Obama: Treatment of Vietnam veterans a disgrace

2012-05-28T19:10:00Z 2012-05-28T20:09:02Z Obama: Treatment of Vietnam veterans a disgraceThe Associated Press The Associated Press
May 28, 2012 7:10 pm  • 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama paid tribute Monday to the men and women who have died defending America, pointing to Vietnam veterans as an under-appreciated and sometimes maligned group of war heroes who remained true to their nation despite an unwelcome homecoming.

“You were sometimes blamed for the misdeeds of a few,’’ Obama said at the Vietnam War Memorial. “You came home and were sometimes denigrated when you should have been celebrated. It was a national shame, a disgrace that should have never happened.’’

“Even though some Americans turned their backs on you, you never turned your back on America,’’ Obama said.

Marking Memorial Day at both the black granite wall honoring more than 58,000 soldiers who died in the Vietnam War and earlier at Arlington National Cemetery across the Potomac River from the capital, Obama noted that for the first time in nine years, “Americans are not fighting and dying in Iraq,’’ and the nation was winding down its role in the conflict in Afghanistan.

“After a decade under the dark cloud of war, we can see the light of the new day on the horizon,’’ Obama said to an audience gathered at the Arlington amphitheater lined with American flags under a warm, brilliant sun.

In this election year, Obama said the nation must remain committed to providing for the families of fallen soldiers and help returning service members seeking a job, higher education or health care benefits.

“As long as I’m president, we will make sure you and your loved ones will receive the benefits you’ve earned and the respect you deserve,’’ Obama said. “America will be there for you.’’

Obama said sending troops into harm’s way was “the most wrenching decision that I have to make. And I can promise you I will never do so unless it’s absolutely necessary.’’

As he seeks re-election, Obama has reminded audiences about the end of the war in Iraq and the move to bring all troops home from Afghanistan by 2014. And in a campaign ad released last week, he credits U.S. servicemen who helped in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, meantime, promised to maintain an American military “with no comparable power anywhere in the world.’’

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee appeared with Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the GOP’s 2008 presidential candidate, before a crowd in San Diego estimated at 5,000 in what was billed as a Memorial Day service, not a campaign event.

But Romney nevertheless drew clear contrasts with Obama. The former Massachusetts governor warned against shrinking America’s military in Europe’s image and said the nation must have the world’s strongest military to win wars and prevent them.

Veterans could play a significant role in the 2012 election. Exit polls in 2008 showed that Obama was supported by about 44 percent of voters who said they served in the military, while 54 percent voted for McCain, a former Navy pilot who was a prisoner of war for more than five years during the Vietnam War.

A poll released Monday by Gallup found that 58 percent of veterans support Romney and 34 percent back Obama. The results were based on a sample of 3,327 veterans who are registered voters and had a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

Several closely watched states in the election have large blocs of military voters. Florida, home to several military installations, has more than 1.6 million veterans, according to the Veterans Administration. Pennsylvania has nearly 1 million veterans, while Virginia and North Carolina each have about 800,000 veterans living in their states.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama started the day with a breakfast at the White House for families who have lost loved ones in combat.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(34) Comments

  1. Jose
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    Jose - May 30, 2012 11:41 am
    Just as you do with your own TP Daily POXNews.

  2. ChubbyAlaskaGriz
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    ChubbyAlaskaGriz - May 29, 2012 6:29 pm
    As an anti-Obama guy what I would like is for folks to only oppose Obama for the countless legitimate things worthy of such. Those who repeatedly do so based on whacko sensationalist krap like birth cert, whether or not he's really Christian, country of origin, Bill Ayers, Rev. Wright, claims he's a Marxist and the like are totally diminishing the real & true reasons why this man needs to be voted OUT of the oval office.

