Bring it On, Indeed
Said Max Cleland today: “For Saxby Chambliss, who got out of going to Vietnam because of a trick knee, to attack John Kerry as weak on the defense of our nation is like a mackerel in the moonlight that both shines and stinks.”
Brad DeLong adds:
When I knew him in the Clinton administration, Max Cleland was not an especially partisan guy. I guess being told you are the next thing to a communist because you didn’t lose all four limbs in Vietnam will change someone.
I don’t get it. Putting on the uniform and getting shot at ought to earn a certain measure of respect–even if you come back home and dishonor your former comrades by insinuating they are all baby killing war criminals. But being a veteran does not entitle someone to a stack of Get Out of Jail Free cards.
Politics, it has been said, ain’t beanbag. John Kerry and Max Cleland chose to enter that arena. At what point does their voting record as 50-somethings become more relevant in assessing their national security record than their service as junior officers?
Are we really going to take the juvenile position that only people who have earned a Silver Star or higher get to talk about national security issues? And that whatever they say is, by definition, right because they once got shot at? If so, what if they disagree? How can they conduct a debate, since they are all, by definition, right?