Posts Tagged ‘shot down’

Obama Trivializes Attacks On McCain’s Military Career

July 1, 2008

Let me begin by repeating Obama surrogate and possible Obama VP pick Wesley Clark’s attack against John McCain’s military career:

(CNN) — Retired U.S. Gen. Wesley Clark, a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, on Sunday questioned whether Sen. John McCain’s military experience qualified him to be commander-in-chief.
Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who ran for president in 2004, questioned John McCain’s qualifications Sunday.

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who ran for president in 2004, questioned John McCain’s qualifications Sunday.

The McCain campaign called for Obama to condemn the remarks.

The dust-up began with Clark’s appearance Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” where moderator Bob Schieffer asked him about his interview with the Huffington Post earlier this month.

In the interview, Clark said McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, was “untested and untried.”

When Schieffer asked to explain the comment, Clark said he was referring to McCain’s experience, or lack thereof, in setting national security policies and understanding the risk involved in such matters.

“I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands and millions of others in the armed forces, as a prisoner of war. And he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn’t held executive responsibility,” said Clark, a former NATO commander who campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004.
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“He hasn’t been there and ordered the bombs to fall. He hasn’t seen what it’s like when diplomats come in and say, I don’t know whether we’re going to be able to get this point through or not,” Clark said.

Schieffer noted that Obama did not have any of those experiences, nor had he “ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down.”

“Well, I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president,” Clark said.

And – while we’re on the subject – led me add the comments made yesterday by Obama advisor Rand Beers:

“Sadly, Sen. McCain was not available during those times, and I say that with all due respect to him,” said informal Obama adviser Rand Beers. “I think that the notion that the members of the Senate who were in the ground forces or who were ashore in Vietnam have a very different view of Vietnam and the cost that you described than John McCain does because he was in isolation essentially for many of those years and did not experience the turmoil here or the challenges that were involved for those of us who served in Vietnam during the Vietnam war.”

“So I think,” he continued, “to some extent his national security experience in that regard is sadly limited and I think it is reflected in some of the ways that he thinks about how U.S. forces might be committed to conflicts around the world.”

Can you believe this? Here we have an Obama advisor who is out there saying that John McCain’s getting shot down, terribly injured in the line of duty, beaten, and tortured in the Hanoi Hilton leave him unfit to lead this country and command its military versus some liberal hippie protester getting herpes from all the free love and getting high on LSD at Woodstock. Unbelievable.

When you elect liberals, you put moral idiots in positions of power.

Barack Obama had this to say:

“I guess my question is why, given all the vast numbers of things that we’ve got to work on, that that would be a top priority of mine?” he said. “I think that, you know, right now we’re here to talk about how we can make sure that kids in Zanesville and across Ohio get the kind of support that they need and communities that are impoverished can start to rebuild. I’m happy to have all sorts of conversations about how we deal with Iraq and what happens with Iran, but the fact that somebody on a cable show or on a news show like Gen. Clark said something that was inartful about Sen. McCain I don’t think is probably the thing that is keeping Ohioans up at night.”

Any notion that Obama “repudiated” Clark’s remarks is just plain wrong. And now he dismisses the attacks against McCain’s military service as nothing worth worrying over.

I’m not in Ohio, and I’m not staying up at night. But I am outraged about it. I wrote about this issue yesterday; but there’s just so much more that needs to be said about it.

Clark’s and Beers’ comments follow in the wake of other Obama supporters such as Jay Rockefeller – who basically called McCain a warmongering killer who callously dropped bombs from 35,000 feet – and Tom Harkin – who said a family history of military service renders one dangerous and unfit to be Commander-in-Chief.

It’s not inartful; it’s despicable. And after four Obama surrogates come out with this crap, there is little question that it is part of a coordinated Obama campaign strategy.

Obama is a complete wuss on foreign affairs and military issues – and his advisers know it. There is no way that the Obama campaign could possibly elevate their man – who may have walked past a recruiting station once – to the level of John McCain. Solution? Chop down John McCain. Insult, criticize, question, demonize, and trivialize a war hero’s record.

