An unpardonable sin

You don’t lie about fighting in a war. It’s enough to disqualify a candidate for office, regardless of his or her other qualifications.

But Connecticut senatorial candidate Richard Blumenthal, who, according to the New York Times, obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps to avoid Vietnam, remains in the race.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is shamelessly blaming Republicans for the story — in particular, former World Wrestling Entertainment executive Linda (Mrs. Vince) McMahon, who is seeking the GOP nomination.

“Its no surprise Republicans would want to smear Dick Blumenthal, considering all of the debauchery at [WWE] under Linda McMahon’s watch,” said a flack. Note — beyond the absurd allegation that the Times and the GOP work in consort — the lack of a denial. Of course, there’s nothing to deny; Bluemnthal said he fought in Vietnam and military records prove otherwise.

I don’t know how anyone could vote for Blumenthal, the favorite to win the seat now held by Chris Dodd, after learning this. Connecticut Dems shouldn’t be saddled with him as the option to a wrestling tycoon.

UPDATE: National Dems are standing behind the fraud.

“I think he’s corrected the record in the past and I think his actions as it relates to standing up for veterans over a long period of time speaks volumes about where his heart and his actions are,” Mendendez said before citing an event Blumenthal will have with veterans later today. “I’m sure those veterans who will be standing up for him today will make the case for him, that he will continue to stay in the Senate race and that we will continue to support him.”

How has he “corrected” the record? Blumenthal was caught up in a lie and has yet to completely own up to it. I’m sure if he was down in the polls the Dems wouldn’t hesitate to cut bait.

This kind of fib reveals more about someone’s trustworthiness than, say, a lie about an affair. At least the cheater has some rationale for fabricating. B

How Many People Can a Congressman Offend?

Why not denigrate our few remaining allies? No matter — as long as gays are being bashed:

"We aren’t the Brits. We’re not the Europeans. We’re not the Swedes," says Republican presidential candidate Duncan Hunter, who is the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Hunter argues that gays do not belong in the U.S. military because American troops need to be hardened warriors, unlike soldiers in the 15 NATO countries where gays serve openly.

"The Fallujahs of the world, the Ramadis of the world that require heavy combat and lots of fire-fighting capability – those are the places the Americans go. The other countries tend to go to the so-called peacekeeper zones, where they have fewer fire fights and less contact with the enemy," Hunter says. "And the European nations show little will to send large contingents of their military people into dangerous places."

Bush Administration Outrage Du Jour

This is inexcusable — you’d hope Bush would take time out from clearing brush on the ranch, get on the phone and make things right:

The U.S. Military is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses because they are unable to serve out their commitments.

To get people to sign up, the military gives enlistment bonuses up to $30,000 in some cases.

Now men and women who have lost arms, legs, eyesight, hearing and can no longer serve are being ordered to pay some of that money back.

You dropped a bomb on me, bitch!

This story is not a farce:

A Berkeley watchdog organization that tracks military spending said it uncovered a strange U.S. military proposal to create a hormone bomb that could purportedly turn enemy soldiers into homosexuals and make them more interested in sex than fighting.

Pentagon officials on Friday confirmed to CBS 5 that military leaders had considered, and then subsquently rejected, building the so-called “Gay Bomb.”

Don’t ask, don’t tell, do read

Two incisive columns about our military’s inane "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy. It’s indefensible, as Maureen Dowd points out (TimesSelect; no link):

Even Rudy Giuliani, who loves to cross-dress and who stayed with old friends, a gay couple, to avoid Gracie Mansion when his second marriage was disintegrating, had an antediluvian answer.

Wolf Blitzer asked him about the Arabic linguists trained by the government who have been ousted from the military after being outed.

Mr. Giuliani, who procured three deferments to avoid Vietnam, replied that, with the war in Iraq raging, “This is not the time to deal with disruptive issues like this.” …

Mitt Romney agreed with Rudy on the issue. Instead of going to Vietnam, Mr. Romney spent two and a half years doing Mormon missionary work in France. Isn’t that like doing Peace Corps work in Monte Carlo?

At the memorial for Mark Bingham, the gay 6-foot-5 rugby player who was on Flight 93 on 9/11, John McCain said he might owe his life to the young man who helped fight the hijackers, bringing down the plane aiming to crash into the Capitol.

But Senator McCain wants gay troops to stay closeted. The policy, he said, is “working.” But it’s not. The Army in Iraq is like that exhausted nag Scarlett O’Hara whipped on to Tara. Yet Republicans surge on, even as they expel gays.

Meanwhile, the America Embassy in Iraq has only a handful of fluent Arabic speakers. Stephen Benjamin should’ve been one of them:

After joining the Navy in 2003, I attended the Defense Language Institute, graduated in the top 10 percent of my class and then spent two years giving our troops the critical translation services they desperately needed. I was ready to serve in Iraq.

But I never got to. In March, I was ousted from the Navy under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which mandates dismissal if a service member is found to be gay.

The legacy of Lonesome Rhodes

Lawmakers who say the military has kicked out 58 Arabic linguists because they were gay want the Pentagon to explain how it can afford to let the valuable language specialists go.

Seizing on the latest discharges, involving three specialists, members of the House of Representatives wrote the House Armed Services Committee chairman that the continued loss of such “capable, highly skilled Arabic linguists continues to compromise our national security during time of war.”

Whose fault is this? Lots of blame to go around, but no one’s more deserving than former President Clinton. He signed the executive order authorizing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” He could’ve ended the ban on gays in the miliary altogether, but instead chose politics over principle (as his initial support for ending the ban wasn’t playing well in Dick Morris’ polls).

Not that his successor has sought to reverse course, but let’s remember who’s initially responsible — the same man whose spouse has the gay lobby in pocket.

Muzzling the troops

The Defense Department will begin blocking access “worldwide” to YouTube, MySpace and 11 other popular Web sites on its computers and networks, according to a memo sent Friday by Gen. B.B. Bell, the U.S. Forces Korea commander.

Is this supporting the troops? Military personnel depend on these networking sites to maintain contact with family and friends. No more. Might the brass be afraid of what the soldiers are telling the folks back home?