Former POW lauds McCain

Retired colonel spent years in Vietnamese camp with candidate

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— Retired Air Force Col. Tom Kirk wasted few words Tuesday evening.

"If there's one person I met in my life that I would follow to the ends of the Earth, it's John McCain," he said.

Kirk met the Republican presidential nominee in dark circumstances: when the two were prisoners of war in Hanoi, Vietnam. Kirk spent five and a half years at the camp. An altercation with a guard put him in solitary confinement for two of those years. In that period, he saw no Americans.

Dozens of people, many of them veterans, sat in rapt attention during Kirk's speech at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. The colonel shared his glowing opinion of McCain as well as the story of their internment at the "Hanoi Hilton."

The local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts sponsored the event. American Legion Post 44 Cmdr. Bob Printy, who lost a brother in the Vietnam War, said he could not imagine having Kirk's experience.

"We live in a wonderful nation and a beautiful area, so it's important for me to listen to him and understand a little bit about what he went through," Printy said.

VFW Post 4264 Cmdr. Tony Weiss said he hoped the presentation opened people's hearts to Vietnam veterans and helped them understand the troops' experience.

"I think it's just a real honor to have him in Steamboat and be in his presence," Weiss said.

Kirk was shot down in his F-105 dive-bomber Oct. 28, 1967. McCain was shot down two days earlier.

The men didn't meet until Christmas of 1970, Kirk said, when the North Vietnamese brought a large group of prisoners to Hanoi, possibly fearing a raid. Nearly 50 prisoners shared a large room, including Kirk and McCain. They were rescued in 1973.

"I came to know John McCain in extreme depth because we had nothing to do, nothing to write," Kirk said. McCain is a man of honor and integrity who puts his country before all else, Kirk said.

He said that he was worried about the direction of the country and that he believed only McCain could unite and lead America.

Kirk also stressed that Americans must appreciate what they have and work to improve themselves.

"I don't ever forget what freedom means," Kirk said. "I tell you, every day is the Fourth of July to me, even after 34 years."

After the speech, audience members crowded around Kirk to shake his hand and hug him. Outside the community center, Ty Upson, a Marine, said Kirk's speech moved him.

"I had to keep swallowing," Upson said. "You know, Marines don't cry."

Comments

Martha D Young 6 years, 3 months ago

Tom Kirk and John McCain endured unimaginable conditions as POWs. That they survived gives testimony to their courage and fortitude. The experience of these men has no bearing on a so-called liberal agenda. Demeaning one political persuasion does not enhance any other. It merely lowers the level of conversation.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 3 months ago

Actually, Palin graduated from Univ. of Idaho in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communication-Journalism.

Greenspan also only said that McCain's tax cut policy needs to be offset by spending cuts. McCain has said he intends to cut the pork from spending bills, at least. Whether he can actually do it or not, is another thing. He did not say McCain's overall policy was "disastrous."

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1841083,00.html

Giving up false information or partisan talking points doesn't help anyone's cause and only strengthen's your opponent's argument.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm not saying McCain hasn't completely spelled out his spending cuts plan, but "disastrous" is not the word Greenspan used. He was very deliberate in the way he said it.

Everything that's happening now in the market is thanks to both parties, in truth. Neither party has provided the proper oversight or warnings to people in all of this. Democrats like to tax and spend. Republicans like to spend with no income. They both still spend.

Right now, neither candidate has a comprehensive plan that has been completely stated when it comes to fixing our current troubles. Oversight takes spending money, too. Obama wants to raise taxes back to Clinton levels on the top 5%. That will help, but he has alluded to newer spending programs and "offer a tax cut to the other 95%." Taxing one, giving money back on the other.

In the long run, it might be a wash either way.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 3 months ago

What have the Democrats done to supress this from happening?

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JLM 6 years, 3 months ago

OK, so back to what the article was actually about --- can you imagine having your freedom taken away for 5 years and spending 2 years in solitary confinement?

Times like that reveal character. Great character. Being smart, being clever --- that's not the same as having character.

Wow, my hat is off to these guys!

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Ed Miklus 6 years, 3 months ago

Ah...the lengths that liberals will go through to push their agenda. Here we have an article about a distingushed Vietnam War verteran and POW who fought for our Country speaking about another POW and war hero and what to we get? A diatribe about Sarah Palin and some mishegoss about the value of being a "community organizer"...how disrespectful to the Colonel.

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nikobesti 6 years, 3 months ago

Nice perspective from a veteran. Here's a few more:

On Tuesday, Sept. 9, your front-page article featured veteran Gar Williams recalling his trip to the Aug. 28 American Legion Convention. He came away, it appears, with a dim view of Sen. Obama's regard for American war veterans. That's too bad.

Does he know that, "In January 2007, Senator Obama reintroduced the Lane Evans Veterans Health and Benefits Improvement Act to improve the VA's planning process to avoid budget shortfalls in the future"? Does Mr. Williams know that, "During the debate on the Fiscal Year 2007 budget, Senator Obama passed an amendment to increase funding for homeless veterans by $40 million"? Yes, these citations are from obama.senate.gov/issues/veterans/. However, they are public record.

I, too, am a veteran. I found it strange that Mr. Williams would conclude, "If the wrong person wins - if Obama wins - we may have to move to Canada." In 1969, I neither liked the Vietnam War nor the president, and I had the opportunity to flee to Canada. However, I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served two tours of duty, one in Northern Thailand and one in Vietnam.