It’s no big deal. Just ask Barack Obama.

Every one of our presidents since World War II save one has served in the military. The overwhelming majority of our nation’s leaders since the days of our founding fathers have fought for their country before they tried to lead it.

Military service encourages the truest form of patriotism, the willingness to lay down one’s life for one’s country. Has Barack Obama demonstrated that total level of commitment? John McCain certainly did. Life in the military encourages the finest qualities a person can aspire to: honor, dedication, commitment, perseverance, and the moral clarity that results from having stared evil in the eye.

John McCain stared evil in the eye when he endured repeated acts of torture at the hands of North Vietnamese in the Hanoi Hilton. The closest Barack Obama ever came to staring evil in the eye was when he looked into the face of the pastor he chose to marry him and baptize his children.

The military teaches genuine leadership as no institution possibly can: every soldier who has ever walked, ridden, or flown into battle understands the meaning of the words, “FOLLOW ME!” as no one else ever could.

John McCain came back from injuries that would have made lesser men quit to regain his flight status and command the U.S. Navy’s largest squadron. He led that unit with distinction. By way of comparison, just what on earth has Barack Obama led?

Neither John McCain nor any of his surrogates have attempted to claim that John McCain’s military record – or even his 5 1/2 year captivity in the Hanoi Hilton – are sufficient to by themselves qualify him to be president. Wesley Clark – who refused to back down from his statements again this morning on Good Morning America – offers the straw man argument of a fool. And Clark’s charge, that a distinguished and heroic 15 year military career means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, is likewise the position of a fool.

That’s clearly what Clark is saying: that McCain’s military experience, his combat, his captivity, his leadership – and all the other qualities that military life develops from Annapolis to the field – mean absolutely nothing, and do not qualify him one iota more than a man like Barack Obama who never did squat.

Wesley Clark says that John McCain is “untried and untested.”  I would argue that Wesley Clark is untried and untested: when did HE sustain years of torture for his country?  No candidate for president has ever been more tried, and more tested, than John McCain.

Wesley Clark’s comments are all the more despicable coming from a military man. While it doesn’t rise to the same level of sheer vileness as Rep. John Murtha’s demonzing innocent Marines in Haditha as cold-blooded killers, it is the same sort of loathsome crap that is so typical from Democrats. Comments criticizing the military, or our warriors in uniform, are NOT somehow sanctified simply because the scumbag uttering the words was once a soldier himself; quite the opposite: it makes them all the worse.

Benedict Arnold was an American military officer too. But his name is now synonymous with “traitor” today. Today we could make the name “John Murtha” a synonym for treason as well. And hopefully Wesley Clark’s name will fade into the obscurity of politically radioactive losers after his 15 minutes are over.

And therein lies the answer to the question that one dare not question one man’s military service or patriotism: one certainly may, but only if that one man committed an act of betrayal.  John Murtha did (by falsely accusing innocent Marines of war crimes); Kerry did (by falsely accusing his fellow soldiers of war crimes, for example); John McCain did not.

Barack Obama’s campaign, in choosing to try to cut down a war hero – and by so doing cut down the military itself – reveals Obama’s REAL attitude about the military and the men and women who serve their country in uniform.

Clark’s Dismissal of McCain’s Military Service Part of Coordinated Pro-Obama Smear Campaign

July 1, 2008

It appears pretty clear that there is a concentrated effort to attack and undermine John McCain on his greatest strength as candidate for president: his military service and his war record. Wesley Clark became the latest Obama surrogate attempting to undermine McCain’s military record Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation:

(CNN) — Retired U.S. Gen. Wesley Clark, a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, on Sunday questioned whether Sen. John McCain’s military experience qualified him to be commander-in-chief.
Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who ran for president in 2004, questioned John McCain’s qualifications Sunday.

