Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Unfriendly Fire

The Moose offers some post-Memorial Day thoughts.

Last night, an eloquent testimony to the courageous commitment of our military aired on A&E - Faith of My Fathers. Although it was a movie account of John McCain's ordeal in prison, it spoke to the bravery of all of the POWs in Viet Nam. Over the course of our nation's history, millions have sacrificed so much that we remain free. They do so today, as well.

Increasingly, there is a gap between those who serve in the military and the leadership class. Without a draft, this gap likely to continue for many years to come.

And it is striking how virtually the entire Republican boomer leadership class avoided serving in a war they supported. The Moose experienced an ironic moment several years ago at a conservative tribute to Reagan where all the speakers celebrated the defeat of Communism. However, the only speaker on the podium who had actually fought commies was McCain, and he was the object of the conservative leaders' ire.

In recent political campaigns, it has been the standard operating procedure for operatives in the Republican Party to directly question the credentials of candidates who served. In 2000, McCain was the victim of the smear machine. In '04, Kerry was targeted. Even Max Cleland's willingness to defend his country was questioned by the GOP in the '02 Senate race. If General Clark advances in the future, he will likely get the same treatment.

Others may be magnanimous enough to forgive the Republican gang for these transgressions- the Moose cannot and will not. It makes one wonder if someone who is risking his life today in Iraq or Afghanistan decides to run on the Democratic line in the future, he will tarred and feathered for his service. This right wing crowd specializes in the deconstruction of heroism.

Of course, it is not necessary for a leader to serve in the military in order to direct the national security of America. However, the experience of combat can be valuable. But, as we have learned painfully in the past few election cycles, military service can be also be a target of opportunity for ruthless political operatives.

As for the Moose, he will stick with McCain, Kerry and Cleland.
-- Posted at 8:16 AM | Link to this post | Email this post