Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Stolen Valor Sen. candidate in CT

No excuse. No quarter. No gray area here. If the story holds, Blumenthal must go. Via NYT,
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.

“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.
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.

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.

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.
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.

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.

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.
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.
UPDATE Well - you can't spin this Shipmate.

Hat tip HotAir.

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.


AW1 Tim said...

 Now lets sit back and examine the reaction from the media and the public.

  Heck, let's just compare what folks say about his deferments and stateside Reserve service with those regarding Bush 43, or Dick Cheney's perfectly legal deferments.

  Let's not forget, though that Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, claimed to have flown combat missions over Vietnam as a fighter pilot when in fact he was just ferrying airplanes in and out of country.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

GWB volunteered, not once, but several times for Vietnam service.  He was turned down because the F-102 was being phased out of service and not in theater. 

It will indeed be interesting to see how the former AG of CT is treated by the rabid Left.

JAV said...

If this had happened once, I would have blamed the media. It's not a stretch for the average reporter to rewrite "Vietnam era veteran" into "Vietnam veteran". But, if that had occurred, he should have immediately set the record straight. He let this go far too many times for too long to deserve any sympathy. I agree 100% that his real service was sufficient to be proud of.

Kristen said...

This is interesting.  I'd have thought that states like CT and VT were so leftist that military service wouldn't be a plus for a politician's resume.  Since he felt compelled to lie about it for years, maybe that's not the case.  I'm not convinced yet that voter outrage will force him to withdraw from the campaign, but perhaps those of you more familiar with the area can correct me.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

He is no better, and in some measures worse, than BGen McSoulpatch.  McSoulpatch was likely only trying to impress local clayheads by misrepresenting himself, not trying to run for national office.

ShawnP said...

Well the good AG should be doing prison time. I like others am tired of people trying to glam into military service. I went thru pain, sacrifice and many nights and days I put country, Navy above my own self interests. Then this schmuck and others come along and pretend to do what I did and others. Screw you AG and enjoy being a bad mans boyfriend. No plea deal Connecticut for this f*ck.

Salty Gator said...

Sad.  Sal, great wrap up . He could have honorably explained his service.
I served during the Global War on Terror.  I was forced to resign or be medically discharged (medical retirement was not an option) after completing a short mission to Haiti with the NASSAU ARG.  I never got to deploy to the Gulf in support of OIF or OEF.  I have a GWOT service medal, but no expeditionary medal.  I do not consider myself, therefore, to be a GWOT veteran.  My greatest contribution in uniform was training my VBSS team and getting my ship through ATFP cert before I had to leave.  My best contributions since have been in the Pentagon (debatable about how effective I may be).  I am not a GWOT vet, and I will NOT steal that valor!

MR T's Haircut said...

Facts is stubborn things....

LT B said...

I know, right?!  The pain I've endured going through diversity talks, and ORM discussions and then Lean Six Sigma'd.  NOBODY should claim he was in the mil w/o feeling our pain.  Oh yeah, I've deployed a lot and gone to sea, but that is the fun/painless part. :)

FOD said...

The point here is he was playing the victim... just look at the clip, he's the suffering veteran, sent by his nation to fight an unpopular misbegotten war then mistreated and discarded once he got home.  Now he's promising government care for all those other poor tormented souls who have been lied to and sent to fight another unpopular misbegotten war. New England liberals eat that shi7 up. 

This guy is not stealing valor, he served, he not claiming to be a war hero. He doesn't seem care about that.  He is stealing victim status. That's what plays to his base.

fdchief100 said...

I think similarly, Salty Gator. I was USN from '67 - 71 but do not even self identify as a "Viet Nam Era" vet. I'm simply a Navy vet from the 60's. Let those who were there claim their valor and the courage attached to the Viet Nam era service. Never saw VN from the air, sea or land, but the VA will be sure to put it on my head stone in Bushnell.

Jay said...

I think perhaps the blogger lynch mob is a little too quick this time (well...lol...really, almost every time...but very much so in this instance...)

I don't quite think this rises to the level of Stolen Valor. 

Just finished watching a piece on PBS re: same.  Not a month ago -- in a debate, the same AG was pointing out that he served (in the Reserves) and not in Vietnam.  So -- where is the disconnect?  Did he claim any combat experience?  Any combat awards?  Any combat-related trauma?  So, perhaps a verbal slip?  Should have said "during" Vietnam, vice "in"?

I suspect, as someone points out -- that the Republican opposition research folks would have found this & hammered on it relentlessly, much earlier than now, if there was "any there, there".

We'll see how the next few days play out -- you can bet you bottom dollar that LOTS of folks are now examining every written piece, video tape, etc. 

No reason to rush to judgement.

I recall my high school U.S. history class days, when my history teacher mentioned he had joined the National Guard, and went through "the same boot camp" during the Vietnam War.  Had I been a little more historically curious back then (not to mention less respectful of adults -- not really encouraged by the Xaverian Brothers, however...), I might have inquired how the battle of Worcester, MA went...lol

If he, like many others of his generation -- opted to join the Reserves or certain National Guard units -- that they could be pretty darn certain weren't going anywhere near Asia -- I guess they'd be in good company -- Pres GW Bush?  VP D. Quayle?

 I'd almost have more respect for VP Cheney and his deferments, or Pres Clinton & his saga, but I can't really get all the way there.  At least this AG and the other guys put on a uniform.

We'll see how this plays out during the week.

Anonymous said...

Typical arrogant, egotistical lying lawyer/politician.  It is blatently obvious that he repeatedly stated, or allowed, the impression he was a Vietnam vet who served in country.  And he got away with it for several years.

The only difference from most of the despicable breed is that he actually got caught embellishing his resume, and darn well should pay the price for it.

