Mr. Blumenthal has some explaining to do!
At a news conference yesterday, he admitted he had “misspoken a few times” in the past about his military service.
“Misspoken” a few times indeed!
For several years, he has both said, and allowed to be publicized, that he served in Viet Nam. Yet the truth is he was never anywhere near there. It was a fabrication the first time he said it, and it’s still a fabrication today.
He talked about a few misstated words as if this was just small potatoes- nothing big enough to cause the ruckus he, himself, has created. He said he was not going to let anyone impugn his record, just because he lied about having served in Viet Nam.
Mr. Blumenthal’s record of service to veterans is indeed admirable. Time and time again he has been there for vets, and as a vet myself, I applaud him. But that does not mean that I can condone the lie he told and continued to tell for several years.
Why would he say he was there when he wasn’t? What did he expect it to accomplish? Give him hero status, perhaps?
He served honorably in the Marine Corps Reserve for six years. He received an honorable discharge when his service ended. Wasn’t that enough?
During the Viet Nam era millions of men and women served in the various branches of the military. I was one of them. I never went to Viet Nam during my six year hitch in the Air Force. Like the millions of others who were “in” during that time, I’m proud of my military record. My Honorable Discharge hangs on my office wall. I display it with pride, because I earned it. The fact that I never was in ‘Nam doesn’t mean I served America less honorably than those who were there.
The fact is just a small percentage of service people went to Viet Nam, when compared to the millions who donned uniforms during that time.
In reality, the Viet Nam era was NOT a good time to be in the military. Thanks to distorted media coverage, our troops were often portrayed as vicious killers, even “baby killers’! Anti-war protests broke out all over the country, draft cards were burned, our flag desecrated, and anti-war cowards fled to Canada, rather than serve their country.
Many who served in Viet Nam have been scarred for life by their experiences over there. If they made it home in some way other than in a body bag, they were spit upon, despised, and publicly humiliated by many of their countrymen.
Most of the returning veterans who experienced combat didn’t want to talk about it when they came home, nor do they wish to do so today, some 35 years after the war ended.
So why would Mr. Blumenthal want it to be known that he served over there? Is it because there’s a somewhat different attitude toward our troops today? Unlike the Viet Nam era, we see thousands of cars with “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers. Millions oppose the two wars we’re engaged in, yet more millions support them.
Some folks even call our troops patriots today. Maybe that was Mr. Blumenthal’s motivation. Maybe he just wanted to be known as a patriot. If that’s the case, he needn’t have bothered, because he already WAS a patriot. He didn’t need to lie to get there.
In claiming he served in Viet Nam, Mr. Blumenthal has done a great disservice to the hundreds of thousands who did serve there, and an even greater disservice to the more than 58,000 men and women who gave their lives over there. He has not only discredited their memory, he has re-awakened a lot of the agony that was Viet Nam.
To claim several times he had served in Viet Nam, then casually say these were “a few misplaced words” is not enough! This man wants us to send him to the Senate. He wants us to TRUST him. But he has betrayed that trust on several occasions already.
Perhaps he is now relying on the well-known American tendency to be forgiving. He may, in fact, get that forgiveness, but not before he does some real explaining. “I misspoke” just won’t cut it any more.