At a ceremony honoring veterans and senior citizens who sent presents to soldiers overseas, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut rose and spoke of an earlier time in his life.Is this how the Democrats research their candidates? The guy was CT AG - and this is only discovered now? CT Republican opposition reasearch head should be fired for not finding this out earlier ... especially with the long record of false claims over the years by others.
“We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” Mr. Blumenthal said to the group gathered in Norwalk in March 2008.
There was one problem: Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for the United States Senate, never served in Vietnam. He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records.
The deferments allowed Mr. Blumenthal to complete his studies at Harvard; pursue a graduate fellowship in England; serve as a special assistant to The Washington Post’s publisher, Katharine Graham; and ultimately take a job in the Nixon White House.
In 1970, with his last deferment in jeopardy, he landed a coveted spot in the Marine Reserve, which virtually guaranteed that he would not be sent to Vietnam. He joined a unit in Washington that conducted drills and other exercises and focused on local projects, like fixing a campground and organizing a Toys for Tots drive.
Maybe the political parties need to hire more people, ahem, with a military record to help them figure this stuff out.
...what is striking about Mr. Blumenthal’s record is the contrast between the many steps he took that allowed him to avoid Vietnam, and the misleading way he often speaks about that period of his life now, especially when he is speaking at veterans’ ceremonies or other patriotic events.Once again - none of this should be a shock. Read B.G. Burkett & Glenna Whitley's Stolen Valor : How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of Its Heroes and Its History.
Sometimes his remarks have been plainly untrue, as in his speech to the group in Norwalk. At other times, he has used more ambiguous language, but the impression left on audiences can be similar.
In an interview on Monday, the attorney general said that he had misspoken about his service during the Norwalk event and might have misspoken on other occasions. “My intention has always been to be completely clear and accurate and straightforward, out of respect to the veterans who served in Vietnam,” he said.
But an examination of his remarks at the ceremonies shows that he does not volunteer that his service never took him overseas. And he describes the hostile reaction directed at veterans coming back from Vietnam, intimating that he was among them.
In 2003, he addressed a rally in Bridgeport, where about 100 military families gathered to express support for American troops overseas. “When we returned, we saw nothing like this,” Mr. Blumenthal said. “Let us do better by this generation of men and women.”
In at least eight newspaper articles published in Connecticut from 2003 to 2009, he is described as having served in Vietnam.
The New Haven Register on July 20, 2006, described him as “a veteran of the Vietnam War,” and on April 6, 2007, said that the attorney general had “served in the Marines in Vietnam.” On May 26, 2009, The Connecticut Post, a Bridgeport newspaper that is the state’s third-largest daily, described Mr. Blumenthal as “a Vietnam veteran.” The Shelton Weekly reported on May 23, 2008, that Mr. Blumenthal “was met with applause when he spoke about his experience as a Marine sergeant in Vietnam.”
And the idea that he served in Vietnam has become such an accepted part of his public biography that when a national outlet, Slate magazine, produced a profile of Mr. Blumenthal in 2000, it said he had “enlisted in the Marines rather than duck the Vietnam draft.”
It does not appear that Mr. Blumenthal ever sought to correct those mistakes.
Asked about the Bridgeport rally, when he told the crowd, “When we returned, we saw nothing like this,” Mr. Blumenthal said he did not recall the event.
Here is the sad part. There is nothing wrong with saying that "After many deferrments, I joined the USMCR and served stateside while many of my generation served honorably overseas .... " and so on. Serving is serving - and even in a well protected USMCR status, he was a Marine and served his country more than 90% of his peers. There. Is. No. Shame. There is only shame when you try to make yourself out to be more than you were.
Understanding and coming to terms with the decisions you made in your youth that in hindsight you may not agree with is fine - and the sign of a secure and mature mind. The great author and Southern Gentleman Pat Conroy I think said it quite well. No one thinks less of him in 2010.
Mr. Blumenthal - it is time to go. It is the honorable thing to do. Let another Democrat run for the office if there is still time.
You will not be able to stand on the same stage in a debate with your Republican challenger, Rob Simmons;
Rob’s public service career began when he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1965 as a Private, and spent 19 months in Vietnam where he earned two Bronze Star Medals. Rob continued his military service in the U.S. Army Reserve as a Military Intelligence Officer, retiring as a Colonel in 2003 with over 37 years of active and reserve service.Unless the NYT's story is a total fabrication - which being that you are a (D) from CT and we are talking about the NYT here I doubt it - then fade back with some honor intact - don't double down. This is 2010 - the story if it has teeth to it won't die - milblogs won't let it, and we don't do nuance.
He is past commander of the 434th Military Intelligence (MI) Detachment New Haven, CT, which won the Reserve Officers Association’s Outstanding Small Unit Award in 1996. In 1998, Rob was recognized by for his contributions to the Military Intelligence Corps with the Knowlton Award for "Integrity, Moral Character, Professional Competence and Selflessness.”
Following his active duty service in the Army, Rob joined the Central Intelligence Agency, working as an Operations Officer for a decade, including five years on assignment overseas in East Asia where he participated in difficult and dangerous missions to protect America’s national security.
UPDATE Well - you can't spin this Shipmate.
UPDATE: It just gets better. Blumenthal runs out a bunch of "vets" as a backdrop as he doubles down .... and who does he have with him? A well known fake. Go over to TAH for the details. Priceless.