Friday, August 06, 2004

An Open Letter to Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholm

Greg Stevens, Founder and President
Rick Reed, Partner
Paul Curcio, Partner
Erik Potholm, Partner

Check the Real Casualty List

From the Boston Globe yesterday
(here's the link in case you think I am spinning this -- click here):

Yesterday, reached at his home, Elliott said he regretted signing the affidavit and said he still thinks Kerry deserved the Silver Star.

''I still don't think he shot the guy in the back," Elliott said. ''It was a terrible mistake probably for me to sign the affidavit with those words. I'm the one in trouble here."

Elliott said he was no under personal or political pressure to sign the statement, but he did feel ''time pressure" from those involved in the book. ''That's no excuse," Elliott said. ''I knew it was wrong . . . In a hurry I signed it and faxed it back. That was a mistake."

The affidavit also contradicted earlier statements by Elliott, who came to Boston during Kerry's 1996 Senate campaign to defend Kerry on similar charges, saying that Kerry acted properly and deserved the Silver Star.

So the story goes, but I am more than sure that you are proud of what you accomplished. And I am not taking the time to voice this outrage because I think that John Kerry is a better alternative than our current Administration, which I believe is morally bankrupt and is beginning to look like the last days of Daddy Bush. I am writing this because of who and what you're trampling on when you decided that this was a good way to make a buck.

Vietnam is a serious and open wound that still isn't healed. I don't know if it ever will be in my lifetime, so let me just state that I am disgusted that you chose to stick your finger into the gash, not because of politics, not because Kerry decided that Vietnam was a way to define his patriotism and service to country, certainly not because Iraq is starting to take on its very tone. This time you went too far and your exercise will backfire on the organization for whom you clearly support.

Go to any VA psychiatric hospital today or speak to a couple of homeless vets and you'll realize quickly how damaging your efforts really are. I know many Vietnam vets - no matter the personal politics - who know that Kerry is speaking the truth not only about his service record, but also about the wholesale atrocities that went on during that conflict. Like Kerry, they are haunted by the experience. Some of them may be alive, but many have never come home. I know guys who spent multiple tours in the stench of that Conflict, awake for days at time wondering if their last step was the last on this Earth, not sure that if beyond the next hill or patch of elephant grass the End was awaiting. This thinking probably didn't enter your algorithm or logic.

You went for the buck and the attention and I guess you feel terribly proud.

It is my sincerest hope that karma catches up to you: that you can spend a couple of nights wondering if this was your last professional step. I wish you no physical harm, just economic harm, because that's what fuels your existence. Certainly the truth or a simple sense of decency missed your conscience. There isn't a Vietnam veteran who doesn't deserve our simple thanks and support, or straight understanding. It was a terrible chapter in our nation's history, because it was based on a lie and good American kids who couldn't "sidestep" their commitment were sent to die. At least guys like McCain, Kerrey and Kerry did their duty. The same can't be said for some other well placed officials who, quite frankly, turned and ran.

Let me close with a simple analogy to put this in terms you may understand, I hope. The ad starts with a couple of escaped Nazis in Argentina, laughing about how the Holocaust is overblown and the numbers are greatly exaggerated. Your ad cuts in with some old black and white photos of these men as young officers on the Eastern Front, forcing a couple of prisoners to dig their own graves. We can see a tangle of corpses in the distance. The young officers are just standing there, watching with a frozen mask. Imagine the outrage it would have caused as soon as it hit the air and you'll begin to understand the anger that this effort has caused.

Sure, you got some attention, but was it worth it?

Here's to the next step, the next hill, a dense patch of elephant grass. Your professional reputation probably must feel real fragile about now, and maybe you have begun to feel what it was like to go to Vietnam and survive it. So let me just state this again so you catch my drift here: I have never written such a letter to anyone or any company in my lifetime that took something to task, and this dives deeper than a sense of moral decency. The shameful lies and scandalous allegations have to stop about Vietnam. Spend the money you make from this deceit real well, it may be the last time you ever make a living at something so disgusting. I hear that videotaping weddings can pay the bills.


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