Stephen Ghirardelli

Craig

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nikobesti 6 years, 3 months ago

http://neighbors.denverpost.com/blog.php/2008/09/17/republican-advice-to-obama-supporters/

Posted by MorrisonRepublican I am an American, a veteran of the 82nd Division, 505th Airborne Infantry, a member of the Republican Party and I am outraged at the irresponsibility of my Party's reprehensible and shameful use of misinformation to divide our country and pit American against American. I am not part of the "angry left"; I am part of the growing "angry right" who are becoming more and more disenfranchised with our own Party. We are rapidly growing tired of our Party wrapping themselves in the flag for the purpose of engaging the public in a disingenuous oratory about uniting the country, while at the same time vilifying other Americans with cruel, divisive and childish taunts that have no basis in fact.

You see: my party could not field a Presidential candidate that has the substance, integrity and leadership to match that of Senator Obama. Our candidate is a compromise from a field of pathetic choices that half of us don't believe in, a candidate that can't match wits with his opponent or inspire and uplift the people as Senator Obama can. So, when faced with the prospects of running with a candidate that is outclassed and overwhelmed, our party resorts to that old maxim attributed to P.T. Barnum: a sucker is born every minute. And you, America, are that sucker!

Rather than inspire the people, my party berates and belittles our opponents to the point that the American people are completely bamboozled into thinking the opposing candidate is somehow less of an American. Although I know the staunchest of my fellow Republicans will dismiss my outrage as traitorous rhetoric or simply the ranting of a misguided soul, I say to my fellow Republicans: it is we that are causing the deep divides in this country. It is we who are polarizing America in our attempt to vilify and turn public opinion against other good Americans who are just as patriotic, just as religious, just as family-oriented and just as concerned for their country as ourselves.

continued....

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nikobesti 6 years, 3 months ago

...continued

However, the blame for the sad state of American politics cannot be placed entirely on the Republican Party. Most of the blame for the negative campaign ads and dirty politics falls squarely on the shoulders of a clueless voting public that does not demand fact, issues or well-reasoned argument. It is we the people that perpetuate the very style of nasty political rhetoric that all of us revile and despise. Because of a fatal flaw in the human psyche, the average American is highly skeptical of the plain truth, instead embracing lies, fabrications and twisted logic with a relish that is utterly disquieting.

Rather than research issues from independent sources and make intelligent decisions on our own, we absorb the self-serving language of such people as that lying, adulterous former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, or the twisted foul words of sleazy political hacks like Rudy Giuliani and Rush Limbaugh whose only shared talent is repackaging schoolyard taunts into a political argument. So, I am not sure if supporters of Senator Obama understand this point yet, but my party is about to run over your candidate with a large bus full of flag waving, misinformed American idiots armed with a significant amount of propaganda gleamed from obviously biased news stories, emails and clueless television entertainment disguised as news.

This is unfortunate because Senator Obama is a dynamic leader, with the people and vision to achieve real fiscal responsibility, develop intelligent foreign policy, re-build our military and restore an executive branch that supports and defends our badly battered Constitution of the United States. Unfortunately, the "Campaign for Change" is about to be steamrolled by my party's skillful use of emotional misinformation honed to a level unmatched since the Nazi propaganda machine of 1930's. So, if you want your candidate to win, quit sitting on the sidelines, stop talking about issues amongst yourselves and stand up and fight for what you know is right!

Our country cannot take another four minutes, let alone another four years of the same old failed model of leadership and fiscal irresponsibility that my party has perpetrated on the American public. Take America back! Contact your local Campaign for Change office and get involved now!

Greg King A Morrison Republican

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Cindy Antonucci-Ameen 6 years, 3 months ago

Greg King, I applaud your courage and intellect. It takes a real maverick to stand up for truth and disassociate from those who sell the propaganda.

My husband too, is an angry Republican supporting Obama. A longtime successful businessman, he can't believe we haven't "fired" this administration for their fiscal recklessness, let alone the crimes against humanity.

One of the extraordinary changes that has gone underreported in these past few years is the record number of military leaders who have broken rank with their commander in chief. As we now know, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Council of Colonels, the commander on the ground at that time (Nov. 2006) Gen. George Casey all disagreed with the president regarding his plan for a surge. They all "worried that the armed forces were stretched to the breaking point and could not respond to an unexpected crisis elsewhere, (and) opposed a sizable surge." (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/specials/war-within/dissension/index.html)

Americans, it time to "CITIZEN UP". We need to abandon our reckless and rampant laziness and seek out the truth from multiple sources, as Mr. King suggests. Read about Obama's stand on the issues at: http://www.barackobama.com/issues/

The Obama/Biden ticket represents the most intelligent candidates, men who will bring the brightest minds to the table to begin to solve the monumental tasks ahead of us. The Campaign for Change has amassed people from all parties with one thing in common, a strong desire to begin to correct the wrongs our generation has done in the world and in our country. If you don't care enough to do it for yourself, consider getting involved for future generations, who deserve so much better.

Cindy Antonucci-Ameen

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JLM 6 years, 3 months ago

Hey, nikobesti, Obama would not have made a good corporal in any unit I ever served in. Too inexperienced.

BTW, just for the record, the surge is working. President Bush was right and his generals, if what you report is correct, were wrong. That's why he's the Commander in CHIEF.

It is worth noting that when President Bush changed the general in charge of the war, the outcome was changed. Gen Petraeus is a warrior. The guy wrote the Army's manual on counterinsurgency and then employed those ideas in Iraq. He was the right pick and President Bush picked him. Give credit where credit is due.

The ultimate support of our military is for the C in C to assign a specific mission, to get out of the way and allow the military to decide how to accomplish the mission, to resist the temptation to micro-manage and to allow the military to fight, win and emerge victorious. There is no substitute for victory!

