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Monday, Feb. 16, 2004 at 11:20 PM
Coulter rewrites history in a shameful attack on a real American hero.
Shame on You, Ann Coulter
by Scott Galindez
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Monday, 16 February 2004
Ann Coulter's recent attack on Max Cleland shows just how un-patriotic the right has become. In a recent column, Ms. Coulter rewrites history in a shameful attack on a real American hero:
Excerpts from Coulter's column:
"Cleland lost three limbs in an accident during a routine non-combat 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."
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."
Coulter saying that Cleland was "lucky" the incident happened in Viet Nam is despicable. Many conservative chickenhawks who now support sending our young men off to war never faced live fire or live grenades. For information on the service records of leading conservatives go to:
As for the claim that a Silver Star winner is not a "war hero," Coulter said people "should stop allowing [Cleland to be] portrayed as a war hero" - despite the fact that, in a separate incident four days before he lost three limbs, Cleland won a Silver Star - one of the highest honors for combat courage the U.S. military gives out. The congressional citation which came with the medal specifically said that during a "heavy enemy rocket and mortar attack Captain Cleland, disregarding his own safety, exposed himself to the rocket barrage as he left his covered position to administer first aid to his wounded comrades. He then assisted in moving the injured personnel to covered positions." The citation concluded, "Cleland's gallant action is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army."
Coulter's claim that it was a non-combat incident was also false, as the 8/1/99 Esquire Magazine notes: "Cleland lost two legs and an arm in Vietnam when a grenade accidentally detonated after he and another soldier jumped off a helicopter in a combat zone."
Peter Carlson of the Washington Post also wrote:
"On April 8, 1968, during the siege of Khe Sanh, he stepped off a helicopter and saw a grenade at his feet. He thought he'd dropped it. He was wrong. When he reached down to pick it up, it exploded, ripping off both legs and his right hand. He was 25."
He returned home to Georgia in December 1969. "I had no job, no girlfriend, no car, no hope," he says. "I figured this is a good time to run for the state Senate. And politics became my therapy, forcing me to get out of the house and be seen."
In 1970, at 28, he became the youngest person ever elected to the Georgia Senate. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed him to head the Veterans Administration. In 1982, he was elected as Georgia's secretary of state. In 1996 he was elected to the U.S. Senate, defeating businessman Guy Millner in a very close race."
That sounds like an "American Hero" to me. A role model for all people, an example that despite obstacles anyone can succeed.
Ann, I know you are getting nervous that your "War President" is surrounded by other chickenhawks, while John Kerry comes surrounded by veterans and real American heroes like our nation's firefighters. Nevertheless, that does not give you the right to slander the reputation of a man who has dedicated his life to service for our country. Shame on you!
Max Cleland, keep up the fight!
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