They. Just. Don't. Get. It.

What IS it about the Democrats that they can’t seem to disagree with Republican presidents without attacking the military?

Let’s start with John Kerry. After his abbreviated tour of duty inViet Nam, he leveraged his medals (and Boston Brahmin status and accent) to gain a leadership position in the anti-war movement. And from there, he used it to give very undeserved credibility to the absolutely bogus allegations of wholesale atrocities:

“They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country….”

So, Kerry — along with many of his comrades — decided the best way to get the Nixon administration to change its war policies was to smear the troops whose solemn oaths compelled them to carry out his orders. And since it seemed to work, it’s become an unwritten rule in Democratic politics.

Then there’s Hillary Clinton. Most of us had a good laugh at her “landing in Tuzla under sniper fire” fabrication, but one person who didn’t laugh was retired Army Colonel David Hunt. Hunt is best known as a Fox News military analyst, author, and occasional fill-in host for talk show host Howie Carr, but during the course of his 29 years in the Army, he happened to be in charge of security in Tuzla when then First Lady Hillary Clinton (along with First Daughter Chelsea and entertainers Sinbad and Sheryl Crowe) came calling.

Hunt pointed out that for Hillary Clinton to say that she and her entourage came under sniper fire on that trip was nothing less than a gross insult to the US military and the Secret Service, to imply — no, explicitly state — that those people charged with the safety of their guests would let them land and deplane under sniper fire. Both the military and the Secret Service take great pride in their non-partisan professionalism, not allowing their personal opinions affect in any way their performance of their duties, and Hillary’s lies were based on an absolutely despicable charge of incompetence and/or willful neglect by those two groups.

When General Petraeus was called before Congress to testify, most of the Democrats didn’t seem interested in what he had to say. Several of them issued their statements before he said word one before them, and most of them used their opportunity to ask him questions to grandstand against the Bush administration. This highly-decorated, highly-capable, and deeply honorable man was treated as an excuse for grandstanding, and accused (both implicitly and explicitly) of deeply dishonorable things. (“General Betray-Us,” anyone?)

Now, most recently, we have good old Senator Jay Rockefeller. You might remember him from his tour of Mideast countries where he warned that a US attack on Iraq was imminent. He knew this was true, because he sat on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Or you might recall him from the list of the richest Senators — he’s usually somewhere in the top five.

Well, he’s on the Obama bandwagon now, and somehow got the idea into his head that he should attack John McCain. And what better way than to assail the foundation of McCain’s lifetime of public service, his career in the Navy?

“McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit. What happened when they [the missiles] get to the ground? He doesn’t know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues.”

Way to go, Senator. Instead of going after McCain for his personal failings (and they are legion), why not just smear every single American service man and service woman who’s ever strapped on a jet while wearing a uniform? And if that isn’t enough, why not display your ignorance of the military and completely make up shit?

McCain was an attack pilot, not a fighter pilot. He dropped his bombs from low altitude — the better to hit the target and NOT hit civilians. Laser-guided weapons — which let the pilots be even more precise from greater distances — were still years away from deployment when McCain was shot down on one of those low-level bombing runs. And he spent several years as a “guest” of those people who were on the ground he was trying to bomb, so he knows quite well what happened when his bombs hit the ground.

Like I said, I just don’t get it. This isn’t just a willingness to slam the military in the interests in politics. It’s more like an expansion of “shooting the messenger.” The Democrats seem almost eager to attack the military as a short-cut to going after Republicans.

Yes, there are Republicans who wrap themselves in the flag, who choose to hide behind the military in some form or another, and they are to be despised. (I remember one particularly biting remark — I think it was Molly Ivins — who commented about the first President Bush’s support for a Constitutional amendment against flag-burning: “You’d be worried, too, about flag burning if you wrapped yourself in it that much.”) But that’s no excuse for those who use the political equivalent of a shotgun and fire indiscriminately at their opponents, and don’t care if the military gets hit by any stray rounds.

Politicians like Kerry, Clinton, Rockefeller, or numerous other leading Democrats.

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