Airborne Ranger

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 3 months ago

A Corporal (Army, at least) is an E-4 (Enlistee Rank 4) NCO- primer for SGT E-5 (Sergeant), but is cross promotion from SPC E-4 (Specialist), which can be obtained in 6mos. pretty easily. Not sure if it's changed, but a new recruit with 2yrs of college would enter Basic Traning as a PFC E-3 (Private First Class) . Basic and AIT (Advanced Individual Training) depending on the job, would last average 4 months. I personally entered as PVT E-1 (Private) and graduated OSUT as PFC E-3, then got my SPC E-4 6 months later...less than 1 year in service.

In my case, it was 15weeks OSUT (One Stop Unit Training- Basic & AIT all in one shot). Hitting SPC E-4 happened for a lot about 2-3 months after leaving training for those entering as E-3. Another few months, then they'd be PLDC (Primary Leadership Development Course) to prepare for NCO status. Upon sucessful graduation of that course, most SPC get a cross promotion to Corporal, then usually get promoted to Sergeant E-5 in less than a year.

Now- I joined without 2yrs of college, which is why I started as E-1. I was E-4 basically at the age of 22. Now- think about those without college joining at 18yo. They can easily be a Corporal or even Sargeant by the age of 21 or 22. Considering Obama is now 47, had he joined at right after turning 18, he could retire with the highest benefits after 30yrs...1 more year from now. Odds are, he'd be retiring as at LEAST an E-8, maybe even E-9: 1st Sergeant or Command Sergeant Major.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 3 months ago

To put that into terms that non-military can understand:

E-1 & 2 Privates = Seasonal Front Desk Agents, Dishwashers in Restaurants, Market Cart retriever/baggers

E-3 Private First Class = Same as above with higher education or just a little more time in service

E-4 Specialist = Year-Round Reservationists or FD Agents, Lwr Line Cooks, Market Register Workers

E-4 Corporal = Same as Specialist but with Building Keys for opening/closing or register override keys (Supervisors)

E-5 & 6 Sergeant & Staff Sergeants = Managers

E-7 Sergeant 1st Class (Platoon Sgts.) = Directors in Charge

E-8 Master Sergeant or 1st Sergeant = Vice Presidents of Companies

E-9 Sergeant Major or Command Sergeant Major = Presidents

Then you have officers. They are outside consultants! LOL!

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JLM 6 years, 3 months ago

Stoddard, wow what a great explanation. You know what you are talking about. As I said --- Obama would not make a GOOD corporal in any unit I ever served in.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 3 months ago

You're right- he'd have been your CO, most likely. My first CO was only 4yrs older than me and as an E-4, I had more hands on experience than my Cruit Lieuts, but I still had to follow their orders. LOL!

I grew up in the Army. Fired my first howitzer at age 11 with my father. Got a taste of being in a tank at age 9. As I've stated before, my drinking got the better of me. Otherwise, Sunday would be my completion of 21yrs of service had I stayed in. Unfortunately, I'd never have met my wife had that happened. I think I got the better end of that deal, in the long run.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 3 months ago

Also- at least Obama didn't leave the Academy 5th from the bottom of his class of almost 900.

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Duke_bets 6 years, 3 months ago

Hey JLM - That's why Obama is not enlisting in the service and attempting to be a corporal. In fact, I think he is running for president, so an E4 is a touch below his skillset. My party affiliation truly doesn't matter for this argument and I am undecided as to whom I will vote for. My point is that you have just supported nikobesti's argument and you are too blind to see that by being wrapped in your Republican flag.

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playa46 6 years, 3 months ago

JLM, we all thank McCain for his deeds during vietnam, but when it comes down to Presidency, I really don't think we need another George Bush in the office. McCain wants to continue the war, do we really need to bring ourselves further in debt. "I would rather lose the election than the war!" How long has it been since Mission Accomplished?

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JLM 6 years, 3 months ago

Army brat myself, old man was a Sgt Major when the Army wore brown boots.

Funny thing about "trade school" grads --- the competition to get in is so fierce being last in your class is not the worst thing you could imagine. Pretty tough screen. Been there, done that.

All the general officers in my class were C - B students, physically rugged, played sports and could get along w/ people. Guys not afraid to make tough decisions under trying circumstances. Damn good men. Honest, honorable men. Damn good Americans.

You can't be a CO of anything if you think you can only answer "present" when the chips are down. Real leaders take a stand, make a decision, consequences be damned! You can't fake principled leadership.

Obama wouldn't have made a decent Corporal in any unit I served in. Wouldn't have made half a decent shave tail either. Total lightweight!

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Jason Krueger 6 years, 3 months ago

Blythe Terrell, is your job to report the news or is this a commentary? If it's a news report then it's an insult to anyone who every studied journalism. If this is a Republican commentary, it needs to be labeled as such. JLM- You must be incredibly skilled to type, salute the flag and sing the Star Spangled Banner all at the same time! Hopefully someday you'll get your monologue written into a movie script where a chisel-faced, grizzled old actor with a wad of tobacco in his jaw can shout it into the face of some young "intellectual' whipper-snapper before nobly sacrificing himself to save America from a errant meteorite! Greg King (courtesy of niko)- well spoken. Thank you.

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playa46 6 years, 3 months ago

JLM, why are your posts spamming about how Obama cannot "look good in a corporal uniform or unit"? Do you actually have a decent post?

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JLM 6 years, 3 months ago

Hahahahaha, "intellectual", is that what it is? LOL

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nikobesti 6 years, 3 months ago

JLM: I'm confused.

First you say, "Obama would not make a good corporal." But then you say, "The ultimate support of our military is for the C in C to assign a specific mission, to get out of the way and allow the military to decide how to accomplish the mission, to resist the temptation to micro-manage and to allow the military to fight, win and emerge victorious."

