Skip to comments.Cleland Drops Political Grenade... On Himself [Did you know He Blew Himself Up In Vietnam?]
Posted on 02/12/2004 5:31:52 AM PST by 11th Earl of Mar
Cleland drops a political grenade
February 12, 2004
Former Sen. Max Cleland is the Democrats' designated hysteric about George Bush's National Guard service. A triple amputee and Vietnam veteran, Cleland is making the rounds on talk TV, basking in the affection of liberals who have suddenly become jock-sniffers for war veterans and working himself into a lather about President Bush's military service. Citing such renowned military experts as Molly Ivins, Cleland indignantly demands further investigation into Bush's service with the Texas Air National Guard.
Bush's National Guard service is the most thoroughly investigated event since the Kennedy assassination. But the Democrats will accept only two possible conclusions to their baseless accusations: (1) Bush was "AWOL," or (2) the matter needs further investigation.
Thirty years ago, Bush was granted an honorable discharge from the National Guard, which would seem to put the matter to rest. But liberals want proof that Bush actually deserved his honorable discharge. (Since when did the party of Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd get so obsessed with honor?)
On "Hardball" Monday night, Cleland demanded to see Bush's pay stubs for the disputed period of time, May 1972 to May 1973. "If he was getting paid for his weekend warrior work," Cleland said, "he should have some pay stubs to show it."
The next day, the White House produced the pay stubs. This confirmed what has been confirmed 1 million times before: After taking the summer off, Bush reported for duty nine times between Nov. 29, 1972, and May 24, 1973 more than enough times to fulfill his Guard duties. (And nine times more than Bill Clinton, Barney Frank or Chuck Schumer did during the same period.)
All this has been reported with documentation many times by many news organizations. George magazine had Bush's National Guard records 3 1/2 years ago.
All available evidence keeps confirming Bush's honorable service with the Guard, which leads liberals to conclude ... further investigation is needed! No evidence will ever be enough evidence. That Bush skipped out on his National Guard service is one of liberals' many nondisprovable beliefs, like global warming.
Cleland also expressed outrage that Bush left the National Guard nine months early in 1973 to go to Harvard Business School. On "Hardball," Cleland testily remarked: "I just know a whole lot of veterans who would have loved to have worked things out with the military and adjusted their tour of duty." (Cleland already knows one Al Gore!)
When Bush left the National Guard in 1973 to go to business school, the war was over. It might as well have been 1986. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson had already lost the war, and President Nixon had ended it with the Paris peace accords in January. If Bush had demanded active combat, there was no war to send him to.
To put this in perspective, by 1973, John Kerry had already accused American soldiers of committing war crimes in Vietnam, thrown someone else's medals to the ground in an anti-war demonstration, and married his first heiress. Bill Clinton had just finished three years of law school and was about to embark upon a political career which would include campaign events with Max Cleland.
Moreover, if we're going to start delving into exactly who did what back then, maybe Max Cleland should stop allowing Democrats to portray him as a war hero who lost his limbs taking enemy fire on the battlefields of Vietnam.
Cleland lost three limbs in an accident during a routine noncombat mission where he was about to drink beer with friends. He saw a grenade on the ground and picked it up. He could have done that at Fort Dix. In fact, Cleland could have dropped a grenade on his foot as a National Guardsman or what Cleland sneeringly calls "weekend warriors." Luckily for Cleland's political career and current pomposity about Bush, he happened to do it while in Vietnam.
There is more than a whiff of dishonesty in how Cleland is presented to the American people. Terry McAuliffe goes around saying, "Max Cleland, a triple amputee who left three limbs on the battlefield of Vietnam," was thrown out of office because Republicans "had the audacity to call Max Cleland unpatriotic." Mr. Cleland, a word of advice: When a slimy weasel like Terry McAuliffe is vouching for your combat record, it's time to sound "retreat" on that subject.
Needless to say, no one ever challenged Cleland's "patriotism." His performance in the Senate was the issue, which should not have come as a bolt out of the blue inasmuch as he was running for re-election to the Senate. Sen. Cleland had refused to vote for the Homeland Security bill unless it was chock-full of pro-union perks that would have jeopardized national security. ("OH, MY GOD! A HIJACKED PLANE IS HEADED FOR THE WHITE HOUSE!" "Sorry, I'm on my break. Please call back in two hours.")
The good people of Georgia who do not need lectures on admiring military service gave Cleland one pass for being a Vietnam veteran. He didn't get a lifetime pass.
Indeed, if Cleland had dropped a grenade on himself at Fort Dix rather than in Vietnam, he would never have been a U.S. senator in the first place. Maybe he'd be the best pharmacist in Atlanta, but not a U.S. senator. He got into office on the basis of serving in Vietnam and was thrown out for his performance as a senator.
Cleland wore the uniform, he was in Vietnam, and he has shown courage by going on to lead a productive life. But he didn't "give his limbs for his country," or leave them "on the battlefield." There was no bravery involved in dropping a grenade on himself with no enemy troops in sight. That could have happened in the Texas National Guard which Cleland denigrates while demanding his own sanctification.
