Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Exaggerating military service for political gain

Around the milblogs, the scorn has been free flowing for Connecticut AG and Senate candidate Dick Blumenthal. Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive says this is a terminal screw up,John at This Ain't Hell points out that 5 deferments would be enough to sink any Republican candidate regardless of whether or not he lied about serving in Vietnam, and Greyhawk at the Mudville Gazette points out the irony of a man who lied about serving overseas held his defense press conference at a VFW post, that being Veterans of Foreign Wars.

But the most interesting piece I read today was from someone who is neither a conservative nor a veteran.  Marc Ambinder in The Atlantic says this-

Blumenthal is correct that no one can control the articles that are printed about him. But surely this is a misdirection. Ambitious politicians have teams of communications professionals devoted to shaping, manipulating and repairing their public images. It is undoubtedly clear that Blumenthal sought out the identity of a Vietnam veteran, wrapped himself in that cloak, and used it to perpetuate his power. Even if he did not intend to mislead voters about his service, it is incumbent upon him to make sure that he did not use his position to perpetuate a myth that enhanced said power. To me, that DOES make him responsible for being accurate about his service record and going out of his way to correct the perceptional.

My question then is when will anyone take Rep Tim Walz to task for his own exaggeration of his military record?  Just like Blumenthal, Walz did serve, and even deployed overseas.  But Walz never served in a combat zone, nor did he ever get close.  To this day Walz still uses misleading language on his website to give readers the perception that he served in Afghanistan.

And Walz never made an effort to correct the media assertion that he is a combat vet, which is exactly what Ambinder is critical of Blumenthal for.

From MPR on election day 2006-

Walz was a high school teacher and football coach. He is also a command sergeant major in the Army National Guard. He served in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. Like many Democrats, Walz latched onto the call for change in government. He paired that with a grassroots campaign by a political outsider.

 From Sourcewatch-

"Walz was born in West Point, Nebraska in 1964. When he was 17 he joined the Army National Guard and served for the next 24 years including in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan." Sourcewatch article dated March 12, 2009.

From VoteVets, a group dedicated to electing liberal vets to Congress-

Last year, with your help, VoteVets.org made history. Because of your support, four candidates who served during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were elected to Congress with high hopes, and they have not disappointed. Congressmen Patrick Murphy, Joe Sestak, Tim Walz, and Chris Carney have become strong leaders in the House of Representatives, and are giving a heavy dose of reality about what is, and what is not, supporting the troops.
Imagine, for a moment, if we had more like them. Think about how the debate would change if more Iraq and Afghanistan veterans were able to take to the floor, and the credibility that would add to criticisms of the president's failed policy in Iraq.

From the Wall Street Journal in 2006-

"Tim Walz (D) represents the 1st Congressional District of Minnesota, MN-01. A military veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he is one of the Fighting Dems. The March 30, 2006 issue of the Wall Street Journal (p. A4) called Walz THE Republican nightmare in the 1st. The authors of the piece go on to state that, "Here in the First District, Tim Walz, the high-school teacher and coach and ringer for Speaker Hastert, has the Democratic field to himself. A retired master sergeant in the Army National Guard, he served overseas during the early war in Afghanistan.

Walz also failed to correct Chris Matthews on Hardball when Matthews called him a combat veteran-

Walz still has the misleading line on his website, 'served in support of Operation Enduring Freedom'. 

And after 2 1/2 years of asking, neither Rep Walz, his staff, or any liberal blogger have been able to explain to me why Walz claimed to be an 'Enduring Freedom Veteran" back in 2004 in this picture-

When will Tim Walz's time in the national spotlight come for his exaggerations of his military record?


Andrew Engen said...

How on earth is Walz claiming to be an Enduring Freedom vet? Are you aware of how we write and read signs in this society?

Dave Thul said...

"Enduring Freedom...That's Afghanistan".

So said Congressman Walz himself in June 2006. If Walz was trying to convey on his sign that he was a Veteran for Kerry, why include "Enduring Freedom"?

The answer is that there is no reason to include those words unless you are trying to make someone think that you are an Afghanistan Veteran for John Kerry.