Coulter on Cleland
I’ve been avoiding Ann Coulter of late, but her latest column is pretty amusing.
Former Sen. Max Cleland is the Democrats’ designated hysteric about George Bush’s National Guard service. *** Bush’s National Guard service is the most thoroughly investigated event since the Kennedy assassination. But the Democrats will accept only two possible conclusions to their baseless accusations: (1) Bush was “AWOL,” or (2) the matter needs further investigation.
On “Hardball” Monday night, Cleland demanded to see Bush’s pay stubs for the disputed period of time, May 1972 to May 1973. “If he was getting paid for his weekend warrior work,” Cleland said, “he should have some pay stubs to show it.”
The next day, the White House produced the pay stubs. This confirmed what has been confirmed 1 million times before: After taking the summer off, Bush reported for duty nine times between Nov. 29, 1972, and May 24, 1973 Ã¢€” more than enough times to fulfill his Guard duties. (And nine times more than Bill Clinton, Barney Frank or Chuck Schumer did during the same period.)
When Bush left the National Guard in 1973 to go to business school, the war was over. *** To put this in perspective, by 1973, John Kerry had already accused American soldiers of committing war crimes in Vietnam, thrown someone else’s medals to the ground in an anti-war demonstration, and married his first heiress. Bill Clinton had just finished three years of law school and was about to embark upon a political career Ã¢€” which would include campaign events with Max Cleland.
The remainder of the column is rather unnerving, making some arguments about the nature of Cleland’s war wounds that I’ve not seen elsewhere. I’d be interested in finding out more on this issue. It’s either libel of the highest order or some crack investigative reporting.
Update: Coulter’s basic story checks out: The Macon Telegraph | 11/01/2002:
A month before his Vietnam tour was up in 1968, Cleland stooped to pick up a grenade he thought had fallen off his belt as he jumped from a helicopter. It detonated, and he was left with one arm and no legs.
Clearly, this is a tragic accident rather than, say, diving on a grenade to save one’s buddies, or even being similarly wounded by a grenade thrown by an advancing enemy. Those who were outraged by Cleland’s defeat in the last election certainly made the circumstances of this tragedy sound more heroic.
Still, Coulter makes it sound like he received this injuries through the equivalent of accidentally dropping one’s grenade on one’s foot during a training exercise. One is certainly less likely to find live grenades lying around Fort Dix than in Vietnam.