So by your own recipe for success, you don't want an officer as a commander and chief. If our president is supposed to provide a mission and let the real miliary minds take over, why do you insist on a president with a corporal skill set?

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 3 months ago

JLM- My 2nd CO was a "present" only kinda guy. He was a Captain and couldn't pass a PT test if he tried. So yes- there are those kind of officers and enlistees all around. Right now, due to being spread out very thin, the Army has lessened their specific requirements. The top out enlistment age was 32 when I was in. Now, it's 42.

Had Obama decided to join the military instead of being a Community Organizer, I'm sure he'd have done better than most.

Also, one of our greatest presidents- Abraham Lincoln- had the same amount of legislative or governance background as Obama, and no military record.

Eisenhower was only a military man, yet ran the country. Bush didn't make any real military commitment, either. He stayed in the states at a time when Reserve and National Guard forces weren't making up half our overseas forces due to being spread too thin as they are now. And Palin thinks that if it comes to it, we'll help protect Georgia from Russia? Where are these soldiers coming from, I wonder? (Also- until more than a cell phone record is verified, it still looks more like Georgia went into South Ossetia first. Russia just decided to...Shock & Awe them for doing so.)

So, unless you actually had him in your unit, you can't say he'd be a good soldier or not. Hell- with his studious record, he might have even been a better soldier than McCain, who sluffed it thru the Academy.

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JLM 6 years, 3 months ago

niko --- huh?

Let me 'splain it slow --- Sen Obama is the ultimate product of affirmative action, a guy who has been given every possible advantage only because of his skin color not because of merit.

Got no problem with that. I support affirmative action. Becoming President is not however an affirmative action program.

His claim to fame is "community organizing".

He spent time in the Illinois Senate where he voted "present" 139 times when pressed to actually make decisons about important legislation.

When he did vote he voted to support or oppose some truly vile legislation.

He is a product of the crooked Chicago political machine and his candidacy was championed by some of the most corrupt politicians in even Illinois --- and that is saying something.

He won his Senate seat by default when his opponent imploded. He served 143 undistinguished days and then announced his run for the Presidency.

He is totally devoid of any leadership experience, executive decision-making skill --- he's an inch deep and a yard wide. He is one of the all time head fakes visited upon the American political scene.

Oh, yeah, he can give a great speech encompassing all of the long standing liberal sentiments and unfilled promises of the last half century.

Sen Obama has not exhibited the leadership and decision-making experience that would be required of a Corporal in a decent Army unit.

Does that help?

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Jason Krueger 6 years, 3 months ago

JLM- Apart from military experience which it appears you feel a President should possess, what OTHER skills should our leader exhibit? Please remember, our C in C does more than send our troops into war. Please explain how being a Corporal in a military unit (which by definition CANNOT BE A DEMOCRACY) qualifies a person to lead a country full of different beliefs, intellects and ideas on an international stage which is also full of different beliefs, intellects, and ideas some of which may be fundamentally incompatible with ours but the majority of which require nuance, empathy, intellect and understanding to deal with. Again, please be specific as my liberal mind is a bit slow.

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nikobesti 6 years, 3 months ago

JLM: I hope you're aware that Americans would see an "intellectual" president as a breath of fresh air. The world we live in today requires a leader who studies, looks logically at all situations, uses science and research, and communicates well with other leaders. I'm sick of the neocon mindset that every international problem can be solved by bullying and use of our military. Call me a liberal egghead if you want, but I think (and hope) more and more Americans are cautious about electing another chest-thumping warlord as president.

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nikobesti 6 years, 3 months ago

As far as your rant about how Obama got where he is today because he's black, you're completely full of it. You don't get to where Obama is today by free riding on affirmative action. Harvard does not make you president of the Harvard Law Review based on your skin color. Thanks for playing, though.

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Duke_bets 6 years, 3 months ago

JLM - I would love to watch the reality TV show that includes McCain, GW and yourself in a spelling contest. Of course you would all have to sport your camo.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 3 months ago

Duke- You'd need to include Palin on that one. She also says, "nu-ku-ler," from her Gibson interview.

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JLM 6 years, 3 months ago

Sheesh, I don't know if I can complete all my homework assignments cause tonight is date night but I'll give it a bit of a try in no particular order.

Obama (and the lovely, angry Michelle) is the ultimate beneficiary of LBJ's Great Society affirmative action progams --- the guy has an Ivy league education for goodness sake. Nothing wrong with that. Did he become the first President of the Harvard Law Review solely because he was black? Probably not. Was it a huge consideration? Look at the articles announcing it and tell any reasonable observer otherwise. Again, not the worst thing in the world.

But, the Presidency is not a position in which affirmative action should be a consideration. Black folks who vote for Obama are no more or less racist than folks who vote against him. Race is real regardless of which way it cuts. Not my cup of tea, but the way things really are.

I had the ocassion to have a lengthy lunch with Sen Obama when he first announced for President before he won Iowa and became such a phenom. Politicians usually eat before fundraisers so they can devote their undivided attention to their guests and give a speech while the guests eat. [Had similiar visits with Bill, Hill, Bradley, Dean, Kerry --- Bradley was my favorite and Obama has the most gifts.] I ate with him before the fundraiser because I owned the catering company (long, bad story).

It was a delightful lunch and he is a very, very interesting chap. He is very, very skinny to the point of almost being frail. [We had a very nice cold smoked salmon with a lovely cucumber relish. He ate about 3 portions. Really bad table manners, ate with his hands.] Could not have asked for a more engaging conversationalist. Came across as young, fresh, bright as hell and pretty damn naive but every positive personal quality you could attribute to an individual was on display. I thoroughly enjoyed it and got a nice note from him. He was also extremely generous having his picture taken with every catering company employee who served him. Nice guy.

