Thursday, February 19, 2004

War of words: Ann Coulter -- she's cute and smart, but nuts -- lambasted Democrats and former Senator Max Cleland for questioning Bush II's National Guard Service. Molly Ivins took gleeful exception to Coulter's remarks:
But for sheer, vicious nastiness, no one cam compete with Ann Coulter, whose latest error-riddled effusion is an attack on former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland, who has been critical of the Bush administration. Apparently in an effort to make George W.'s incomplete in the National Guard look better, Coulter wrote a column distributed by the Heritage Foundation saying Cleland, a triple amputee, had showed "no bravery" in Vietnam, "didn't give his limbs for his country," is not a war hero. My favorite sentence is, "Luckily for Cleland ... he happened (to lose his limbs) while in Vietnam," her point being that if he had been injured at Fort Dix, he wouldn't be a hero.

He also wouldn't have been under enemy fire at Fort Dix. She says he lost his legs in "a routine noncombat mission where he was about to drink beer with friends." Actually, Cleland lost his limbs when a grenade detonated after he and another soldier jumped off a helicopter in a combat zone.

As for not being a war hero, Cleland earned the Silver Star in a separate incident just four days before he was injured. The citation reads, "during heavy enemy rocket and mortar attack, Capt. Cleland disregarded his own safety, exposed himself to rocket barrage as he left his covered position to administer first aid to his wounded comrades. He then assisted them in moving the injured personnel to covered positions. Cleland's gallant action is in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit and the United Sates Army."

How lucky for Cleland ...

Not knowing when to shut up, Coulter responds, quoting Jill Zuckman in the Boston Globe:
"Finally, the battle at Khe Sanh was over. Cleland, 25 years old, and two members of his team were now ordered to set up a radio relay station at the division assembly area, 15 miles away. The three gathered antennas, radios and a generator and made the 15-minute helicopter trip east. After unloading the equipment, Cleland climbed back into the helicopter for the ride back. But at the last minute, he decided to stay and have a beer with some friends. As the helicopter was lifting off, he shouted to the pilot that he was staying behind and jumped several feet to the ground.

"Cleland hunched over to avoid the whirring blades and ran. Turning to face the helicopter, he caught sight of a grenade on the ground where the chopper had perched. It must be mine, he thought, moving toward it. He reached for it with his right arm just as it exploded, slamming him back and irreparably altering his plans for a bright, shining future."

And, here's the pot calling the kettle black: "They [liberals] ought to stick to their specialty -- hysterical overreaction. The truth is not their forte."

Who's right and who's wrong? Probably both are both, somewhat. Context, accuracy of quotation, and spin are key in these disputes. However, Coulter loses credibility with me, at least, in that she seems to think I'm a traitor.... ["Liberals have a preternatural gift for striking a position on the side of treason"] [click "Next Page 9 times to get to the quote].