“Vietnam Veteran Reacts to Challenges by ‘People With 5 Deferments'” — that New York Times subhead pretty much captures the problem with Rep. John Murtha’s bombshell press conference yesterday. Evidently, Murtha fought in Vietnam so that elected officials who did not would have no standing under our Constitution.
Dana Milbank, who from all indications never served in the military either, nevertheless joins in to attack Republican critics of Murtha who do not “have military service on [their] resume…” (even while saving his cheapest shot for a Republican congressman who is an Army veteran). Suddenly Milbank has great respect for Murtha, an obscure hawk “whose brand of hawkishness has never been qualified by the word ‘chicken.'” Milbank confidently declares that Murtha “has long served as Democrats’ conscience on military matters because of his moral authority on the subject.” But how would Milbank know? Today’s column is the first time he has ever bothered to mention Murtha.