His background, experience and liberal positions are what I have a problem with. The Chicago political machine is a putrid power base from which corrupt folks spring to higher office. He is not ready for prime time and his positions are incredibly liberal. The MOST liberal member of the Senate, further left than...........well you know who, right? I disagree with his governing philosophy and his total lack of executive, deliberative decision-making experience.

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JLM 6 years, 3 months ago

He does not possess good judgment. [Good judgment the product of experience. Experience the product of bad judgment.]

I am absolutely certain I could have had him trained up into a pretty fair Corporal but it would have taken a good NCO a bit of trouble to have done it. I think I might even have been able to make him into a 1st Lt but above that would have been a stretch.

Knowing something about the military when we are engaged in two wars is just a prudent skill to seek in a leader. Nobody hates wars more than somebody who has seen one up close and personal. Remember it was DD Eisenhower who cautioned the country to beware the military-industrial complex. He was very, very right.

OK, hope I completed most of my homework assignments. Please accept my most abject apology for any spelling errors. I am a slave to spell check.

Oh, yeah, it's always good to have someone on your team who can field dress a moose. LOL

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 3 months ago

Hey now! No need to mention the Angry Michelle, unless you also bring up Secedin' Todd, too.

I'm not worried about him being the most liberal at this point. Somehow, "the most liberal" always seems to apply to every election. Hear it all the time. Maybe after racking up the Debt to $10 trillion (will it be $11 trillion by Inauguration Day??) I'm looking for someone who says, "It's time to pay for all the stuff we bought." Obviously, that didn't happen on Bush's "let the market sort it out after we cut the check" policy, regardless of being in 2 wars. There's always an excuse. Reagan/HW Bush ballooned the National Debt without 2 wars lasting this long. They can just blame it on a missile defense system that never happened.

I'm also looking for a President who can get the rest of the world on our side thru respect and not fear. Fear causes them to follow until they don't have to. Respect lasts longer. Had we the respect of the other countries, maybe Iraq and Afghanistan wouldn't have cost us so much money. In fact, we'd probably just have been in Afghanistan and might have caught Bin Laden by now.

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Jason Krueger 6 years, 3 months ago

JLM- Thank you for your response. While I am a definite Obama supporter, I am more than willing to acknowledge his limited experience. However, it is hypocritical for the Republican party to use that excuse against Obama when this was the exact trait they championed in G.W. Bush 8 years ago. What I see in Obama is someone who may not have all the answers but is SMART ENOUGH to know it, AND is SMART ENOUGH to seek out those answers before charging into situations. Gut instincts are fine to listen to but they need to be backed up with logical argument.

Your affirmative action statements don't hold water at all. Affirmative action is incapable of producing GPA's or allowing outstanding achievement once you're in the door. Sadly, your attachment to that belief draws into question the rest of your views.

Eight years ago I was much more supportive of McCain and would have agreed with you regarding his "integrity". However, Mr. McCain lost that integrity when he allowed G.W. Bush to berate his military service leading up to the first Presidential election 8 years ago. His "integrity" was further sacrificed when he supported the "swift boat" lies against a fellow service member, John Kerry, during the last election. For someone who is so proud of his "strength of character", these were two telling instances where he sacrificed "honor and truth" for political gains. (Sort of like, "wanting to win an election rather than win a war"...Can someone tell me who said that????)

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JLM 6 years, 3 months ago

W, who just for clarity is not running for re-election, was a Governor of a big state for 8 years before he ran for President. He knew his way around politically his father having had a bit of political experience. Clinton was Governor of a little state for 8 years befor he ran for President. They both made executive decisions pertaining to legislation, budgets, staffing, emergency preparedness, energy and military matters.

Sen O has no governing experience, no executive experience and very, very little legislative experience. He began running for President as soon as he arrived in the Senate. Oh, yeah, he was a community organizer but has ben unable to trumpet a single great triumphant bit of work that he accomplished.

Sen O did not exactly blow them away academically at either Occidental or Columbia. Much of affirmative action is simply getting the chance. I am a supporter of affirmative action but it is not about attracting excellence --- the excellent students don't need any help. It is all about giving opportunity to those run of the mill students whose personal circumstances would not otherswise provide that kind of opportunity.

The funny thing about the "swift boating" of John Kerry is that virtually every allegation made was true.

Kerry served less than 90 days in combat and went home because of three very questionable Purple Hearts.

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JLM 6 years, 3 months ago

One would have to know just a bit about the military to know how PHs are awarded --- they are not awards for valor, they are recognition of having been wounded by hostile action. The paperwork is typically processed by a medic or corpsman. One does not get "put in" for a PH as he claimed.

I can telll you with complete authority that the "wounds" attributed to Kerry would not have rated even consideration in an infantry unit. None of them.

Kerry was never in Cambodia, Christmas or otherwise.

His award of the Silver Star was totally bogus. An officer chasing a suspected VC on foot and shooting him in the back. While I recognize that Squids don't have as much opportunity for actual combat action, that's hardly the valor necessary to justify the third highest award for valor.

When he returned, he lied repeatedly about what he had seen. If an officer in combat witnessed such conduct they would have been honor bound to have taken immediate action to correct it.

His throwing his medals over the White House wall turned out to be a lie.

The guy went to war with a freakin' movie camera for goodness sake. Kerry served 90 days in combat, lied about his actual combat assignments, went home because he had 3 PHs, got a bogus SS, lied upon his return to Congress and faked throwing his medals over the WH wall. He was a total complete fraud.

