Oh, those crazy right-wingers. They blast you as unpatriotic if you're not a war-monger - but when you actually fight and sacrifice in a war, they try to denigrate you and your service. One of the best examples of this was what Republican Saxby Chambliss did in challenging Democrat Sen. Max Cleland the late stages of Cleland's 2002 re-election bid.
Chambliss, who got student deferments during the Vietnam War, put up a TV ad juxtaposing Vietnam War hero Cleland - who was ahead in the polls - next to the images Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein while criticizing the vet's votes on homeland security. In fact, Cleland, who had a Master's degree from Emory University, joined the Army, achieving the rank of Captain. He received the Silver Star and the Bronze Star for valor in combat during the Battle of Khe Sanh on April 4, 1968. But four days later, with a month left on his tour of duty, Cleland's legs and forearm were shredded by a hand grenade. Republican Vietnam vets John McCain and Chuck Hagel protested Chambliss' ad, which was subsequently taken down. But the damage was done: Cleland lost to Chambliss 53-46.
GOP Rep. Joe Walsh and Democratic opponent Tammy Duckworth (Photo composite via Think Progress)
Now Republican Rep. Joe Walsh is trying something similar against Democratic opponent Tammy Duckworth, in their Illinois contest. Like Chambliss, Walsh has no military experience but feels qualified to scoff at Duckworth's military service and sacrifice. Think Progress points out that Duckworth is "a double amputee who lost both her legs in Iraq when insurgents hit her helicopter with an RPG in 2004.... Duckworth chose to become a helicopter pilot because few other combat roles are open to women. She has served for more than 20 years, earning the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and receiving multiple military awards, including a Purple Heart, an Air Medal, and an Army Commendation Medal."
But Joe Walsh finds talking about such heroism galling. More after the break.