From John Kerry’s interview with GQ:
GQ: You beat prostate cancer. Was that your first thought of mortality?
JK: Oh God! No. You kidding, man? I mean, Jesus, I saw my own death any number of times in Vietnam. There was this period where I was convinced I’d be killed. But I made it back with a sense that every day is extra. You know, we used to have a saying over there when we were screwing around and getting in trouble, breaking the rules. We’d look at each other and we’d say, “We’re f—in’ idiots, and this is Vietnam.” I mean, that attitude is liberating. It’s sort of been there, done that. And they can’t—I’m gonna get in trouble for saying the F-word there—but people who come back from that are very lucky and know that, and it is very liberating. You know, there’s not much that scares me. So I’m not worried about things—certainly not dying, because too many of my friends did. And so I think it empowers you to go out and tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may. Bush and Cheney don’t understand that. That’s one of the things I think is most lacking in their stewardship of our country.
GQ: Did you come back from Nam with any psychic damage?
JK: I was very lucky, Mike. I think I was able to take that pain and put it out there in my efforts to end the war. And so I very publicly laid out my depth of opposition to what was happening and my feelings about what had happened over there in a way that, you know, a lot of guys didn’t have that opportunity, or couldn’t or didn’t, and they kind of held it in. And I think that’s the harder thing; that’s the problem for a lot of guys. So I never did have any of those issues. It doesn’t slow me down; it motivates me.
GQ: You’ve never seen a therapist?
JK: No. I had some nightmares when I came home, which is not unusual.
GQ: Like what?
JK: I can’t say. To me Vietnam is an old place, an old memory. It is old history, it’s gone, it’s past. The less I have to talk about it, frankly, the happier I am.