Tag Archives: Vietnam War

Wishing this prediction had panned out

I’m in a strange mood this evening. I am feeling a bit of a mea culpa urge entering my aching body.

A little more than three years ago, I “predicted” the demise of the Donald John Trump’s presidential campaign after he uttered the infamous phrase that U.S. Sen. John McCain was a war hero “only because he was captured” and that he he liked “those who aren’t captured.”

I thought at that moment that Trump had just self-immolated his campaign for the presidency.

Oh, man, was I ever wrong about that.

So, I want to send it out one more time as my attempt at self-deprecation.

Hey, no one’s perfect.

This is when Donald Trump’s candidacy died

 

 

 

Trump-McCain feud goes on and on

Oh, my goodness. Donald John Trump spent a lot of time today thanking damn near every veteran in politics for their service to the country. His thank-a-thon preceded his signing a $717 billion defense spending bill.

Oh, I forgot to mention that one veteran did not receive a presidential thank you.

That would be U.S. Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. I’ll add, too, that Congress voted to name the defense bill in McCain’s honor.

Still, Donald Trump ignored the Arizona Republican while tossing all those bouquets.

There’s much more. Sen. McCain spent more than five years during the Vietnam War as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese after his Navy jet fighter was shot down over Hanoi in 1967. He was beaten, kept in solitary confinement, denied proper medical treatment for his wounds.

However, he and the president don’t exactly get along.

McCain has been battling an aggressive form of brain cancer. And, I should add, he cast a decisive vote against a Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which torpedoed Trump’s effort to remove former President Barack Obama’s signature piece of domestic legislation.

I’ll add, finally, that presidential candidate Trump said in 2016 that Sen. McCain was a “war hero only because he was captured.”

CNN anchor Jake Tapper today took a moment to thank Sen. McCain for his service to the country. He said: “One person who wasn’t on that list of people that he thanked? Outspoken Trump critic and the namesake of the bill, Sen. John McCain,” Tapper said. “You know, the decorated war hero who was a prisoner of war and continues to serve as a United States senator, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.”

Tapper said, “Since President Trump would not do it, let us here on ‘The Lead’ congratulate Sen. John McCain and his family, and thank him for his service to the country.”

Good for Jake Tapper.

Shame on Donald Trump.

Now they’re offering salutes

AMARILLO, Texas — There’s a first time for everything, as in everything.

Those of us who saw duty in Vietnam have been receiving belated — but still quite welcome — greetings from our fellow travelers.

Today, while walking through a grocery story in west Amarillo, a gentleman saw the “Vietnam Veteran” cap on my noggin and snapped a salute, while thanking me for my service.

My thought in the moment? Oh, my. Moreover, the nature of the salute this fellow snapped told me he, too, once served in the military. I returned his salute and thanked him.

Those of us of a certain age know how it used to be in this country. We didn’t the kind of homecoming that vets are getting these days, and deservedly so!

I actually remember the first time anyone said, “Welcome home” to me after learning I had served for a time in Vietnam. That “welcome” came from a former Vietnam War SEAL and a Medal of Honor recipient. It has stayed with me.

But … that’s ancient history. The nation has rediscovered its respect for veterans.

For that, this veteran will be forever grateful.

A new context for ‘America, love it or leave it’?

I cannot quite get past the statement that Laura Ingraham made about immigration and the changing demographics that are being “foisted” on Americans who, like her, don’t like what those changes are bringing.

Ingraham is a noted conservative talk show host and a regular on the Fox News Channel. Her comments have drawn a good bit of criticism from those who accuse her of race-baiting.

Then comes this from CNN’s Chris Cuomo, who blasted Ingraham on his own TV program. “To turn a phrase back on our us-versus-them friends — if you don’t like what America is, you leave,” Cuomo said on his show “Prime Time.”

Read The Hill’s story here.

Do you get the irony in that statement?

A couple of generations ago, when Americans were protesting the Vietnam War, political conservatives bellowed to the hippies, yippies and other far-left protesters that they should leave the country if they disliked it so much.

“America, love it or leave it!” they shouted at them.

What I’m hearing now is that the “love it or leave it” mantra now has become the battle cry of those on the left to hurl angrily at those on the right.

Fantastic, man!

Who’s more believable: The Marine or the liar in chief?

As I watch and listen to Donald J. Trump’s incessant harangue against special counsel Robert Mueller, I keep circling back to the histories of both men.

