Monday, October 30, 2006

Smear Brigade

The Moose wonders whether there is a special unit in the GOP to smear Vietnam Veterans.

The Moose still has his antlers in a lather over the Allen's campaign's exploitation of Jim Webb's novels about his experience in defending our country in Southeast Asia. A GOP pattern of behavior has developed over the past few years - smear the heroism of Vietnam veterans.

Jim Webb eloquently wrote about the tragedy and heroism of the Vietnam War. Needless to say, George Allen didn't. While the Moose is not fond of the "chickenhawk" epithet, he detests the degradation of veterans' experience. One surely does not have to be a veteran to have sound national security judgment. And Jim Webb's policy views certainly should not be immune from criticism. But, we should honor his service - and his depiction of it. Instead, some Republican operatives view it as a target of opportunity.

Ironically, Jim Webb wrote one of the controversial novels, Fields of Fire, partly in reaction to anti-war activists' disdain for the service of veterans. One of the Moose's favorite books, The Nightingale's Song by Robert Timberg, describes Webb's mindset when he wrote the book,

"He [Webb] liked to think that he was writing for the young rifleman, wanted him to say as he out the book down, this is real, this is what it was like, the way it smelled, how it felt, He also wanted to impart dignity to the rifleman's service without emeshing him in the tangled politics of the war. The grunt wasn't his only target, He wanted his law school classmates, and the segment of the generation they represented, to read it as well."

A few months ago, MacKubin Thomas Owens wrote in a must-read piece on National Review Online,

"Webb is an impressive man. He is a 1968 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. As a Marine officer in Vietnam, he led an infantry platoon and company, was wounded twice, and was awarded the Navy Cross (second only to the Medal of Honor as a recognition of valor) and the Silver Star. After he was medically retired from the Marine Corps, he attended Georgetown Law School and later served as counsel to the House Veterans Committee. He is the author of six novels, including Fields of Fire, the best novel there is about Vietnam..." (emphasis added)

"What most endeared Webb to me and many others who served in Vietnam was his unflinching defense of Vietnam veterans against the slanderous charges that have been leveled against them: dopehead, baby-killer, war criminal...you remember."

Late last week, the Allen campaign unleashed the "family" groups against Webb's writings. How deeply ironic. These sensitive souls were "sickened" that Jim Webb, a decorated veteran, chronicled the brutality of war. Perhaps, if they are looking for literature to read to their children they might start with Jim Webb's Citation for the Navy Cross.

You want family values? How about this one - Webb's son is currently defending us as a Marine in Iraq.

The Moose has a suggestion for the "family" groups who purportedly "stand guard" for values - they should fall to their knees every day to thank the good Lord for bringing us brave men like Jim Webb who defend our country, values, families and freedom.
-- Posted at 8:19 AM | Link to this post | Email this post