OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Former senator and governor Bob Kerrey says he is haunted by a raid he led into enemy territory in Vietnam 32 years ago, in which only civilians -- women, children and older men -- were killed.
Kerrey, who has not ruled out a run for president in 2004, received a Bronze Star for the Feb. 25, 1969, raid in the Mekong Delta. The award citation says 21 Viet Cong were killed and enemy weapons were captured or destroyed.
"The citation is different than what we reported" to military superiors, he told the Omaha World-Herald in an interview published Wednesday.
"I lived with this privately for 32 years," he said. "I felt it best to keep this memory private. I can't keep it private any more. My conscience tells me some good should come from this."
Kerrey talked about the raid publicly for the first time last week in a speech to ROTC students at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va. He said he decided to give his account after hearing that another member of his squad was offering a different version.
"I went out on a mission and after it was over I was so ashamed I wanted to die," Kerrey told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Wednesday. "This is killing me. I'm tired of people describing me as a hero and holding this inside."
He received the Medal of Honor for a separate mission.
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