I haven’t really gone into this because, well, politicians do lie. (They’re professional liars.)

But also because the really offensive lie in this story, to me, is the “Vietnam vets were spat on” part of the story. That sort of thing just didn’t happen, and I get angry when people repeat it. Several times, reporters have done comprehensive searches of the news databases from that era, and no one’s ever been able to find anything even remotely like it.

So why the multitude of claims from vets that it happened? I’d guess it’s projection. An awful lot of these guys came home with a deep sense of guilt and shame over war atrocities, but this was hardly the culture where warriors could come home and truthfully unload the horrors of what they’d done in our name. (Look what happened to the soldiers who testified at the Winter Soldier hearing – including John Kerry, who’s still attacked for it.)

An old friend is a V.A. shrink who told me it’s pretty common for vets to deal with their shame by 1) completely denying and repressing the incidents that caused it and 2) fiercely attacking other vets who try to be honest about war atrocities. They’ve created a version of what happened they can live with, and they’re really, really angry if other vets disturb that delicate balance. Hence, the Swift Boat vets.

So they project, and they imagine another life for themselves because they one they have is too painful.

In Blumenthal’s case, Michael Eric Dyson had something interesting to say about it last night on “Real Time”. He was responding to Bill Maher’s disdainful comment that Blumenthal wasn’t at war, he was “only” in charge of the local Toys for Tots program.

Dyson said, “Why is being at war the only true test of manhood?”

That’s a question we should ask ourselves, and our politicians, every single day. Maybe we wouldn’t be destroying as many people.

6 thoughts on “Blumenthal

  1. Fox created this Blumenthal “scandal” by taking his comment out of context from a talk Blumenthal gave. First, Blumenthal gave a CORRECT account of his service; then he misspoke. His audience KNEW he misspoke because they heard the correct part first. FOX took it out of context.
    How would you like a post cherry-picked for clauses that could support the other side?
    Let’s quit relying on Fox for news – OK???

  2. Even more disgusting is CNN reporter Rich Sanchezwho said that only the mis-speaking was news – the earlier correct statement was not! I guess he could not stand to have his sensational story dampened by showing he was a Fox tool!
    Of course, the NYT repeated the one-sided story, as did other “respected” news stenos!
    Happy campaign season!

  3. You mentioned what happened to the Winter Soldiers of Kerry’s day. What happened to the Winter Soldiers of Iraq and Afghanistan? They’ve been largely ignored. So much for the press in general, and our legislators, all of whom were apprised of these testimonies and invited to attend them, as well as the lack of cohesion of the opposition to the invasions.

    I’ve met some of these new Winter Soldiers and heard their testimonies, and the pain, not only of what they were induced to do to Afghani and Iraqi people, but of ‘telling on’ their fellow soldiers, was palpable.

  4. Latching on to the misstatement is bogus however Blumenthal did everything in his power to avoid serving in Vietnam and most likely used his DC connections to secure a spot in the Marine reserves. Since 9/11 Blumenthal has talked up his service as if he volunteered as soon as he turned 18. Reminds me of one W. Bush.

  5. It may not be as wide-spread a practice as some report, but I know someone who was spat upon when he returned.

  6. According to reporters who have covered Blumenthal during his political career in Connecticut, he has not been heard to make the kind of phrase used in the one tape the oppo research dug up.

    More than one reporter has said that, while not covering each and every appearance, but having Blumenthal as a big part of their politicial coverage, they have neve heard him say he served in Vietnam.

    They do say, however, that he has never missed a funeral for a soldier killed in the wars during his CT office holding years, that he meets returning troops, and has been a very strong supporter of the rights and needs of returning troops.

    I have no dog in this fight–I live in NJ, but get Tri-State coverage.

    It struck me that, sometimes, people fall into shorthand for saying things they’ve repeated frequently. Such as, instead of telling someone all the schools the person attended while getting a college degree, they use the last school, the one from which they graduated. Maybe, over time, in conversation, the other schools come up, but in a semi-formal situation, where the school attended is not the main point of the discussion or, say, speech, the one is mentioned in passing. Perhaps, and possibly because of a deep emotional connection to the people serving in both yestertyears’ and today’s wars, the first person plural was used by Blumenthal, based on identifying with their needs which he has worked hard to make sure are met, instead of adding in a phrase about serving stateside during Vietnam, but not actually serving in Vietnam.

    I can think of times I’ve used the first person singular to speak of something done with my family or a friend, when, to be accurate, there were others doing the same thing and I most accurately should have used a plural pronoun. I can also think of times when I was trying elide some connection and used one pronoun instead of a more accurate one….

    My point is that those who have covered Blumenthal have said that he has said publicly, over and over, over the years, that he did not serve in Vietnam, but did serve in the Marine Reserves. The reporters who said this also said they had not heard him say or intimate he was in Vietnam.

    Also, one reporter said that Blumenthal said that he simply called the Marines to ask about the reserves, and there was an opening, if not several. Apparently, the Marine Reserves were not as popular to get into, but that was a surmise by the reporter. It was suggested this could be fairly easily checked with the Marine Corps, but I haven’t heard anything since then about that.

    It does seem that Dems are more liable to be held to a higher standard than Repubs, who at the time were usually very supportive of the Vietnam War. Mark Shields, for examply, is very, very upset that anyone would let the idea be possible that he or she had served in action when they had not.

    Then again, I know of people who served in WWII, but did not get into action who say they served in WWII. Anyone here have recollections of people who did not specify in discussions that they served on the homefront or back of the lines in WWII? I believe that women who were not permitted to serve on the front are now considered to have “served” in WWII, no? I could be wrong.

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