Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Kersten got me goin...

I'm sure it's been said before, but doesn't Katherine Kersten have a striking resemblance to a certain 90's TV sitcom geek?

Will we see Kersten on Celebrity Fit Club next? With all of the cuts at the Strib, you never know.

Back to my rant...Kersten wrties today about how the late US Senator Paul Wellstone and his efforts in moving the Democratic Party to a more soldier friendly party.

At first, Wellstone didn’t disappoint. Shortly after taking office, he
enraged veterans by staging a media event against the first Gulf War in front of
the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial. Early polls showed Wellstone with one of the
lowest approval rankings ever for a Minnesota senator.

But when he ran six years later, Wellstone was endorsed by – of all
groups — the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Did he go through a “pro-war” conversion?
Hardly. He reinvented the meaning of “I support our troops.”

After his disastrous start, Wellstone retooled. He began championing
assistance for soldiers with “post-traumatic stress disorder,” and advocating a
host of new or expanded government benefits for returning and retired soldiers.
He won reelection in a landslide.

1. Kersten reads from the first paragraph of the GOP playbook. She asserts that just because someone protests a war, they cannot support the soldiers involved.

That assertion is utter nonsense. Senator Wellstone admitted his actions at the Vietnam War Memorial were wrong. But he held to his convictions about the war. How many Republican leaders have come forward to admit they have been wrong on Iraq? Where is Norm Coleman, the man who slandered Wellstone's record on Veterans issues?

More than 220,000 Veterans of the first Gulf War draw VA disability now, more than 28% of those who served in this war. When compared to other wars, this figure is shocking. Roughly 8% of World War II Veterans drew VA disability, 6% of Korean Vets, and about 10% of Vietnam Vets.

But since Kersten politicized aid and care to Veterans, lets turn the question back on GOP leaders. How can you support the troops when GOP leaders cut the VA budget and have proposed closing 10% of the VA's hospitals?

Perhaps Kersten should watch this video. 5 years old now, Senator Wellstone was dead on right!

Kersten continues...

How much greater the risk to our country if we encourage those we turn to in crisis to see themselves as wards of the state? We must offer our soldiers
respect and thanks for their great sacrifice, as well as various tangible forms
of support. But “I support our troops” must always mean more: support for their
mission and warrior spirit.

The soldiers who spoke up at Walter Reed never saw themselves as "wards of the state".

I signed 4 contracts when I was on active duty. I took an oath. I took that oath very seriously. Each time I took that oath, I did so with two assumptions.

1. Our President and my the officers appointed over me would never put my soldiers and I in harms way for political gain and without a sound strategy on how we would conduct the operations.

2. If I ever was hurt, I would have access to the care and aid required. I made these vows to my infantrymen, I'd never put them in harms way over bullshit and I would make sure they are taken care of. I've been out of the Army nearly 6 years now and I still point Veterans and soldiers in the right direction for care.

"Wards of the state?" We took significantly less pay than our civilian counterparts, spent longer amounts of time away from loved ones, and made other sacrifices to safeguard this nation. The least we can do for our Veterans is ensure that they have access to quality health care. Respect and thanks go a long way as well, but having seen so many Veterans and friends of mine struggle for access to their benefits, something is wrong.

Republican Presidential Candidates talk about abortion, immigration and same sex marriage. Issues beyond the periphery of mainstream America.

Iraq is mainstream America. It's also mainstreet America.

It's mainstreet Cokato.

Mainstreet Annandale.

It's young men and women from small towns all across this state raising their right hand, taking a solemn oath, and busting their asses in far away places.

Kersten's right hand extends to a keyboard where her rants are becoming increasingly irrelevant. If Kersten wants to go to Iraq and live the life of a soldier, I know a recruiter who will hook her right up! Or better yet, maybe she should take a walk down a hallway at Walter Reed and ask a solider how it feels to be a "ward of the state".

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