by user AYD
For as long as I can remember (say maybe the last 23 or so years) the Republicans have been the party of favor in the military. The perception was that Republicans had the best interests of America's troops in mind and Democrats always wanted to cut spending for the military. There was some grain of truth, especially during the Reagan years, to the notion that Democrats wanted to cut military spending which was, after all, enormous. Today, America is at war in the streets of Afghanistan and Iraq and the Republican party is portraying themselves as the party of national defense and homeland security.
However, the party that is all too eager to send our youth to war reacts violently when those same troops come back. In the current election cycle the Democrats have done an excellent job recruiting military veterans to run for multiple seats in Congress. The list includes Iraq war veterans Tammy Duckworth, Patrick Murphy, Joe Sestak, and Charlie Brown. Overall, there are more than 30 military veterans running for Congress as Democrats this cycle.
In response to so many military veterans running for office as Democrats, Republicans have taken to attacking the military service of these Democrat veterans. Like they did to John Kerry and Max Cleland, the Republicans have questioned the loyalty of these military veterans for the simple reason that they disagree with the Republican platform. Jean Schmidt attacked John Murtha from the floor of the House of Representatives, Representative Mike Fitzpatrick, in a battle for his political life, stood by silently as his political hacks questioned the service of Patrick Murphy. Senator Jim Talent attacked disabled veteran Josh Lansdale solely because he supports Democratic Senate nominee Claire McCaskill. And perhaps most reprehensible, Republican candidate Peter Roskam accused Duckworth, who lost both her legs fighting for her country in Iraq, of wanting to "cut and run."
These types of attacks on veterans are sickening and should not be tolerated. One can only imagine what would happen if a democrat who never served in the military a day in his life, were to question the military service of a Republican. The papers would go crazy, and the switchboard would light up all over rightwing radio. Imagine, for example, if someone were to question John McCain's military service, saying that he was never really a prisoner of war or that even if he was a prisoner of war he has greatly exaggerated the condition of his captivity. It would not be tolerated.
I bring up John McCain because I think it should be noted how silent John McCain has been while his fellow veterans have had their service questioned. What self respecting military veteran stands by silently while people we never served a day in their life attack a veterans military record? Veterans should be speaking out and not clamming up because "all's fair in politics." Veterans should be treated with respect regardless of what political party they are from. When I worked in Washington support for Veterans was one of the only true bipartisan issue there was. Who in their right mind doesn't support someone who sacrificed for this country? The answer, apparently, is endangered Republicans.
Charlie Brown, Joe Sestak, Patrick Murphy, Tammy Duckworth and countless other Democrats served out nation honorably. They saw people die fighting for our nation's flag. Yet when they come back home their honorable military service is questioned solely because of their political affiliation. Military veterans should be speaking loud and clear on this issue. Whether Republican or Democrat, the message must be enforced. We will not slander our nations fighting men and woman to score cheap political points.