The proof of this is that he never released his service records to refute any of the allegations, he never sued anybody and he never refuted the allegations line by line. Why not? Cause they were true and his peers knew it.

Unfortunately, elections get down to a choice between two individuals. In this instance, Sen O has made it a single choice because he is so pathetically unqualified. And that's before one even begins to consider his positions and voting record.

Do I love McCain? No. Do I think he is the better choice? Yes.

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Jason Krueger 6 years, 3 months ago

And McCain was so incompetent he crashed 5 aircraft before becoming a POW.

I'm sorry JLM, I'm really trying to see your point but it just seems to scream double standard. If you have an issue w/ Kerry's awards you need to take that up with military heads. Otherwise, his 3 PH and Silver Star are as valid as anyone else's. You have zero right to charge otherwise.

It seems to me you only respect individuals who have calluses on their hands or wear a blue collar because they lack the intellect for anything better. W. was the Gov. of Texas- a complete figurehead position by the Texas's Constitution. His Ivy league education, his National Guard service, his business and political careers were all hand-me-downs from poppy. Correct, W is not running for reelection but McCain has been in lock-step with his policies since W. took office. In other words, W. might as well be running for a 3rd term.

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Jason Krueger 6 years, 3 months ago

JLM- looking back over your comments, the most remarkable part is the compliment you managed to afford Obama, "(He)...Came across as young, fresh, bright as hell..."

You state you are against his liberal policies. Apart from the catch phrase- what is it you hate? Socialized heath care and governmental oversight/regulation I assume. Is that any worse than the current free-for-all and nationalization of our financial system??? Which policies/governing philosophy do you despise so?

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JLM 6 years, 3 months ago

I would neither fly w/ McCain nor ride w/ Teddy Kennedy but I do generally agree with one's politics and disagree with the other's. There is a world of difference in comparing one's qualifications for President and one's politics.

Kerry, interestingly enough, was criticized and damned by his peers --- other Swift boat commanders and officers. Of the approximately 30 with whom he served, 2 were killed, one supported him and the balance thought him to be a piker. There is no more telling critique in the military than one's peers. Junior officers live, drink and fight together and you can smell a phoney from a mile away.

George W was a very, very good Governor of Texas. The top Democrat in the state (Bob Bullock, Lt Gov) endorsed him and donated to him for both his second term as Gov and when he ran for President. This is an unprecedented act of political will. Sen Lieberman's endorsement of John McCain is the only other such dramatic act I can think of.

You will be a long time waiting to get me to defend W as it relates to his financial governance as President; however, that has absolutely nothing to do with this election.

The point is simply --- Obama is woefully unqualified and is a product of one of the sleaziest political machines in history. Take a peak at the press pertaining to his Congressional race against Bobby Rush for an appreciation of how politics is conducted in that cess pool.

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JLM 6 years, 3 months ago

Barack Obama has trotted out the old liberal stalking horses of government funded universal health care, a chicken in every pot, big government, class warfare tax policy, education reform, abortion on demand and anti-military sentiment.

I support health care, not government funded health care. I have provided literally thousands of my employees with health care insurance (health, life, dental, glasses) as a basic benefit of every company I have ever owned or led. My folks pay approximately 15% and I pay 85%. Don't need government to fund it. I do, however, need a business and tax environment which will allow me to make a profit.

The top 5% of taxpayers in America pay approximately 90% of all taxes paid. The rate of taxation on the most productive slice of Americans has become substantially more progressive with the passage of time. Combining Obama's 39.6% with payroll taxes creates an effective rate of almost 50%. That is too high and it is unfair.

Simultaneously, his policies would morph a "credit" into a "refund." Where once upon a time a tax credit was just that a credit against taxes actually owed --- carried back 3 years and forward 5 years --- now it is a refund. Didn't earn enough to actually owe any taxes (that would be almost the bottom 50% of tax payers), the Obama program would send you a check.

This is simple income/wealth redistribution. This is neither the American dream nor free enterprise. This is a socialized welfare state.

The proposed Obama capital gains tax increase from 15% to 28-30% would be effective on the first dollar of profit and would not be indexed for any rate of income. Everybody would pay it. This ill advised policy in the midst of a capital crisis and with effective capital gains tax rates of 0% in many of our most competitive trading partners. China's capital gains rate? 0%! John Kennedy knew that taxing capital was a very bad idea. Obama is not experienced enough to understand that jobs are created by capital flows.

Taxing small businesses --- often sole proprietorships or partnerships or limited liability corporations with flow through tax conduit features --- at individual tax rates prevents the most powerful engine for job creation from building capital to create jobs and grow.

American business corporations pay the highest corporate income taxes in the world among our trading partners and Obama would raise them higher still.

Anyone who was alive on 1 May 1975 understands why it is important that we conclude wars with victory. The danger of a loss in Iraq is unacceptable to the safety of our Nation. The surge has worked even Obama has conceded that point. His judgment on the surge was wrong.

I neither hate nor despise any policy of Obama, I simply disagree on an intellectual and experience basis with his ideas. This is why he is not qualified to be President.

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playa46 6 years, 3 months ago

And I simply disagree with Mccain's ideas on "war". I simply cannot believe he wants to continue the eight years that are destroying the country. JLM, you gave a well researched post about Obama's tax ideas, but look at what the war has done. 4 TRILLION dollars in debt. Why do we have to keep pouring more of our funds into something that has already been "accomplished" as Bush has said. McCain sides with Bush 90% of the time.

