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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

And why CAN'T a 4-star general ask the question?
Posted by Jill | 6:07 AM
If anyone is in a position to ask John McCain to explain exactly how getting shot down makes one a military strategist, it's Wesley Clark. If a 4-star general can't ask what the connection is between getting shot down and being an expert on military strategy and foreign policy, who can?

If military service were a necessary prerequisite for the presidency, why didn't the Republican Party think in 2000 that John McCain's service entitled him to the presidency? Why didn't the party speak up when McCain's family was smeared by another Republican? And if military service is so important, and if we can never, ever question anyone who serves, why was it OK for a bunch of liars with an agenda to smear John Kerry four years ago?

No one is smearing John McCain. No one is claiming he wasn't shot down. No one is claiming that he didn't serve honorably. Other bloggers have talked about McCain breaking down under torture, but I think that for people like us to go there puts us in the same league as the 101st Fighting Keyboarders, who think that sitting at home bashing liberals is exactly the same as active service. I recognize his service to his country, though I will question whether his Congressional career, fraught as it is with favors given to donors, is as exemplary of "putting country first" as he's claiming it is. But his service is unquestionable. The issue is whether he deserves the Presidency as payback -- and if so, what about the many, many other wounded veterans and ex-POWs -- especially those serving in Iraq who he didn't even want to give a new GI bill, saying it was "too expensive."

The sainthood of John McCain, ascribing to him an infallibility that rivals that of the Pope, has been so much a part of the media narrative he's done so much to cultivate over the years, that it's not surprising that someone questioning that narrative would give the talking heads of the media the vapors.

Brandon Friedman of VoteVets.org, who is every bit as much a veteran as is John McCain, shares some of the e-mails his organization has received from servicepeople -- who clearly understand, unlike the talking heads of the media, exactly what Clark was asking. You'll have to go to Le Grand Orange for the rest, but here's just one:

General Clark was right. Service as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces is only one of the roles of a president. General Clark did not attack Senator McCain's ability to be president, he simply pointed out that his military service does not inherently qualify him for that role.

Chris LeJeune
Salt Lake City, UT
Iraq Veteran

Veterans get it. It's too bad that people like Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski and Bob Schieffer are so intellectually lazy that they can't.

To his credit, Clark is NOT backing down:

There are many important issues in this Presidential election, clearly one of the most important issues is national security and keeping the American people safe. In my opinion, protecting the American people is the most important duty of our next President. I have made comments in the past about John McCain's service and I want to reiterate them in order be crystal clear. As I have said before I honor John McCain's service as a prisoner of war and a Vietnam Veteran. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands and millions of others in Armed Forces as a prisoner of war. I would never dishonor the service of someone who chose to wear the uniform for our nation.

John McCain is running his campaign on his experience and how his experience would benefit him and our nation as President. That experience shows courage and commitment to our country - but it doesn't include executive experience wrestling with national policy or go-to-war decisions. And in this area his judgment has been flawed - he not only supported going into a war we didn't have to fight in Iraq, but has time and again undervalued other, non-military elements of national power that must be used effectively to protect America But as an American and former military officer I will not back down if I believe someone doesn't have sound judgment when it comes to our nation's most critical issues.

Unlike the candidate he represents, who folded like a 1985 Yugo GV yesterday, after tossing Gen. Clark down to the nether regions of the bus, where he's already tossed the netroots after we dared to try to preserve the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

We of course, gave the General first dibs on the sofa. The ride under the bus gets rough sometimes.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
Funny, Clark thought an enemy collaborator was a great candidate for POTUS in 2004

Blogger Fran said...
Clark was on All Things Considered tonight... and not backing down. Even when Michelle Norris tried to paly him.

Good on him!