However, based on Connecticut's repeated election of the Dodd family to office, their threshhold for unacceptable conduct is much more tolerent than most places.

If he had any honor, he would resign his present job and withdraw from the race.  However, common criminals are more honorable than many politicians, so I expect his mealy mouthed excuses will be parroted by the biased media as truth, and he will win election.  Probably end up on the Senate Ethics Committee too.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Jay, I knew I could count on you to make excuses for this guy and take a shot at GWB.  You really are pathological, you know?  Verbal slip?  Holy moley.  Didn't you watch the video?  He's LYING.  And you wish not to "rush to judgment".  He is guilty of stolen valor same as McSoulpatch, if not more. 

And, Bush volunteered a number of times for VN, as his reporting senior said on several occasions.  But then again, you must be from the Dan Rather/CBS school of journalistic integrity.

DesScorp said...

Blumenthal had the perfect publicity counterattack; he surrounded himself with old Marines at a VA hall. Other vets won't be fooled, but Joe Q. Public will go "Oh, the Marines support him. Nothing to see here".

MR T's Haircut said...


as usual, you are ambiguously disingenuous..

He made reference many times that "when I came home from Vietnam" or "I remember when we were abused and spit one when we came home from Vietnam".  or how about, "during my service in Vietnam".... the only one denigrating his own contribution is himself.. he is ashamed of his meager contribution in his own mind while using many MANY deferments to avoid going to VIETNAM...

Jay get your facts straight,, please for once?

MR T's Haircut said...

I heard on the radio today a new term... "he swiftboated himself"... lol

Ymar said...

CDR, I'm asking on behalf of another blogger, have you found a way to increase the character limitations on the comment system here?

Ymar said...

Obviously he's in the same boat and would like to increase the character count past 3k per comment.

Salty Gator said...

Yeah, but how many of those "former Marines" were shouting "HOOAH" instead of "OORAH"?  I heard quite a few "HOOAH"s.  This ain't scent of a woman

Salty Gator said...

<span>"I'd almost have more respect for VP Cheney and his deferments, or Pres Clinton & his saga, but I can't really get all the way there.  At least this AG and the other guys put on a uniform."</span>
Yes Jay, he put on a uniform.  So did Benedict Arnold.  
As for respecting Clinton, who ran all the way to London and is the first President who required an Executive Order pardoning him for being a draft dodger in order to be eligible to even run for president, you really are showing your true colors.  Jay, would you bow to China and apologize for our "horrible human rights record" as well?  Why don't you comment on Huffington Post instead???

DM05 said...

Liars, phony vets, cowpies. All poo.

Andrewdb said...

Pres. Clinton - Mr. "I don't remember if I got a notice from my draft board" - WTF? 

I'm too young to have gotten one of those, but Dad says no one forgets opening that letter (he was standing in the driveway with Mom, who started to cry).

No, not me. said...

You wacky ideologues.  GWB dropped out of his reserve unit to do cocaine. 

Jay said...

URR - (et al) - C'mon now, Gents -- anyone who *wanted* to go to Vietnam -- prob pretty much got there. 

They did it by joining the Navy -- going pilot, or Seal, or Riverine, or by joining the Marines -- Infantry, or joining the Army.  I'd have to look at the stats for all the active services & see the % who rotated in/out of Vietnam, over the many years we were there, it has to be pretty high.

Anyone who didn't want to go to Vietnam -- joined some units of the National Guard -- where they knew they wouldn't go.

So, the Pres GW Bush "volunteered" to go rings a little hollow, doesn't it?

Jay said...

Dan Rather -- former Marine?  :)

Jay said...

From the Google: "During the Vietnam war, almost 23,000 Army and Air Guardsmen were called up for a year of active duty; some 8,700 were deployed to Vietnam."

From an ANG site: http://www.ang.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-091124-037.pdf  <span><span>

"In all, 10,511 ANG personnel were mobilized in the two call ups; with about 2,000 serving in Vietnam, of those
seven were killed in action."

ANG website: http://www.ngef.org/index.asp?bid=48  "<span>It is estimated that of the 12,234 Army National Guardsmen (ARNG) mobilized, more than 7,000 served in Vietnam (RVN), either in deployed Guard units or as individual replacements."</span>
<span>So, the top statement pretty much accounts for the bottom two (close enough). </span>
<span>Interesting info on the F-102 & Vietnam here: http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/history/q0185.shtml</span>
<span>Either way -- we are off topic with Pres G.W. Bush's service...</span>
<span>We'll see how AG Blumenthall does in the CT general election.  Not being a CT resident, this is a side show for me.  If the story has real legs, it will walk, if not, it will be bandied about on the interwebs for a few weeks, until something more bright & shiny shows up.  I hope that isn't Korea, stand by for news...</span>

Redeye80 said...

<span>Wrong! That POS never finished Boot Camp, therefore never a Marine.  Nice try!</span>

MR T's Haircut said...

I fail to see the relevancy of bringing GW Bush into the topic, we are talking about Blumenthall.  To continue to bring GW Bush into the equation is like a 5 year old saying "he started first".... really?  Come on get an argument or sit down. 

cdrsalamander said...

Let me be short and direct.  This is not about Bush for the love of Pete.  

Get over it.  Everyone.  If you want to wallow in your nut-job AFDB theories - do it over at Democrat Underground or Daily Kos where it belongs.

This is about a no kidding politician doing what is described in the post.

For once - Jay gets the last word.  And for once - he is right. ;)

Byron said...

MR. T, Bringing the heat!

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Yeah, Dan Rather is a former Marine like Blumenthal served in Vietnam.  Rather didn't make it out of boot camp.  He lied, too.  Like Harkin. 

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Hear that Phib?  They don't think you have enough character!  8-)