Obama wants to raise taxes, but I think it is better for our government to do so, to pull us out of the war and get us back on track with our money. You may believe Obama has no enough experience, but again look at what McCain has done. While Obama made an amazing speech, McCain was busy covering it all up with choosing Sarah Palin as a running mate for V.P. What is the great thing she has done to earn V.P.? Mayor of town with a smaller population than Steamboat, then managing to work her way up to Senator and now McCain has chosen her to be the next V.P, the second most important job in America? I simply don't see it. I have nothing against Palin, I think she is a good senator, but not V.P. I laughed at how she put the plane on eBay, to me it shows she really is thinking about us.

All in all, I couldn't stand Bush and I would hate to have four more years of his decisions. I would much rather perfer Obama in the White House than McCain.

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JLM 6 years, 3 months ago

Where to start?

Well, first, Sarah Palin is a Governor and she is not a Senator. As Gov she has exercised executive decision-making authority, something completely missing in Sen Obama's otherwise "deep" resume. One cannot vote "present" on the big issues of the day if one is a governing executive.

The war (wars actually) is real and one can certainly blame it on Pres Bush. Why not? No argument here on that score. But, it has to be ended and the question is on what basis? Victory or defeat?

With continuing Islamic extremism, the resurgence of the Russians globally and the imminent Iranian nuclear weapon, I would counsel that a lack of resolve is not the right course of action just now. We don't want to encourage any of the delinquents in the neighborhood to stay out past curfew now do we?

The bad resolution of the VN war encouraged all kinds of Russian mischief which is why it took 20 years to resolve the Cold War. Thank you, Ronald Reagan.

Oh, yeah, the surge has apparently worked and victory is in sight. Who counseled against the surge and who recommended it? What would you suggest? Snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Giving back victory, declaring defeat and withdrawing? The right answer? Not so much for me! I'll just opt for victory this time, please.

It is trite to say but there really is no substitute for victory. What do you say we just keep this one and not tell anybody, eh?

It is not quite right to say that McCain sides with Pres Bush 90% of the time or for that matter to say that Obama votes w/ the Democrats 97% of the time. It might be more accurate and illuminating to say that McCain has reached across the aisle 10% of the time while Obama has only reached out 3% of the time. It's the same set of numbers but it is that "optimistic" v "pessimistic" thing, yes?

In the end, experience, victory, wisdom those are all good things. Let's go w/ McCain this time, OK?

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playa46 6 years, 3 months ago

Tell me JLM-

"Victory is in sight?" Please spare me, Al-Qaeda has resorted to guerilla warfare which basically means hit and run tactics. Why is the war taking so long? We can't fight the enemy in front of us, and the war will continue to be fought that way. Victory is not in sight becuase" 1. We cannot find Osama bin Ladin 2. The war will last for a long time due to guerilla warfare 3. We cannot defeat all of Al-Qaeda

Want another example of this kind of war? WWII. We fought Japan over seas and were able to claim all islands except Japan itself. However, if we did not drop the A-Bomb over Hiroshima we would have had 10 more years of fighting (as historians say) due to Japan fighting the way Iraq is doing right now.

What does this mean for us? We'll continue to pile ourselves into a debt that started in 2003 and we will waste many lives in a war that to you republicans is "already accomplished".

And one last thing, it is right when we say McCain has sided with Bush 90% of the time because what have Bush's ideas brought us to?

Have a nice day :)

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JLM 6 years, 2 months ago

When focused on the myriad details of daily governing, it is very difficult to see the big developments because it takes a bit of pause and perspective to see them.

The complete safety of the American continent for 7.5 years in the face of a determined enemy is a huge accomplishment. While there is much left to be done to ensure our safety (in particular ports) the Bush administration has done a flawless job thus far --- keep your fingers crossed. Would you have thought this to be possible on 9-12-2001? I think not.

What is unsaid in the safety issue is the wholehearted and full cooperation of all of our "allies" and their intelligence gathering mechanisms. While these kind of things cannot be spoken of publicly, the world's intelligence agencies are cooperating at a WWIII level on a daily basis. It is probably the key ingredient in the war against terror just now.

The Iraq war decision was based on intelligence which was incontroverted by any intelligence service in the world. Bad intel as it turns out. There is no evidence of any wrongdoing. Remember who was running the CIA? It was still Clinton's guy.

It is difficult for me to get excited about the idea of going to Iraq --- though I must admit to a sense that eliminating despots regularly is a good thang for the world in general --- on a financial basis.

We will look back on the introduction of a couple of democracies into the Middle East as very important milestones in the development of safety and security in that part of the world. These democracies will be appropriate to their part of the world and their own culture --- not American style democracies --- and it may take just a bit of time for them to need or develop the ACLU.

In an odd twist, the identification and emergence of Iran as a known state sponsor of terrorism has provided a huge service to the world and has marshalled the world's attention on a very, very dangerous situation. Iran cannot hide behind its cloak any longer.

All tyrants eventually use their "toys." One of the reasons Saddam Hussein should never have been allowed to amass 3000 tanks and why Iran should not be allowed to have nuc-u-leeeer weapons.

The military has created huge advances in technology and warfighting. The advent of the Predator has changed the air force in such a manner that it can discretely decide whether to risk a pilot in the identification and acquisition of important targets and now can use the same technology at a very attractive price point to neutralize enemy targets with pinpoint accuracy. No human risk, long time on station, incredible optic and infrared target acquisition accuracy, pinpoint weapons delivery accuracy, the ability for almost infinetely broader mission tasking and very low comparative cost. This will ultimately change things on the magnitude of GPS.

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JLM 6 years, 2 months ago

No objective, honest, informed observer would fail to recognize that the war in Iraq is headed toward victory.

Fair question to ask what a "victory" might look like (in case it shows up unexpectedly) but nonetheless the inability to recognize it at first glance does not mean it is not happening.

