Rep. Joe Walsh is a coward. Not because he's never served in the U.S. military, but because he's so egregiously picked on a woman who did, and who lost both her legs defending America's freedom. Freedoms which have given Walsh the inalienable right to attack a true hero like Tammy Duckworth.
Duckworth is a 20-year veteran, earning the rank of Lt. Colonel. In 2004 her legs were amputated after the Blackhawk helicopter she was co-piloting in Iraq was shot down with rocket-propelled grenades by insurgents. The attack almost destroyed her right arm as well. She'd chosen to pilot helicopters because few other combat roles are open to women. It Her service earned her multiple military awards including a Purple Heart, an Air Medal and an Army Commendation Medal. She currently serves in the Illinois National Guard along with her husband, Major Bryan W. Bowlsbey, also an Iraq War veteran. She hails from a military family. She's a Daughter of the American Revolution and her father is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Upon her return from combat she embarked on a mission to improve benefits for servicemen and women, serving as the Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and as director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.
Walsh, who Duckworth is now battling for his Illinois 8th Congressional district seat, has never served in the military and has never done a single thing for veterans. But that didn't stop this Republican blowhard chicken-hawk from attacking her patriotism and impugning her record.
The Tea Party freshman, speaking at a Town Hall meeting in Elk Grove this week, called Sen. John McCain a "noble hero" because he was reluctant to discuss his military service while campaigning in 2008, unlike Duckworth: “Now I’m running against a woman who, my God, that’s all she talks about. Our true heroes, the men and women who served us, it’s the last thing in the world they talk about.”
"I have so much respect forwhat she did in the fact that she sacrificed her body for this country,” he continued, as he lowered his voice and leaned in dramatically. “Ehhh. Now let’s move on....What else has she done? Female, wounded veteran … ehhh."
This sort of ugly, reprehensible attack on Democratic veterans is nothing new for these Republican cowards. Remember Georgia Rep. Saxby Chambliss's despicable smear of his opponent, Rep. Max Cleland, a decorated war hero and triple amputee? Saxby never served either. He dodged Vietnam through student deferments and a medical deferment for bad knees caused by a football injury. And remember the swift-boating of John Kerry in 2004? His five medals and two volunteer tours in Vietnam's treacherous Mekong Delta was apparently less patriotic than George W. Bush's missing year in the Texas Air National Guard or Dick Cheney's five deferments.
There was a time when the uniform of the American soldier was simply green, not blue or red. Military service was sacred; highly revered, respected and 100% of-limits from political attack. But sadly that's changed. Politics has become such a filthy dirty business that nothing is off-limits anymore. It's in that now-acceptable framework that a coward like Walsh feels entitled and empowered to attack a hero like Duckworth. What's even more reprehensible is the fact that many Americans condone this shameful behavior and reward it with their votes.
Having recently celebrated Memorial Day, where we honor those who died serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, and in a week where we're commemorating America's independence, Walsh's smear of Duckworth is an especially cheap, detestable, contemptible attack not just on her but on the entire U.S. military and anyone who's honorably served and bravely defended our great nation.