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The new saints

I have made a rather odd discovery of late. Traditionally, the Left has been the strongest proponent of the separation of church and state. But it's the left that has instituted a new class of saints, those blessed and beloved by God that they are above all criticism, of whom any questioning of their words and deeds is the highest blasphemy.

And who are these beatified people of whom I speak? Why, liberal veterans, of course.

Any man or woman who serves our nation honorably is to be respected and appreciated. They have done what many of us have not -- they have placed themselves in harm's way to protect all of us.

But that doesn't make them infallible, doesn't lift them above petty politics, and certainly does not make them worthy of unquestioned obedience.

For example, John Murtha. Murtha, a former Marine, had a very distinguished career and volunteered for service in Viet Nam. He retired a full bird colonel before running for public office -- that, plus his medals, show that he was an exceptional Marine.

But that says nothing about his qualifications for high office -- or, at least, not infallible as such. Murtha, like any other member of Congress, is subject to the same evaluations of his statements, policies, votes, and other conduct -- including his brush with scandal in Abscam, his notion of maintaining our power in the Middle East from Okinawa -- 5,000 miles away.

For another, John Kerry. Kerry served honorably in Viet Nam as well, winning several medals and being wounded. But since then, the man has done virtually nothing anywhere near as noteworthy. In fact, with the single exception of his lead role in the BCCI investigation, his accomplishments have been rather remarkable: he's married not one, but two millionaire heiresses; blew off about 90% of the votes in Congress while he was running for president; and was essentially a big zero in the Senate until he ran for president.

This is a fairly recent development. In 1992 and 1996, the Republicans nominated two distinguished veterans -- in at least one case, a certified hero -- for president. In both cases, they were defeated by someone who had not only never served, but pulled every scheme he could think of to avoid putting on his nation's uniform. It was announced then that the Viet Nam war was over and done with, and it was time to put it all behind us.

The logical extension of this argument is to institute a Heinleinesque "only veterans can hold high elected office." This would be a catastrophic blow to several groups -- women, who are institutionally denied the chance to win fame and honor on the field of battle, for one. For another, it would deal a devastating blow to the notion of civilian control of the military. For a third reason, traditionally veterans have sided more with the Republican party than the Democrats.

On Saturday, we paid honor to all who have served our nation by putting on the uniform, taking up arms, and risking their lives to defend all of us. But to grant them such things as infallibility, refusing to question their judgment in matters political, and to say that to disagree with their ideas and positions and statements is to insult their service and question their patriotism is fundamentally wrong.

Because let's never forget that other men have served their country honorably as well, and no one would say that men such as Timothy McVeigh and Randy "Duke" Cunningham are above reproach for their service. Also, let's not forget that Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were also Navy veterans of World War II.


Comments (13)

Part of the reason, is that... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Part of the reason, is that a conservative veteran whether Democrat or Republican has the personal credibility to undertake liberal initiatives..Richard Nixon could go to China whereas Hubert Humphrey or George McGovern could not for they would be crucified as being soft on communism. etc...No one would charge that about Nixon. John Murtha can offer redeployment 'cut and run' policies if you will, and no one will question his 'patriotism' whereas someone like Tom Hayden offering the same policies would be still be labeled 'a leftist pinko' in many quarters...I suppose it is all about winning over what Nixon termed `the silent majority.`Having been in the military, is considered a testament to one`s personal service or sacrifice to the nation, even though in the last Congress, I believe, only two congressmen or senators of the 535 legislators (one being John McCain) had a son or daughter in the entire US forces.

" Only Veterans can hold hi... (Below threshold)
Drew:

" Only Veterans can hold high elected office"
this is wrong, it is only a citizen can vote or hold office and the only way to become a citizen is to serve in federal service, it doesnt matter if you were in the military, it is that you care enough to put your life on the line by serving the public. And as long as you are serving, you CAN NOT VOTE! You are required to serve 2 years to get your citizenship, but if you go career, you are unable to vote until such time as you retire or are medically discharged. Most military members in the book never get to cast a ballot, but they vote everytime they step into action to defend the homeworld.

Kerry is a fraud. He did 90... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

Kerry is a fraud. He did 90 days out of a 1 year tour of duty using rather dubious "wounds" to cut short his combat tour. He cut and ran on his men. And he cited himself for his medals. Worse he joined a traitorous group called the Winter Soldiers, defaming America troops as war criminals and murderers in his testimony to the Senate. Then he adds to this by meeting with the enemy in Paris while a reserve officer. Yes indeed, a real 90 day wonder the Massachusetts gigolo is.

