Who's "swiftboating" Who?
xThis entry was my response to an e-mail from a friend that I call Bobby. He received it and commented on it, then forwarded it along to me via a list-serve. It related directly to a piece posted here at VetSpeak Blog on 6/16, which had also emanated from a list-serve mailing...different list, same theme; seemed worth adding my two cents, and sharing here for your consideration and comment. WH
My response to Bobby, et al:
NOTE: This is not a pro or con that favors either candidate type of response. Personally, I don't really "trust" either Obama, or McCain, and I sure don't trust the Democratic or the Republican party and their unaccountable 527s, political operatives, and rhetorical lackeys...however, I sure ain't throwing my hard-fought-for vote away on Ron Paul or Ralph Nader. My response is intended as a pro respectful and civil American political values and debate type response, as far as I am concerned. And, I hope that it is the issues that bode the best for America's future, as perceived by the majority of the American electorate, regardless of their party affiliation, and not the spin of political hacks, which will prevail in the upcoming election.
I'm not sure about how I personally feel about either of these guys, but I don't question either of theirs' patriotism, or personal character...only their political agendas as presidential candidates...and I have serious questions regarding them both as such, at this point in the campaign cycle. I take serious issue with your statement that we should "...stand firm and not back down to right-wing whining that Clark is Swiftboating McCain. Frankly, I personally did not see nor listen to what General Clark said on Face the Nation, that I will check into. Suffice it to say, that I (myself) personally am not beyond swiftboating if it means winning - THAT'S THE AMERICAN WAY TO WIN AT ALL COSTS!..."
It ain't just right wing whinin', Bobby; I refer you to this recent VetSpeak Blogsite posting, entitled Re: From Glory Boy to POW Songbird. It was in response to an article posted at Counterpunch.org and was forwarded to me on a list-serve. The Counterpunch's poorly documented, not-so-swift-vet (Swift Boat Vets, et al) 527 like piece, disrespectfully, and without credible evidence, implies that McCain was a "collaborator" with the enemy in Vietnam, while he was a POW. A Presidential candidate's patriotism and military service in Vietnam under fire, by wing-nuts from the political extreme Right...remind you of anyone?
As to Clark placing his foot square in his mouth, rhetorically speaking; I guess you hadda see it and hear it (as you state that you didn't), to really register the offensiveness of it. It might have tempered your argument, if you had. I did see it and hear it...and from my perspective, it was a disgraceful statement to come from a retired general officer, regarding the service of a brother officer. Even Bob Schieffer, the host of the show, who is a well respected and credible journalist, and who ain't no lackey of either the Right or the Left, was audibly and visibly taken back by it, as Clark spoke these disgraceful and disrespectful words on Schieffer's Sunday morning news show, Face The Nation.
To Obama's credit, he has disavowed Clark's inane analysis; http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-general/20080630/McCain.Clark/. Now, that, in my opinion, was an honorable act, unlike the delivery and nature of the comments by Clark, that spawned it in the first place.
By way of keeping an eye on the ball; I would remind you that McCain has been a primary target of the Swift Boats (not-so-swift-vets) and their clones ever since he served on the POW/MIA Senate Committee regarding POWs with John Kerry. He became a target because their positions on the volatile issue were compatible, reaching across party lines to resolve this then contentious national issue. An issue that lingered long after the end of American involvement in Vietnam.
Out in the blog-o-sphere, Joe Lieberman has been mentioned as being on the Gathering of Eagles' (Swift Boat clone group) Board of Directors. In the real world, Bush himself has actually signed on with Rolling Thunder (also a swiftie clone group). I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find some similar connections to the not-so-swift-vets as it applies to Clark. But, that's just me. I don't care who you support...Obama or McCain...it's your choice to make; but, one's personal participation in the process should never be at the expense of someone else's personal honor, as a result of political spin and innuendo, rather than on facts, on behalf of any candidate or ideal, from any party.
Personally, I think that Clark owes not only John McCain an apology, but the rest of us voters one, as well; for insulting our intelligence, and in such a condescending manner! This is a position that even the otherwise intellectually and politically unfathomable Obama agrees with, according to today's internet news. I hope that you will reconsider your position on this, Bobby. It has clouded my eyes to your usually spot-on pragmatism and objectivity on these matters.
Lastly, I was knocked over by your statement that you weren't "... personally ...beyond swiftboating if it means winning - THAT'S THE AMERICAN WAY TO WIN AT ALL COSTS! ..." I am disappointed at this new political turn that your writings seem to have taken, since in the past you have openly supported Constitutionally framed democratic principles, and have recently stated your support for Obama, who apparently has resoundingly rejected Clark's perspective. I can't imagine Obama appreciating this kind of "help" in his quest, considering that he is campaigning as THE candidate of CHANGE. And, to me, this swiftboating kind of rhetoric is simply the same ol' s*** warmed over from the last presidential election...maybe even by the some of the same cooks.
I am hoping that Obama's kind of change is the kind of change that truly embraces the unity of thinking and values of the American people, and not the divisiveness inherent in political operatives and handlers. Demonstrating thereby to the American people, that his campaign is not just some more of the not-so-swift-s*** of the last presidential campaign, when the not-so-swift-vets (they were ultimately fined $300,000 by the FEC for illegal campaign practices) distracted the American People from the real issues, by rhetorically and politically assassinating John Kerry.
This is not all about either McCain, or Obama; it is about Truth and the Constitution...and Honor.
Personally, I don't give a rat's ass for Clark, or for most general and field grade officers, for that matter...but I do respect his service to his country, even as strongly as we disagree politically. Too bad he can't do the same for his fellow officers; whether they be Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, or Airmen, so long as they have actively engaged in battle with our country's enemies.