Ann Coulter is host of AnnCoulter.org, a Townhall.com member group.
©2003 Universal Press Syndicate
Friends don't let friends drink and detonate.
UGH! Hey Max, when the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is NOT our friend!
Hold muh beer alert!
From another thread on Anns article.......
S.C. veterans revelation changed a life Batesburg-Leesville man surprised ex-senator by correcting an old war story
By CHUCK CRUMBO
All Steve Price remembers about an explosion on a hill in Vietnam is helping a badly wounded soldier.
There was blood all over. I thought he was dead, said Price, who was an infantryman in the Marine Corps back in 1968.
Three decades later Price now a 54-year-old resident of Batesburg-Leesville learned the soldier not only survived but went on to serve as head of the Veterans Administration and a U.S. senator. The soldier was Max Cleland of Georgia.
I was aware of Max Cleland. I had seen him on TV, said Price. But I never had any idea it was the same person who was on the same hill where I was back in 1968.
Price concedes its a pretty wild story. But its also illustrative of the coincidences of life in the military, something the Midlands and the nation will reflect on when Veterans Day is celebrated Tuesday.
On April 4, 1968, Price was with the Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines.
Charlie Company was opening up Route 9 going into Khe Sanh, near the demilitarized zone between the then-separate North and South Vietnams, and had secured a mountaintop.
Cleland, a captain in the Army Signal Corps, and his team flew by helicopter to the hill that Price and Charlie Company held to set up a radio relay tower.
When the helicopter landed, Cleland and his soldiers jumped off and the helicopter immediately ascended.
Then there was an explosion.
Price, who was digging a foxhole, thought the blast might have been an enemy mortar round. It was common for the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese to shoot at landing helicopters, Price said.
This time, a soldier was severely wounded. It was Cleland and he had lost an arm and a leg. His other leg was badly mangled.
David Lloyd, one of Prices buddies in Charlie Company, was among those who rushed to help. He applied a tourniquet to one leg.
I tightened that belt as best as I could, Lloyd said.
Lloyd, Price and other Marines loaded the wounded captain onto a helicopter that hauled him to a field hospital.
The blast was caused by a grenade that had fallen on the ground. It exploded as Cleland reached to pick it up.
For years, Cleland believed he was the one who dropped the grenade, which led to the loss of his right arm and both legs.
Cleland retold the story in 1999 on a History Channel program. Lloyd, who was watching the show at his home in Annapolis, Md., picked up the phone and called Clelands office.
The story, Lloyd said, was wrong. Lloyd said the blast was caused by another soldiers grenade not Clelands.
Lloyd said he knew because after Cleland was loaded onto the helicopter, another soldier, who had been hit by shrapnel, was crying. Lloyd tried to console the soldier, who said he had dropped the grenade.
The grenade exploded when its cotter pin had fallen out, activating the explosive, said the 57-year-old Lloyd. The soldier told Lloyd that he had straightened the pins so it would be easier to pull them when he had to throw a grenade.
Lloyds revelation, which checked out, changed Clelands life, Cleland has written. For 30 years, Cleland had blamed himself for his injuries.
Lloyd later tracked down Price and told him the story about Cleland.
I remembered the incident. It stood out in my mind, Price said. But that was just about it.
Price met Cleland when he came to South Carolina to attend a Labor Day rally in Charleston for U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, who was announcing his candidacy for the presidency. Lloyd had passed on the names of Price and other Marines to Cleland.
Price and Cleland, now an adjunct professor at American University in Washington, D.C., had dinner the night before the rally. The next day, during his speech endorsing Kerry, Cleland spotted Price in the audience.
Cleland paused and then told the crowd and viewers watching the rally on C-SPAN that one of the members of a team of wonderful Marines who had saved his life was present.
Steve Price, Cleland said, stand up, brother.
Price rose to a round of applause.
Today, Price considers himself a lucky man. He survived Vietnam, returned home, went to college, married and has raised three children.
Price shrugs off that theres anything special about his link to Cleland on that bloody day in 1968.
Its just a coincidence, Price said. He was just another soldier to me.
Maybe, but theres another coincidence in Prices life linked to that day in 1968.
Prices oldest son is a captain in a Florida Army National Guard Signal Battalion.
Its the same rank and job that Cleland had in the Army.
Reach Crumbo at (803) 771-8503 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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If you want on the list, FReepmail me. This IS a high-volume PING list...
Ann's story also has another questionable issue in it. How many reasonably trained military folks, physically in Viet Nam would actually have picked up a grenade off the ground as though it were a bright coin? The rumor is that he didn't pick up the grenade as he was "going" to drink beer but that he picked it up AFTER he had had a whole bunch of beer, something he did often then and, I am told, still does often. Again, the records will show whether Max was drunk at the time and how much of a drinking problem he has to this very day.
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