    When you ridiculous people constantly resort to the fringe JUNK you embolden the other side by showing you really have no true facts or amo against him- and very sadly in the long run you may very well rally others to his cause and even play a part in getting him re-elected. Don't you realize this?
  3. Turner Joy
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    Turner Joy - May 29, 2012 3:38 pm
    According to G. W. Bush's own biography, 'Decision Points" (page 257) , his staff put that banner up. He says "It was a big mistake".
  4. firemedic
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    firemedic - May 29, 2012 3:27 pm
    Facinating that it has taken how many years and how many Presidents to say vietnam Vets were treated poorly despite headlines photographs and personal stories. nice try Mr. President but it is a day late and a dollar short. Korean Vets are not far behind the poor treatment by the public. Any of us that have served have seen the hell of war, Death and destuction of human beings that will never be forgotten. It is an honor and a Privelidge to protect and serve this Country so we can all quibble and complain about our petty diffrences. It would be truly amazing if we could all come together in what should be a great event and support this great country we live in. Love it or leave it !
  5. herestheskinny
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    herestheskinny - May 29, 2012 3:25 pm
    I read your liberal jibe and it becomes all so clear why our students graduate high school and can barely read at a 6th grade level. It is no surprise that the average public school graduate in Illinois can not find Japan on a globe, and as for U.S. history they can not tell you what year the War of 1812 was fojught. You ask me to address your comments when I ask for facts yet you can not produce a single fact. The only thing you can pull out of your rhtorical playbook is the same old bash Bush, hate Fox News and anyone who is not liberal is a racist biggot. The fact you teach school certainly explains the lack of motivation and lack of pride and inspiration that many young people I talk with display. Obama is a failure as a president, the economy, the 5 trillion in spending in 3 1/2 years, the 25% growth in government, the huge losses of taxpayer money for his pet companies that went under. Last but not least though he has the distiction of reigning over the most corrupt administration in modern history. He is not a failure because of his skin color, it is because he comes from never having a real job in his entire life. Classrooms and politics are not the real worlld for job creation or making investment decisions and Obamas record proves it.
  6. Chadwick Snow
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    Chadwick Snow - May 29, 2012 3:20 pm
    Actually, and you can check the history on this, U.S. involvement in Vietnam started under the Eisenhower administration. Prior to that, the French were attempting to retake Vietnam after Ho Chi Minh took it back from Japanese occupancy following WWII. The French decided to bow out, an extremely smart move, and the U.S. feared that the communist backing of Ho Chi Minh would cause it to become a Chinese/Russian satellite (remember the Domino Theory). We increased our effort under JFK and double downed under Johnson.
  7. real american
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    real american - May 29, 2012 2:50 pm
    You know what else is a disgrace? The Washington politicians, of both parties, wipe their butts with our Constitution, and the people who try excuse their actions by puting the other side down. The Republicans did this, the Democrats did that, etc..... The fact is they all stink!!
  8. The Peanut Gallery
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    The Peanut Gallery - May 29, 2012 2:37 pm
    to outoftowner - 7 hours ago
    It is a bit odd that Obama would want to evoke the memories of how poorly Viet Nam veterans were treated, when his good buddy Bill Ayers was one that instigated much of that feeling.