Murtha on the other hand does have an honorable and distinguished service record unlike Kerry. Unfortunately Murtha besmirched himself with his criminal behavior. What kept him out of jail was his testimony for the Feds in the ABSCAM investigation and subsequent prosecutions.

Cunningham is the real deal. A real honest to goodness war hero who destroyed himself with his criminal behaviour. A real shame but entirely his fault.

Kerry on the other hand doesn't even rise to Cunningham's or Murtha's jockstraps.

Part of the reason... (Below threshold)
jpe:
Part of the reason, is that a conservative veteran whether Democrat or Republican has the personal credibility to undertake liberal initiatives.

Yep. It's slightly more difficult to pull off, politically speaking, making ads where the (D) challenger's face is layered on top of OBL's if that challenger is a vet.

Drew,I'll give you... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

Drew,

I'll give you your geek cred for knowing about "Starship Troopers", but you get points deducted for lack of reading skills. Jay used the word "Heinleinesque".

Very good discussion. One ... (Below threshold)
GeminiChuck:

Very good discussion. One minor data point for when the democrats bring up Okinawa as a deployment station. Right now we are spending billions on upgrading GUAM for deployment forces because the Japanese want us out of Oki. That adds a good 3000 miles to the distance to the middle east - but that's ok, because we can deploy the troups immediately on all those wonderful troop transport planes most democrats voted against. How on earth can they live with themselves?

GC

Here I go, getting excited ... (Below threshold)
Carl:

Here I go, getting excited that someone was writing about the resurgence of my favorite NFL team, the New Orleans Saints, and imagine my horror when I am DECEIVED into reading something about John "cut-and-run-to-Okinawa" Murtha!!! The horror! The agony! :-)

"Kerry served honorably in Viet Nam as well"

That's highly questionable actually.

kbiel,True I did ove... (Below threshold)
Drew:

kbiel,
True I did overlook the "Heinleinesque", but i wanted to point out that it wasnt just military that could vote and hold high office, just those who gave the time serving and/or defending their fellow humans got the right to determine the best course for the human race. And if I remember correctly, you could quit at any time with no questions asked, but you would never become a citizen and never have the right to vote. By that standard, most of the folks in Washington are disqualified from holding public office and voting.

GeminichuckGuam is... (Below threshold)

Geminichuck

Guam is already an extremely strong part of our Pacific projection. Guam is the forward Ammunition base for the West Coast. I sail for Military Sealift Command (the Naval supply ships), and as far as I can recollect (I'm an East Coast mariner), all of our supplies go through Guam anyway. Although you're forgetting Diego Garcia (somewhere in the south Indian Ocean), which I believe is a huge Navy base, and probably another center of operations. Anyone who is more "in the know" than I am please feel free to correct me.

But that says nothing ab... (Below threshold)
Brian:

But that says nothing about his qualifications for high office

And no one has claimed it did. You're making something out of nothing here, Jay. No one thinks veterans are infallible. Just that they should be given greater consideration when talking about military issues, since they know something about them. Especially by someone with no military experience.

I interpret Jay's thinly-ve... (Below threshold)
epador:

I interpret Jay's thinly-veiled metaphoric sarcasm here to simply mock one religion's recent canonization of Saints to counter the earlier successful efforts of another.

An effort that appears to be largely lost on the Lunartharins as well as the Elephangealists posting here.

Lunartharins and Elephangea... (Below threshold)

Lunartharins and Elephangealists I got, but "metaphoric sarcasm"? Wut's thayat?

As a Vietnam vet myself, I ... (Below threshold)
Bat One:

As a Vietnam vet myself, I would be first in line to thank any other vet (Except for Kerry who has generated more than enough self-congratulation. Real heroes don't advertise the fact.). Even Jack Murtha.

But let's be honest about Murtha. Of his well renown 33 years of military service, only 6 and a half years were active duty. The rest was inactive reserves. Check the man's Congressional web site. Do the math. Count backwards.

That is not to disparage "weekend warriors." Many of our finest servicemen and women currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan are Guardsmen and Reservists. But for Murtha to deliberately imply that his service was something that it was not is not only dishonest, but an insult to whose active duty service was indeed all that Murtha wrongly aspires to.

Murtha's only military-related expertise is neither strategic nor tactical, but consists in handing out DoD contracts to firms which happen to be clients of his brother's lobbying firm, and have opened branch offices in his Congressional district. He is to be honored and respected for his military service... as should Duke Cunningham, Richard Nixon, and LBJ. And condemned for his self-serving dishonesty and corruption.




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