into battle and then came home to protest the war now say Kerry was ahead of his time in seeing the mistaken policy. Crewmate James Wasser, who originally felt "betrayed" by Kerry's antiwar leadership, said, "Knowing what I know now, I would have totally agreed with him."