Attack of the chickenhawks
If the Bush administration wants to attack John Kerry over his commitment to the military couldn’t they have found someone with a bit more courage and credibility than Saxby Chambliss?
Sen. Saxby Chambliss said during a conference call arranged by the Bush campaign that Kerry has a “32-year history of voting to cut defense programs and cut defense systems.”
When Kerry responded later, at his side was Max Cleland, a triple-amputee Vietnam veteran who lost his Senate seat to Chambliss in 2002 after being portrayed as soft on homeland security.
He said the president “decided once again to take the low road of American politics.”
“Saxby Chambliss, on the part of the president and his henchmen, decided today to question my commitment to the defense of our nation,” Kerry said in Georgia, one of 10 states choosing electoral delegates on March 2.
Kerry also defended his military record during an interview taped Saturday for broadcast Sunday morning on ABC’s “This Week.”
“I don’t know what it is that all these Republicans who didn’t serve in Vietnam are fighting a war against those of us who did,” the Massachusetts senator said.
Kerry has campaigned on his Vietnam combat record, which includes three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star.
Cleland, a Democrat, had some criticism for Chambliss.
“For Saxby Chambliss, who got out of going to Vietnam because of a trick knee, to attack John Kerry as weak on the defense of our nation is like a mackerel in the moonlight that both shines and stinks,” he said.
Read more about Chambliss here.
And here’s some more on Chambliss:
Poor Saxby Chambliss. He has a bad knee.
In fact, his knee is so bad he told his draft board on two occasions in the 1960s that he was unable to serve in the military during the Vietnam War. This was after he’d already sought a student deferment so he could attend law school.
But fortunately, time is a healer, and these days, the Republican Senate candidate’s knee seems to be a-OK. In his campaign appearances — including several with George W. Bush — Saxby looked vigorous and strong, striding to the podium without the slightest indication of a limp.
On the other hand, Chambliss’ Democratic opponent, Sen. Max Cleland, doesn’t have any knees. They were blown off, along with his right arm, in a grenade explosion during the siege of Khe Sanh after he volunteered to serve his country as an Army officer. Max received the Bronze and Silver stars for his service in Vietnam.
But these facts haven’t stopped Chambliss from viciously attacking Cleland’s patriotism.
In a recent press release, Chambliss accused his opponent of “breaking his oath to protect and defend the Constitution” because Cleland had voted “yes” on a routine Chemical Weapons Treaty amendment allowing inspectors from neighboring nations like Syria and Iran to serve on U.N. inspection teams in Iraq. What makes Chambliss’ bizarre attack all the more frustrating is that the bipartisan ratification of the amendment was unremarkable in its impact on national security, a mere footnote in the grand scheme of the war on terrorism.
Former U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey, who himself lost a leg in Vietnam, called Chambliss’ remarks “a shocking slap in the face not just to Max, but to all veterans.” And he was right. I feel compelled to defend Cleland, not because of any shared ideology, but because we share a common bond. I may never have faced the horrors of combat, but I am a veteran of the United States Army, one who gladly volunteered to serve his country. Chambliss would do well to learn that if you attack one of us — especially one of our wounded — you have attacked us all.
Then again, based upon his qualifications as a coward, Chambliss is the ideal spokesman for AWOL George and Dick “I had other priorities” Cheney.