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who ran for president in 2004, questioned John McCain’s qualifications Sunday.

The McCain campaign called for Obama to condemn the remarks.

The dust-up began with Clark’s appearance Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” where moderator Bob Schieffer asked him about his interview with the Huffington Post earlier this month.

In the interview, Clark said McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, was “untested and untried.”

When Schieffer asked to explain the comment, Clark said he was referring to McCain’s experience, or lack thereof, in setting national security policies and understanding the risk involved in such matters.

“I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands and millions of others in the armed forces, as a prisoner of war. And he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn’t held executive responsibility,” said Clark, a former NATO commander who campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004.
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“He hasn’t been there and ordered the bombs to fall. He hasn’t seen what it’s like when diplomats come in and say, I don’t know whether we’re going to be able to get this point through or not,” Clark said.

Schieffer noted that Obama did not have any of those experiences, nor had he “ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down.”

“Well, I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president,” Clark said.

Clark’s comments are clearly part of a trend. Consider Democratic Senator and Obama surrogate Jay Rockefeller’s attack on McCain’s record in an April 8, 2008 interview with the Charleston Gazette:

Rockefeller criticized Sen. John McCain, the presumed Republican nominee for president. “Senator McCain does have a temper. But today, he speaks in a monotone on the campaign trail.”

Rockefeller believes McCain has become insensitive to many human issues. “McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit.

“What happened when they [the missiles] get to the ground? He doesn’t know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues.”

And we can also find Democratic Senator and Obama Surrogate Tom Harkin attempting to directly undermine McCain on the basis of his military background:

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin is catching grief for suggesting John McCain’s family history of military service makes the presumptive Republican presidential nominee unfit to be commander-in-chief.

Harkin, who has a history of embellishing his own military record, told Iowa reporters last week that McCain’s background as the son and grandson of Navy admirals creates a “dangerous” situation because he can only view the world through the prism of the military.

“He has a hard time thinking beyond that,” Harkin said, according to The Des Moines Register. “I think he’s trapped in that. Everything is looked at from his life experiences, from always having been in the military, and I think that can be pretty dangerous.”

The paper also quotes Iowa’s junior senator telling reporters, “It’s one thing to have been drafted and served, but another thing when you come from generations of military people and that’s just how you’re steeped, how you’ve learned, how you’ve grown up.”

There is clearly a continuing campaign trend going on here. Each of the attacks is aimed at a particular facet to undermine McCain on what ought to be his greatest strength.

Harkin suggests that McCain is so steeped in the military worldview that his judgment as a civilian Commander-in-Chief should be questioned. Harkin comes right out and calls McCain’s military background “dangerous.” Rockefeller cuts down McCain – a Navy aviator and fighter pilot who was shot down in Vietnam – as some kind of robotic high-altitude push-button killer who couldn’t care less about human life. And now we have Wesley Clark suggesting that getting shot down and ending up being tortured for 5 1/2 years doesn’t really amount to squat, and that his command of the Navy’s largest aviation squadron doesn’t amount to real leadership.

And yes – although I will not link to that kind of crap – I also found attacks directed at McCain’s military career that suggested that he attained his success because of his Navy admiral father, and that he cooperated with the North Vietnamese Army interrogators.

So Obama surrogates have left no stone unturned in attempting to undermine, throw dirt at, discredit, and insult John McCain’s war record and military career.

Now, I’m sure that liberals will point to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign and argue, “Republicans did the same thing to John Kerry!”

Well, no, they didn’t. The Swift Boat Veterans were just that – veterans. They served with John Kerry. And they responded to what they believed were distortions, exaggerations, and flat-out-lies by a man who had outraged them by turning on American servicemen and accusing them of war crimes during a career as a war protester that was actually longer than his career as a Navy officer. The fact of the matter is, the overwhelming majority of the men who served with John Kerry had a very different view of the man than the John Kerry (who put himself up for all his decorations) had of himself.