    Hear, Hear! Ayers not only 'instigated', he 'detonated'. He is a segment of human excrement.
  9. Haystack
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    Haystack - May 29, 2012 2:24 pm
    The "Kenyan Candidate" is a phoney!!! How can he say that when it was Pot smokers like him and his "choom gang" that were showing their behinds in disrespecting our returning Vetrans from NAM. He was probably one of the ones that spit on our troops. This guy MUST be voted out. "Oath Keeper!!"
  10. JimBjrIL
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    JimBjrIL - May 29, 2012 1:48 pm
    This person was told by FOX Infotainment that FOX was the only one covering the Catholic Church story, so they believed it. If they would have pulled their head out of FOX's behind for two minutes, they would have seen the AP stories on Yahoo News, the stories on MSNBC, the stories on NPR and CNN and CNBC on and on and on. Another poor, pathetic, pitiful FOX Zombie. How sad.
  11. The Cat2
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    The Cat2 - May 29, 2012 1:37 pm
    Bush43 was in the Air Guard and flew F106s that were NOT used in Vietnam since they were air defense aircraft and not ground or dual purpose air/ground like used in RVN and the North. Once again, anytime you are engaged in air operations with the military there are more risks than those in the civilian sector face. Not sure that Cheney would have made the physical cut based on his long history of heart problems that began when he was fairly young. Now, let's hear about Bubba and Obumbler's "military records"!
  12. The Cat2
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    The Cat2 - May 29, 2012 1:24 pm
    Since I was in Vietnam during Nixon's time I will correct you on your "confusion" (or more likely the propaganda you've been fed). Nixon established the program of transferring more responsibility over to the Vietnamese and withdrawing US troops after his election. The invasion of Cambodia was to destroy supply and staging area being used by the NVA and actions over and in Cambodia had been done quietly under LBJ including bombing campaigns and across border operation for recon and raids by the SOG using special operations teams. Nixon also stepped up the air war over the North to force them to an agreement in 1972 that effectively ended most US operations in the area. Callley was under LBJ. .
  13. Riggyman88
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    Riggyman88 - May 29, 2012 12:50 pm
  14. Riggyman88
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    Riggyman88 - May 29, 2012 12:50 pm
    Not so from what I have read. The ship requested the banner, but the GWB administration made the banner and put it up. Initially, it was stated that the ship put the banner up, but the White House later conceded that they actually put it up.
  15. Riggyman88
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    Riggyman88 - May 29, 2012 12:45 pm
    I am not an Obama fan, but this post is absurd. To begin with, no one has a right to know all of the news unless they so choose to do so. I haven't seen anything guaranteeing this right you claim. Secondly, Fox news and MSNBC are mostly entertainment programs and not real news. The whole deal with the Catholic Church is ridiculous as well. The issue was addressed a thousand times over. If you dislike Obama, then just say so and leave the other stuff to yourself because it makes one look kinda silly.
  16. navysvo
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    navysvo - May 29, 2012 12:32 pm
    Actually, the ship put that banner up, not the GWB administration. Get your facts straight.
  17. ES
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    ES - May 29, 2012 12:04 pm
    Its kind of like saying "Mission Accomplished" and then withdrawing trrops eight years later.
  18. ES
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    ES - May 29, 2012 12:03 pm
    Then again, Nixon escalated the war and tried to take Cambodia as a bargaining chip. Let's also not forget the massive cover up of the Mai Lei Massacare and how Calley (sp?) was not even punished for his actions of killing hundreds of innocent children and older people. I mean if you want to paint with such a broad stroke, add all of the compnents, not just the ones you wish.
  19. prothooman
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    prothooman - May 29, 2012 11:56 am
    My uncle was an officer in Nam. He was a Bronze Star Recipient. He was told upon returning to the States not to wear his uniform in the airport because he might get SPIT on. Those Veterans deserve better than that.
  20. ES
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    ES - May 29, 2012 11:00 am
    What more proof do I need for my comments? Why not address my comments. I brouht up Cheney and Bush because of their involvement (or in their case lack thereof) in the Vietnam war? Are you that obtuse?
  21. herestheskinny
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    herestheskinny - May 29, 2012 10:18 am
    What I find amazingly frightening is that left wingers can not accept that Bush and Cheney are no longer in office. They also refuse to accept responsiblity for the economic mess that America has fallen into under the control of the left winged democratic party. Obama is in deep trouble and his re-election hopes are becoming more dismal each week. He does not help his own cause when he blatantly panders to groups in a desperate attempt to earn their support. He campaigns on the taxpayers dollars and attempts to turn every public appearance he makes into a campaign stop. Get over it ES, Bush and Cheney have been gone from power for 3 1/2 years. All the problems that exist today are the result of Obamas failed policies. The economy, the weakened state of the military. The fact the space program is shut down. The fact that we are 5 trillion dollars deeper in debt than when Obama took office. These are the realities, this is the legacy of Obama, Biden, Reid, and Pelosi.
  22. ES
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    ES - May 29, 2012 9:50 am
    What's amazingly frightening to me is that no matter what he says, the tea party loyals on this site slam President Obama. They forget Cheney took 3 deferments to get out of 'nam and Bush jr. was seeking medical attention instead of fighting. The tea party and far right people on this site cannot accept the fact that he has honored those who were not honored at the time (you know when Nixon was President) and somone is even ignorant enough to bring up the Ayers nonsense. Face it tea party people (the pantagraph erases any other term I call you) you guys hate the man for racial reasons, for made-up reasons (Fox news) or for hypocritcal reasons. How anyone can harbor a grudge against this man and vote for Bush or plans to vote for Romney (because he lives our lives with his billions) is amazing. You people have been and continued to be used and you truthfully are not educated enough or are so biased that you cannot see it. Karl Rove, The Koch brothers, and the rest are playing you.