Call what you might like --- guerilla warfare, insurgency --- but it all gets down to evil doers who need killing and good guys who have to oblige them. Find 'em, fix 'em, kill 'em.

I could bore you with the details of the differences. Guerilla warfare is characterized by "organized" resistance in military or paramilitary units which may not be indigenous to the area which may seek to control terrain and which in modern times typically have an outside source of military support or supply.

Insurgency is characterized by a general rebellion or insurection against an organzed government by an indigenous population which seeks to change the form of government.

The situation in Iraq has characteristics of both --- Iranian support, local rebellion by ethnic groups --- while adding in a peculiar element of terrorism (tactical) and foreign fighters whose only interest is in opposing the Great Satan rather than furthering any Iraqi related cause.

We want foreign fighters like the 9-11 sky pilots to go pick a fight with the Marines or Army in Iraq. We should pay their air travel expenses --- they would only need one way tickets. Notice how unfashionable "jihad" has become lately. The retirement plan is not so good.

.

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JLM 6 years, 2 months ago

continued ---

Our military --- the best Army, Marines, Air Force, Navy in our Nation's history --- has engaged with any type of bad guy who has come forward to offer battle and beat them pretty badly.

Decapitating, video making terrorists --- dead and buried. Al Qaeda in Iraq --- gone. Entrenched city fighters in Fallujah --- dead and buried. Hell, they held a 10K in Fallujah recently. Illegal border crossings pouring foreign fighters into Al Anbar province --- closed.

The Iraqi Army is now able to control 11 of 18 provinces, with 5 in joint control and 2 under exclusive American control. The Kurds in the north have had their autonomous portion under control for a long time.

One of the big challenges has been and will continue to be to develop an Iraqi military and police presence to fight bad buys and to police the neighborhood. The new military and police units will have a spotty record until they have been blooded and have gained the confidence that they can prevail. But Iraqi blood and treasure will replace American blood and treasure.

More electricity is flowing, more water is flowing, more schools are open, more public facilities are open than in the country's history. Oil is flowing and commerce has begun again. Elections are no longer a novelty with greater turnouts than in America. Hell, real estate developers are beginning to develop resort facilities. The nation of Iraq is running an operating surplus and has money in the bank.

The American military presence is still required --- not a whole lot different than our presence on the DMZ in Korea since 1953. Big difference is that we do not have a "border" to protect as the "border" is within the country rather than on the outside. We were actively shooting across the DMZ at N Korea well into the late 1970s and they were sending infiltrators south to Seoul regularly. One can become a member of the VFW for Korean service through the end of the 1970s for service north of the Imjin up on the Z.

American combat losses have slowed considerably. We are now approaching annual losses which approximate murder rates for "modern" American cities.

The Iraqis are ready to contemplate a future without the American "insurance policy" in place.

They let Gen Petreaus --- the Lion of Baghdad --- come home to Tampa and assume command of Centcom. His command has been the biggest reason for the change in fortunes and he was President Bush's hand picked selection over more senior Generals.

That's what victory looks like. There is more work to be done but pulling out was not the right decision. The surge worked.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 2 months ago

After all that, what about Bin Laden...the guy we're were told we'd get "dead or alive?" You make a great case for Iraq...the country that had nothing to do with our being attacked on 9-11. What about Afghanistan and Bin Laden, though? Just think: had we attacked Mexico or Canada after Pearl Harbor instead of Germany and Japan, we might have been on the road to Victory in WWII a lot quicker.

Ah, the far-right keep selling the talking points. This is what's wrong with my party- we're just as full of people with blinders as the far-left, but can't admit it the same as the other side. This is why we'll lose this election, too: Trust with the American People.

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Jason Krueger 6 years, 2 months ago

Matthew- i'm not a Republican but you hit upon an EXCELLENT point. Although I disagree with many of the RNC beliefs, what is so infuriating is their absolute refusal to ever admit any of their policies fail. Dems. seem far more willing to admit when they screwed up. In some ways the RNC is amazing in their ability to "circle the wagons" and all blurt out the same lines of bull regardless of the facts around them. Just as a side note, can someone tell me ONE success that Bush and the Republicans can claim in the past 8 years (wars, hurricane relief, economy, diplomacy, no child left behind, unemployment...anything???)

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 2 months ago

Jason- The Republicans can still say that with the Dems support, they did go into Afghanistan right away to try to find Bin Laden. It's just they also screwed up and somehow found away to bring Iraq into it, negating any good that happened in Afghanistan. Remember though: Democrats went along with the autho to invade Iraq, because they believed that it would be unpatriotic to do not invade. No matter what a mistake invading Iraq was, the only good outcome is that we no longer have to worry about Saddam Hussein. He needed to be taken care of a long time ago, but since it had waited this long, it could have waited longer. We went in with bad intel, and stuck to it. Had we waited and built up just a little more intel, we might have had better support from more than a fairly weak "coalition of the willing."

The Republicans can also say that they did indeed preside over a nice growth time period and saw a great economy for a few years. This time, it was real estate. Last time, during Clinton, it was tech stocks. The Republicans just didn't learn from the last bubble that burst and the Dems didn't help. We also had some of the lowest numbers for unemployment to be proud of. Unfortunately, this was another bubble that burst.

This is why both sides are complacent in our current woes and neither can say they are above partisanship most times. McCain used to have my respect when he ran for Pres 8yrs ago, and I wish he'd have beaten Bush back then. I think we'd be in a completely different (and not worse) situtation. I think McCain would have waited on Iraq had it been him in the Oval Office. Now, he says he'd rather win a war than an election, but shows it by catering solely to his base instead of the independents...just so he can win the election. Turns out, it may not work.

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