One of the favorite methods baby-boomer liberals like to use to “halt” hawkish Republicans in their tracks is outing the latter’s lack of service in the Vietnam War.
By contrast, and Exhibit A in the kind of moral vanity liberals from that generation traffic in, the same baby-boomer leftists point to their protests of the Vietnam War as somehow equivalent to military service.
To their credit those Republicans whom liberals love to label “chicken-hawks”–Newt Gingrich, Dick Cheney, among others–have never made any claims that they fought in Vietnam
The same cannot be said for one Democrat today.
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal has made a career of claiming military service in a conflict he never left the U.S. for.
In 2008, Blumenthal stated “We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” and claimed he was one of those who experienced “the taunts, the insults, sometimes even physical abuse” because of having “served during the Vietnam era.”
Even more dishonorable, Blumenthal that same year appeared at the Vietnam War Memorial making the same claims. Against the backdrop of the names of the dead behind him, he stated, “I served during the Vietnam era…I remember the taunts, the insults, sometimes even the physical abuse.”
All of this was reported, not by such “hawkish” outlets as Fox News, but by the undisputed house organ of the mainstream media, the New York Times.
In actuality, Blumenthal’s service record during the Vietnam era was that of a Marine Reservist (after his five college deferments ran out) stationed in Washington where he labored on the Toys for Tots drive. The closest he got to any shooting was on the Marine Corp firing range at Paris Island, where he went through basic training.
All of these claims could have been largely forgotten if not for the blow-back from Blumenthal’s grandstanding with regard to Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch.
Promising to subject the nominee to “extreme vetting,” and calling on his Senate colleagues to do likewise, Blumenthal is now, in turn, subject to his own extreme vetting by those who actually served in Vietnam and were highly decorated for it.
In an open letter published in the Washington Examiner, 14 medal of honor recipients, the highest honor bestowed on soldiers, have called Blumenthal to account for his hypocrisy toward the judge.
They write that congressional concerns about a nominee to the highest court in the land are “honest and legitimate,” but that Blumenthal, by example, does not deserve to express them.
By promising to take Gorsuch to the woodshed, Blumenthal, they assert, has opened the door to his lying about catching flak with those like the letter-writers in Vietnam.
“We are veterans of the Vietnam War. We fought alongside our brothers in arms, many of whom died or were gravely injured there. We saw the treatment meted out on us and our fellow military personnel upon our return, yet we never questioned our commitment to our nation’s freedom. But perhaps more relevant to this discussion is that we know you were not there with us,” they write.
Expressing clear anger, they continued, “What is offensive to those who fought in a most brutal conflict, some of us who were captured and tortured by our enemy, is any comparison of those most brutal experiences to the ones of people like you who never even sniffed the air in Vietnam.”
They added, “The fact you repeatedly and consistently claimed to have served in Vietnam is a gross case of stolen valor in our opinion,” they write. “You obtained at least five military deferments between 1965 and 1970, at least two of which were seemingly political favors to you so that you could avoid joining us in a war zone,” they write.
Nor do they allow Blumenthal the excuse common to politicians of exaggerating any and all things of their biography to get votes.
They write, “you chose to deceitfully and craftily join” the ranks of “many brave souls who endured the hardships of wars with your intentionally vague statements and false claims.”
“Quite simply, it is impossible to ‘misspeak’ about having seen a war,” they add.
The 14 veterans did allow that Blumenthal’s service, conveniently located in Washington, should nevertheless give the senator some pride. But so egregious are the senator’s lies and deceits that he should recuse himself from questioning Gorsuch, said the veterans.
“If you ever had a sense of duty, if ever you respected the service and sacrifice of others, then please recognize your duty now: Sen. Blumenthal, ‘take your seat!’”, they write.
There is one thing about wishing you had carried arms when it is campaign season and there are veterans in the audience. Bill Clinton, when speaking to liberal audiences advertised his anti-Vietnam campaigning, but when the audience was wider during his 1992 presidential campaign he stated he wished he had fought in Vietnam.
But for all his cynicism and lip-biting corruption, Clinton never claimed to have shouldered arms in the Vietnam War.
Blumenthal has, and by comparison, makes Clinton look like Honest Abe. Whenever he has needed political mileage, Blumenthal has lied about his service record. Worse, he has gone the full route from bloodied soldier fired upon by the Vietcong to returning veteran spat upon by war protesters.
The 14 veterans are correct when they say that Blumenthal has no moral authority to vet Gorsuch. Based on Blumenthal’s history of lying for political mileage, it could even be argued that the senator’s “concerns” about Gorsuch are nothing more than his usual insincere grandstanding.