Trump was born to wealth and parlayed his birthright into a business career staked by a large stash of money from his father. The Vietnam War was raging when he became old enough to serve his country. Young Donald chose to pursue student deferments and received a medical deferment based on some sort of “bone spur” ailment that kept him out of harm’s way.

Trump then went into business and spent his entire professional life in pursuit of self-enrichment, self-aggrandizement and self-adulation.

Mueller also was born into wealth. He went to college, then to law school. But before he entered the legal profession, he decided to enlist in the Marine Corps. He served in Vietnam. He earned a chest full of medals, including the Bronze Star and at least two Purple Hearts. He fought with valor in defense of the country that sent him into harm’s way.

He got out of the Corps, entered the legal profession, served as a prosecutor and then eventually became director of the FBI, again in service to his country.

Trump has spent the past year and a half disparaging Robert Mueller. He calls him corrupt, says Mueller is engaging in a “witch hunt” while he conducts an investigation into whether the president’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russians who had attacked our electoral system.

Who in the name of dedicated public service should we trust to do the right thing?

I will go with the Marine.

McCain keeps fighting the good fight

I want to offer some kind words about John McCain.

One year ago, Sen. McCain received a medical diagnosis no one wants to hear: He had contracted an aggressive form of brain cancer, glioblastoma.

I don’t know what the docs told him about his prognosis. Sen. McCain has indicated it was grim.

But he’s still with us. For that I am grateful.

I’ll be candid about Sen. McCain. I disagree with his conservative political views. I did not vote for him when he ran as the Republican nominee for president in 2008.

However, I long have admired Sen. McCain for the valiant public service he has given to his country. It spans many decades, including his years as a Navy officer.

In 1967, the young aviator had the extreme misfortune of being shot down over Hanoi during the height of the Vietnam War. He was taken captive and held for more than five years. He was injured when he ejected from his jet fighter; his wounds never were treated properly. He was tortured and submitted to solitary confinement.

He persevered. McCain ran for Congress, being elected to the House and then to the Senate.

His courage has never been doubted. His heroism in a time of war is well-documented. I long have admired this man’s service and I have saluted him — through this blog — many times.

I just feel compelled to wish Sen. McCain well as he continues his valiant battle. I consider him a heroic figure.

Happy birthday, America; you’re still great

Happy birthday, America.

You look pretty good for being 242 years of age. Allow me these brief thoughts as we light some fireworks, grill some chow outside in the summer heat and toast your ever-lasting and enduring greatness.

I want you to disregard the blathering of our current president, who campaigned for office and then took office vowing to “make America great again.” He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. You’re still great. You’ve always been great.

And, yes, the 45th president isn’t the first occupant of that office to make such a claim. Others have done so. But this guy keeps harping on it. He wears that goofy “MAGA” hat at campaign rallies.

Now, even though we celebrate your greatness, America, I must concede that you haven’t been perfect. The founders said at the beginning of the Republic that “all men are created equal.”

They were short-sighted. Women weren’t allowed to vote. That right didn’t come until 1920, for crying out loud. Furthermore, many of the founders were slave holders. They held men, women and children in involuntary bondage.

You’ll recall, America, how we waged a bloody Civil War over slavery. We killed hundreds of thousands of Americans to preserve our Union and, yes, to free those enslaved families.

Civil rights battles have ensued. We marched in protest against wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. We endured a Great Depression. We were attacked at Pearl Harbor and then we went to war against tyranny in Europe and Asia.

We let our guard down on 9/11 and were attacked yet again by terrorists.

In spite of all that, we remain great. We allow people to complain openly about the government. We allow freedoms that other countries have emulated. We are free to worship as we please — or not worship at all if that’s what we choose.

We allow “due process” under the law. We grant liberty and freedom.

And despite what that president of ours insists, we remain a beacon that attracts immigrants from those around the world.

I am proud to be an American. I am proud of my country, warts and all. Believe me, America, you’ve grown a few more of them in recent years. However, I salute you.

Let’s all have a happy birthday, America.

They work for us, however …

A woman confronted Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt yesterday while Pruitt was having a meal in a restaurant.

Kristin Mink teaches school in Washington, D.C., and said she had a “civil” discussion with Pruitt about EPA policies, which she says hurts her children.

“We deserve to have somebody at the EPA who actually does protect our environment, someone who believes in climate change and takes it seriously for the benefit of all us, including our children,” Mink said, “I would urge you to resign before your scandals push you out.”

