Friday, December 17, 2004

Did John McCain really think his embrace of Bush during the campaign would inoculate him against gutter attacks from the right? Well, a couple of days ago he uttered harsh words about Donald Rumsfeld, and here's a little retaliation:

Iraq Vet: McCain Snubbed the Troops

An Iraq war veteran who was part of the original invasion force went public yesterday with allegations that Sen. John McCain snubbed the troops when he visited the front lines during the early days of the occupation - while noting that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld routinely met with GIs during repeated visits to the war zone.

Identified only by his first name, Iraq GI Dan described the McCain visit during an unsolicited call to Sean Hannity's ABC Radio Network broadcast - saying he was upset that the Arizona Republican was accusing Rumsfeld of being oblivious to the concerns of troops on the ground.

"I had to let you know about this because I really don't think too many people know," the GI caller told Hannity. "McCain comes over and we do this whole big reception thing. It's 140-something degrees out. Soldiers are standing at attention outside, waiting for this guy to come."

The Iraq vet said that when McCain finally arrived, he "[didn't] say a single word to any of the soldiers."

Instead, said GI Dan, McCain spent "about five minutes at our safehouse there. And then he leaves - he didn't talk to a single soldier that was actually there. ... He didn't ask a single one of us anything."

The Iraq GI said it's much different when Rumsfeld visits Iraq.

"Every time [he] has gone over there - whether it's Afghanistan, Iraq, wherever - he's always made a point of talking to as many soldiers as he can; from a private, a low-ranking soldier, all the way up [the chain of command]."...

Oh, sure, this is just NewsMax and talk radio. It's not a big story -- except, surely, to the harcore Republican base, which pays a lot of attention to these sources (especially Hannity, the Fox News star), and which will decide who survives the '08 primary season. "GI Dan" could be nothing more than a pink-cheeked GOP intern whose principal exposure to war has been on a PlayStation -- but I'm sure he has more credibility with the Republican base as a war hero than a guy who spent nearly ten percent of his life in the Hanoi Hilton.

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