  23. The Cat2
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    The Cat2 - May 29, 2012 9:46 am
    Let's see now; it was the Dems that essentially started the war with JFK's significant deployment of advisers and support troops to South Vietnam; LBJ significantly stepped up actions and deployment of additional troops while mismanaging the air war; and then it was a Dem House that cut off the promised support to South Vietnam when the North invaded in violation to the "peace agreements" during the Ford administration. It was also the "friends of Obama" like Ayres and wife who were leading demonstrations and terrorist actions in the US against the war as well. It was the likes of Bubba Clinton and his wife (our current poor excuse for Sec of State) that were also active against the war and all the "progressives" (many still in the Legislative Branch today still working against US interests) that were also working against the war effort and trashing the troops. Once again Dear Leader is posturing for political purposes and lying through his teeth.
  24. miniman
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    miniman - May 29, 2012 8:57 am
    "I don't remember what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was that I said." You know, there really is nothing like a tree in Michigan, they are just the perfect height.
  25. herestheskinny
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    herestheskinny - May 29, 2012 8:33 am
    You know it is funny how left wingers will absorb every word of the dailykoz or the huffingtonpost and pass it on as nuggets of wisdom. The fact that the information are talking points released by the DNC always goes unreported. It also is true that the propaganda machine that is MSNBC, NBC, and ABC news is channeled into the living rooms of those who choose to tune into them.One can only presume you do not have a cogent thought on the actual topic of this article which is the pathetic attempt by a sitting president to garner votes from veterans. Which I might add he trails in the polls to Romeny by over 20 points.
  26. navysvo
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    navysvo - May 29, 2012 7:05 am
    Turning Memorial Day into Veteran's Day for a re-election vote....
  27. ChubbyAlaskaGriz
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    ChubbyAlaskaGriz - May 29, 2012 6:54 am
    Though his words may be true so far those who've held office have chosen a more tactful, subtle approach. They've used careful dignified reserve which is fitting for the office. Sure they could have taken a melodramatic approach, but then that's easily seen as a Glenn Beck sensationalist style- one meant to incite and rev-up. I prefer the quiet, polite reserve and dignity of softer language- especially from my leader. Shows keen control and disciplined precision. Leave the over-sensationalizing to the talk radio shock-jocks, Mister President, please.
  28. BC
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    BC - May 29, 2012 6:44 am
    They are parroting FOX. Funny how so many will gobble up anything from a media source that is partially owned and influenced by a Muslim from the country that was home to the 9/11 attackers. Divide the people and destroy the economy is a sure way of destroying America. Our enemies are right on track. They can bring their propaganda right into American living rooms and the gullible will gobble it up. The reason the rest the news outlets don't report such things is because they are half truths, twisted facts and out right lies. As for the Catholics, they operate huge for profit enterprises like OSF that employs more non-Catholic than their members. If they don't want to operate the same way all other corporations operate sell off their holdings to someone that does. Don't use religion as an excuse to short change their employees then turn around and find schemes to skirt church teaching when it is to the financial benefit of the corporation.
  29. outoftowner
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    outoftowner - May 29, 2012 6:35 am
    It is a bit odd that Obama would want to evoke the memories of how poorly Viet Nam veterans were treated, when his good buddy Bill Ayers was one that instigated much of that feeling.
  30. Lindy
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    Lindy - May 29, 2012 6:06 am
    I agree with absolute amazing. And people should see right through his "act." Everyone has known for years that the Vietnam Vets were treated discracefully, We don't need him to confirm that.. What's really bizarre, is that a story like this gets front page news, but there has been nothing mentioned about probably one of the biggest stories in modern history, THE FACT THAT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH,,, NATIONWIDE,,, IS SUING OBAMA AND HIS ADMINISTRATION OVER THE OBAMACARE,CONTRACEPTION MANDATE. For some really unknown reason, the MAIN STREAM media refuses to print stories that might shine a "bad" light upon him,, Talk about trying to brainwash the public!!!, THIS is a clear cut example of that..When the story broke there was only ONE network that provided ALL of the info and continues to update news about it ,, and that is the FOX news channel, and there was only 19 seconds given to the story from one main stream news channel, and the rest of them did not report one thing. WE THE PEOPLE, vets and non vets have a right to know ALL of the news, and ANY station or network that refuses to print the good, bad and ugly about the "golden boy" is doing a terrible disservice to their viewers or readers, period!
  31. herestheskinny
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    herestheskinny - May 29, 2012 5:57 am
    Mr. Obama, you do know a lot about the topic of Americans who disrepsect the military. You have been among their rank and files since you were a student. The same Occupy crowds you endorsed include the anti-military protesters who you now are scolding publicly. Never has such blatant hypcrisy been displayed on the part of a siting president. Mr. Obama you bring disgrace, dishonor, and embarrassment to the office of the POTUS on a continual basis.
  32. Wizard
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    Wizard - May 29, 2012 4:56 am
    You are talking about Romney ......... right.
  33. J_D_L
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    J_D_L - May 28, 2012 11:04 pm
    The Afghan/Iraq wasr have been declared over by Obama and there were no parades by his admin. We really need someone to translate for our president because he contradicts himself at every turn.
  34. absolute amazing
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    absolute amazing - May 28, 2012 10:33 pm
    he will say anything to get your vote now. after your vote dont hope for change.
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