OK. Maybe it’s just me, but I happen to shrink from this kind of confrontation of public officials in that context. Do I detest the policies that Pruitt is enacting at EPA? Yes. Do I also detest the policies coming from the Oval Office? Again, yes.

This whole issue has come to the fore in recent days ever since White House press flack Sarah Hucakabee Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant. Then came U.S. Rep. Maxine Water, D-Calif., who has declared that it’s OK to harass Trump administration officials even when they’re on their own time with their own families.

Whoa! Again, I disagree.

Kristin Mink makes a valid point, which is that Pruitt and, indeed, Donald J. Trump all work for us. They are our employees. They owe it to us to be accountable for their actions and we have every right to confront them whenever we damn well feel like it, or so the belief goes.

I just don’t like the idea of confronting these individuals in that manner. I certainly understand that they work for me — and you! There happen to be plenty of ways to hold them accountable. I try to do that with this blog, for instance. You can write them. You can call their staffs and bitch at them.

Or … you can vote for officials who will select people to administer public policy more to your preference.

I’ve confronted a (former) public official only once in my life. It was early 1996. I was walking along a street in Washington, D.C., when I encountered former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, who had just published a memoir in which he acknowledged that he knew as early as 1962 that the Vietnam War was a lost cause.

Well, I was one of the millions of young men who served for a time in that war. So … I told McNamara how angry I was to learn that my country sent me into harm’s way to participate in a war the former defense boss believed could not be won.

He thanked me for my comments. I thanked him for coming clean — finally! — and we parted ways. It was just him and me. McNamara is now deceased, so I’m the only party who can speak to what occurred that day in Washington.

I didn’t consider it in the moment to be a form of “harassment.” I do consider it harassment when you berate a public official who’s seeking to enjoy some private time.

At least they understand, however, that they work for us.

To think that Trump disparages this man

I am going to post one more item about Sen. John McCain and his frigid relationship with the man who happens to be president of the United States.

Then I’ll move on. Maybe

Take a gander at the man on crutches and in the Navy whites. He is John McCain. The picture was snapped in 1973. He is shaking hands with President Nixon, who welcomed home many of the men captured by North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

McCain spent more than five years in captivity. He endured torture, solitary confinement. He was injured when he bailed out of his jet fighter in 1967, but his broken bones never were treated properly by his captors.

This is the man Donald Trump said was a hero “only because he was captured.”

And while John McCain was enduring the wrath of our nation’s enemy, Donald Trump was at home obtaining a series of medical deferments that kept him out of the Vietnam War. Something about “bone spurs,” isn’t that right?

For the president of the United States to denigrate and disparage John McCain in the manner that he is done is the height — or is it the depth? — of miserable narcissism.

POTUS is a disgrace.

Meghan McCain won’t ‘forgive’ POTUS … good!

Meghan McCain clearly loves her father with all her heart.

Thus, she is taking a deserved hard line against the man who has disparaged, disrespected and disregarded her war-hero dad.

U.S. Sen. John McCain is battling brain cancer. He has faced down the toughest foes imaginable, given his more than five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.

So, when Donald John Trump insults Sen. McCain — and doesn’t ever rebuke a White House staffer who did so as well — one can expect the senator’s daughter to take it personally.

Meghan McCain has become a celebrity in her own right, as a co-host of “The View.” She said this recently about the president, according to Time.com: “[Trump’s] comments are never going to be OK with me, especially at this moment in my life. I’m never going to forgive it,” the co-host of ABC’s The View said on stage. “I’m never going to move on from it.”

Why should she?

Trump once disparaged McCain’s Vietnam War service by saying he is a hero “only because he was captured.” Then he has continued to harp on the senator’s thumbs-down gesture that doomed Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

And then we had the gem fly out of the mouth of former White House aide Kelly Sadler after McCain urged his Senate colleagues to reject Gina Haspel as the CIA director, given her role in torturing enemy combatants. “It doesn’t matter” what McCain said, Sadler muttered. “He’s dying anyway.”

Has the president called Sadler out? No. He got angry because her comments were leaked.

Meghan McCain said this, too: “If anyone wants to say anything to me in any way, they have to do it publicly,” she said. “I don’t take private phone calls from the Trump Administration anymore.

As for Sadler’s crack, Meghan McCain said this: “Kelly … it is not how you die. It is how you live.”

John McCain has lived a life of public service that is totally foreign to the president of the United States. I, too, admire Sen. McCain’s sacrifice in defense of our nation.

As for his daughter’s declaration that she cannot “forgive” the way the president has treated her father, I am in her corner.