Nation briefs 12A

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Veteran backs Kerry on Silver Star account

CHICAGO -- A Chicago Tribune editor who was on the Vietnam mission for which John Kerry received the Silver Star is backing up Kerry's account of the incident. William Rood, 61, said he decided to break his silence about the Feb. 28, 1969, mission because reports by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are incorrect and darken the reputations of veterans who served with Kerry, according to a report in the Tribune's editions today. Rood, an editor on the Tribune's metropolitan desk, said the allegations that Kerry's accomplishments were overblown are untrue. Kerry came up with an attack strategy that was praised by their superiors, Rood said. According to the Tribune, Rood's recollection of what happened that day in South Vietnam was backed by military documents, including his citation for a Bronze Star.

Judge approves United's restructuring plan

CHICAGO -- A federal bankruptcy judge has given United Airlines a 30-day "test period" to show it can cooperate with its unions on a restructuring plan, rejecting union calls to open the process up to rival proposals immediately because United has not tried hard enough to preserve employee pensions. The hearing came a day after the release of court papers in which United warned it "likely" will have to terminate those pension funds in order to secure the loans it needs to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Such a default by the nation's second largest airline would impact about 119,000 employees and retirees and be the largest ever by a U.S. company.

Military doctors face allegations of misconduct

Suspected of having condoned the torture of Iraqi prisoners, some American military doctors now face ugly comparisons to soldier-physicians who conspired in abuses by Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler and other dictators. Although the Americans' alleged misconduct is far less severe, some say it is made worse because they did not have to fear being killed if they didn't cooperate. The Defense Department issued a statement Friday taking "strong exception" to allegations made last week in the British medical journal The Lancet. An article by an American professor said doctors at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison falsified death certificates to hide killings, hid evidence of beatings and revived a prisoner so he could be tortured more.

-- From wire reports

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