It was time that a Republican veteran called the party out on its "swift-boating" tactics. Not only because it's just plain wrong ethically, but also because the long-term ramifications of denegrating someone's military service aren't something that a so-called "pro-military" party can sustain without looking like rampant hypocrites. (Personally, for my money, they passed that point a long time ago, but I know a few kool-aid drinking veterans who are just now catching on...)
In today's NYTimes, James Webb, former Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan Administration and former Marine platoon and company commander in Vietnam, calls the attacks on Jack Murtha for what they are: a baseless political smear, coordinated by a group with deep ties to the far right of the GOP.
And he calls those behind the attacks for what they are as well:
The political tactic of playing up the soldiers on the battlefield while tearing down the reputations of veterans who oppose them could eventually cost the Republicans dearly. It may be one reason that a preponderance of the Iraq war veterans who thus far have decided to run for office are doing so as Democrats.Republicans don't get to say they are for veterans, while simultaneously attacking any vet who criticizes them, firing those military personnel who dare to put their men's safety ahead of the political expediency of the moment, by cutting veteran's benefits, and decimating the reserves and national guard through piss poor planning decisions.
A young American now serving in Iraq might rightly wonder whether his or her service will be deliberately misconstrued 20 years from now, in the next rendition of politically motivated spinmeisters who never had the courage to step forward and put their own lives on the line.
The jerks who wore those purple heart band-aids at the Republican convention in 2004 are a prime example of what is wrong in the GOP these days: all PR, no action, no thought, no follow-through. Kudos to James Webb for calling it like it is.
(Hat tip to DKos for the link.)