W. Joseph Campbell

Just go, Rambo

In Debunking, New York Times on May 21, 2010 at 6:56 am

At least one Connecticut newspaper is having some fun with the dissembling of U.S. Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal about what he did during the Vietnam War.

The Republican American of Waterbury has taken to calling the brittle, strikingly thin Blumenthal “Rambo,” after the beefy fictional hero of cinematic treatments of the war.

And the newspaper has, with tongue undeniably in cheek, has taken to calling Rambogate” the furor that has erupted over Blumenthal’s periodic false claims to have served in Vietnam.

Blumenthal, the state’s attorney general, received at least five deferments that kept him out of the war before landing a coveted place in the Marine Reserve, which was not deployed to Vietnam.

As the New York Times first reported this week, Blumenthal from time to time  has dissembled about his wartime service. The Stamford Advocate in Connecticut added to the controversy yesterday, recalling that Blumenthal in 2008 falsely and publicly claimed:

“I wore the uniform in Vietnam and many came back to all kinds of disrespect. Whatever we think of war, we owe the men and women of the armed forces our unconditional support.”

The occasion was a Veterans Day parade in November 2008, the newspaper said.

It’s hard to envision how Blumenthal’s candidacy and credibility can survive the damage accompanying such disclosures. The attorney general has acknowledged that he inadvertently “misspoke” on a few occasions about his wartime service.

But these false claims clearly are more serious than an occasional slip of the tongue.

Although he probably won’t, it’s time for Blumenthal to pack it in.

Just go, Rambo.

I remain surprised that more attention hasn’t been devoted to Blumenthal’s  subsidiary fictional claims of having faced abuse and indignities upon his fictional “return” from Vietnam.

As I’ve noted, the news reports quoting Blumenthal as having said veterans were spat upon as they came back from Vietnam should prompt further questions about the senate candidate’s truthfulness.

Serious doubts have been raised over the years about such accounts. And yet, Blumenthal has invoked such claims more than a couple of times.

Perhaps the most thoughtful commentary about the Blumenthal mess appeared in yesterday’s Washington Post. It was written by veteran journalist Henry Allen, himself a former Marine.

Allen wrote:

“Blumenthal didn’t get in trouble for confessing he had ducked Vietnam but for lying that he hadn’t, for saying that he’d served there.

“What demon haunts him and others like him? What inconsolable regret provoked these desperate lies?

“He didn’t have to claim he’d been in Vietnam. He already had the résumé to be a shoo-in candidate. Rich kid, Harvard (editor of the Crimson), reporter at The Washington Post, Yale Law School (editor of the law journal), almost two decades as attorney general, the perfect knowledge-class candidate of the kind favored by modern Democrats. (In looks, however, he does bear an unsettling resemblance to disgraced former New York governor Eliot Spitzer.)”

Yes, more Spitzer than Rambo.

But Rambo ought to go.


Republican American
  1. […] The Post article about Lynch’s supposed heroism, which appeared April 3, 2003, set off an avalanche of similar news coverage in news outlets across the United States and around the world. It was an irresistible, cinematic tale — a waiflike teenager pouring lead into attacking Iraqis, much like a female Rambo. […]

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