The rebuke from fellow Republicans that followed Donald Trump's remarks regarding Sen. John McCain's war service was not unexpected ("McCain: Donald Trump owes apology to veterans, not to me," July 20). The "Don" was gaining too much traction in the polls for his candid and colorful remarks and was beginning to separate himself from the disjointed Republican field.

But despite their supposed pride in our military, Republicans have a history at taking shots at our war heroes. One has only to recall the "Swift-boaters" who derailed John Kerry's presidential aspirations. Of course none of the 2,500 members of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were ever on the boats for the events for which Mr. Kerry was awarded his multiple medals and their testimony was subsequently disavowed. Didn't matter.

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Only Senator McCain came to Mr. Kerry's defense. The rest of the Republican Party stood mute.

Or the attack by Saxby Chambliss (handpicked by the Republican Senate committee for the 2002 Georgia race) on Sen. Max Cleland, a triple amputee who was awarded a bronze and silver star. Mr. Chambliss vilified Senator Cleland for "failing to defend the constitution" and ran ads featuring Mr. Cleland with Osama Bin laden. Again, Senator McCain spoke out with Chuck Hagel in support, but they were the only voices heard in the Republican wilderness.

And lest we think this is an aberration of history, one has only to look at Joe McCarthy's savage attack on Gen. George Marshall, the U.S. Army's chief of staff during World War II, accusing him of "losing China" and "a conspiracy so immense as to dwarf any venture in the history of man." As well as the 50-plus American vets who were blacklisted in Hollywood by the House Un-American Activities Committee for basically being liberal Americans.

Yes, Republicans love their vets and war heroes. Just don't get in the way of their political expediency.

Thomas J. Snyder

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