A Washington Post story on the Swift Boat episode by Michael Dobbs does a pretty fair job of sorting out the convoluted history and the claims and counter claims.

In any event, you don’t have a case of prominent Republicans attacking John Kerry’s war record and service the way you have of prominent Democrats doing such to John McCain. And, in order for the Obama surrogates “Swift Boating” of McCain to in ANY way be parallel to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth “Swift Boating” of John Kerry, you would have to have a similar overwhelming majority of men who actually served with – and rotted with in the Hanoi Hilton – John McCain. Do we have any such? Not even close.

While John Kerry couldn’t wait to mention what he hero he was and brought his “band of brothers” with him on the campaign trail to sing his praises, “John McCain rarely speaks about his experiences as a POW in Vietnam.”

But at least one man – who’s reputation is unimpeachable, has spoken out:

John McCain rarely speaks about his experiences as a POW in Vietnam, but one of his cell mates at the Hanoi Hilton on Thursday described some of the conditions and character traits that earned McCain the commendations he received for his war service.

Col. George “Bud” Day, 83, is the most decorated service man since Gen. Douglas MacArthur, with more than 70 medals. A living legend, Day was blown out of the sky two months to the day before the North Vietnamese shot down a propaganda prize, whose father and grandfather were renowned American admirals.

One of those 70 medals is the Congressional Medal of Honor.

I’ll take Bud Day’s account on John McCain over any other, thank you very much.

Another, more detailed account on John McCain’s military career, is found in an LA Times story.  You’ve got to figure that the Los Angeles Times – which is decidedly leftist in its orientation – would have dug up whatever dirt they could have.

The story dings McCain wherever possible on minor points, but it begins this way:

THE POST-POW YEARS: FIRST OF TWO PARTS — When John McCain limped home from a Hanoi prison camp in 1973 with a badly injured knee that he could not bend, Navy doctors gave him the bad news: His 15-year career as a jet pilot was over. He would never fly again.

But McCain surprised his doctors by making a dramatic comeback. With a ferocious determination to fly again and a tough physical therapy regimen, he got his wings back and not long after was awarded command of the Navy’s largest aviation squadron, VA-174, at Cecil Field in Florida. Blue-chip connections in the Nixon administration helped.

These days, when the presumptive Republican presidential nominee is asked about his qualifications to lead and manage, he points to his command of that squadron as proof he has the right stuff to be president.

“I led the largest squadron in the United States Navy, not for profit, but for patriotism,” McCain said at a candidate forum in New Hampshire. “I’m proud of that record of leadership.”

McCain’s bravery during his 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war is a well-told story. But how he regained his career after the Vietnam War has received less attention in his autobiography and other writings about his life.

A review of Navy records and interviews with more than a dozen of his former colleagues paint a picture of a commander who was lionized by his troops as a war hero and respected by aviators as a fair and effective manager. He had rugged good looks and a common touch, and was fiercely loyal to those who worked for him, his former colleagues say.

There is no question: John McCain is a legitimate war hero.  He suffered for his country as few men have suffered.  And in his determination to return from trauma and injury to continue to serve his question leave no question as to his character and courage.  Anyone who attempts to undermine such a man’s military record undermines himself.  But there is little question now that Democrats and Barack Obama surrogates are out there doing everything they can to do just that.

And John McCain’s record – when compared to Barack Obama’s complete lack of a record – speaks for itself.  John McCain’s service qualifies him as Commander-in-Chief.  He has executive level leadership experience that Barack Obama clearly lacks.  And John McCain’s lengthy career in the Senate likewise serves to further underscore the fact that one man has far more experience and credibility to serve as President than does Barack Obama.

Wesley Clark, Jay Rockefeller, and Tom Harkin’s attempts to undermine a genuine hero are genuinely despicable.  And – when three Barack Obama surrogates come trickling out to attack McCain – it is more than worth asking as to what the Obama campaign’s role has been in this campaign to question, attack, and trivialize a clearly exemplary military career.