CURT WELDON ATTEMPTS TO SWIFTBOAT JOE SESTAK
My next Saturday Blue America guest at Firedoglake is going to be Eric Massa. That's 2PM (East Coast time; 11AM on the West Coast) this coming Saturday. I had a couple of great preliminary talks with Eric today and at one point he launched into a heated tirade about Karl Rove and the other puppeteers Bush has surrounded himself with. This one was personal. "All they know how to do is smear people in the military. Any why? Because they have never served in the military." Eric is a veteran of 24 years of active duty in the U.S. Navy have served in the Middle East, Kosovo, Panama and as the Special Assistant to General Wes Clark when he was Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces. Like all decorated American fighting men who speak out against Bush's criminal and unconstitutional excesses, Eric will be attacked and swiftboated by Rove and the Republican far right smear machine led by the likes of craven and cowardly chickenhawks like Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney and Bill O'Reilly. But today he was coming to the defense of another fighting Dem, Admiral Joe Sestak, being smeared by a cowardly Republican slimebucket, Curt Weldon.
I'll get into the whole story in a moment. But I want to make it clear that I'm not one of these people who thinks just because someone served in the military, that makes them more fit for public office than anyone else. I've run across veterans whose military service had enhanced their ability to serve the public, like Rick Penberthy, Chris Murphy, Jack Murtha, John Laesch, Joe Sestak and, of course Eric Massa, and I've run across veterans who have come out of the military completely unsuited for politics. Look no further than Republican extremist Randy "Duke" Cunningham for an example.
Few congressional candidates offer America a better opportunity for improving our government than Joe Sestak, a 31 year veteran of the Navy who retired as a Vice Admiral and is now running against a corrupt rubber stamp nutcase in southeast Pennsylvania. Joe served 6 sea tours with units of the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets during which he made seven deployments to Europe, the Persian Gulf and the western and South Pacific. As the Battle Group Commander, he led an international coalition force of 30 U.S. and allied ships and 15,000 sailors, exercising command of combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as senior diplomatic engagements throughout Southwest Asia, Europe and Africa.
So what does a sleazy Republican do to counter a sterling record like this? Swiftboat time! Today I got this media release from Veterans for Sestak:
Media, PA - Today, members of Veterans for Sestak made the following statements on the outrageous swift boat attacks on Democratic candidate and former Vice Admiral Joe Sestak.
Tom Clay, co-chair of Veterans for Sestak, said: "As a retired service member who grew up in Springfield, Joe was invited by the Springfield American Legion, of which he is a member, to attend
the Memorial Day events in Springfield - which included memorial services. The U.S. Navy Uniform
Regulations clearly state that former Navy service members are allowed to wear their uniform at memorial services. Joe reported to the US Naval Academy at the age of 18, after graduating from Cardinal O'Hara High School. He then went on to serve his country honorably for 31 years, and it is
absolutely shameful that anyone would attempt to dishonor that service."
Rocco Polidoro, a Republican co-chair of Veterans for Sestak, and the Commander of a local veterans group said, "Obviously, Curt Weldon needs to be educated on the rules and regulations of the military. This comes as no surprise considering that Curt has never worn the uniform of the United
States military. As a Republican, I can safely say that Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan would be turning in their graves if they knew that Curt Weldon would be using this as another desperate attempt to swift boat a man who served his country for 31 years."
Jerry Gavin, a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 67, Delaware County said, "Former Vice Admiral Sestak, who is a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 67, Delaware County, participated in the Marcus Hook Memorial Day events with other members of the Delaware County Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America. He was also asked to be a speaker and to read the names of the Navy service members from Delaware County who were killed in Vietnam. As someone who was myself wounded in Vietnam, it put tears in my eyes to hear Admiral
Sestak read the names of those who had given the ultimate sacrifice. For anyone to criticize him for
participating in non-political Memorial Day activities is deeply upsetting."
According to the U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations:
U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations, 1401.3.b(2)
(2) Former Members of the Armed Forces. Unless discussed in DOD Directive
1334.1 or Title 10 U.S. Code Sec. 772, former members who served honorably
during a war and whose most recent service was terminated under honorable
conditions, may wear the uniform of the highest grade held during their
service only on the following occasions and during travel related to those
(a) Military funerals, memorial services, weddings and inaugurals.
Just the way Weldon's disgraceful and vicious campaign attempted to smear Joe and his family when their daughter was in the hospital, the rotund bag of excrement sent out a vile press release last week claiming Admiral Sestak has no respect for the uniform of this country. Even if one was made big enough for Weldon-- or if two of three could be stitched together to accommodate his gluttonous bulk-- this is a man who has studiously avoid serving anyone or anything ever in his life other than himself. Read this 2-legged swine's press release yourself:
PA GOP: SESTAK'S GOT NO R-E-S-P-E-C-T FOR UNIFORM
Violates Military Uniform Code by wearing uniform while campaigning,
Wears officer's uniform that does not match rank at which he retired
HARRISBURG - Republican State Committee Executive Director Scott Migli today questioned Joe Sestak, Democratic candidate in Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District, for his repeated violations of federal law and U.S. Navy regulations as it relates to appropriate conduct for the wearing of military uniforms. Those violations include wearing his uniform while engaged in campaign activities and wearing a uniform that displays a rank above what the grade at which he retired from service.
"Joe Sestak's improper use of the military uniform for partisan campaign activities demonstrates a lack of respect for the uniform," said Migli. "You would never catch a veteran like Senator John McCain, or even Senator John Kerry for that matter, wearing their military uniform while on the campaign trail or inflating the rank at which they retired. The fact that Joe Sestak would stoop this low shows how desperate he is for attention."
Title 10, Subtitle A, Part 2 Chapter 45 Section 772 specifically states that retired military officers are only permitted to "bear the title and wear the uniform of his retired grade." Although he retired at the grade of a two star admiral, candidate Sestak has been photographed in the district wearing the uniform of a three star admiral, a clear violation of federal law. (Photograph available upon request).
Sestak, after declaring his candidacy has also worn his Navy uniform to various campaign events, including a parade in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania that he took part in and distributed campaign materials at, in support of his candidacy. Chapter 6, Section 10, Article 61002 of the United States Navy Uniform Regulations specifically states that "Retired personnel are prohibited from wearing the uniform in connection with personal enterprises, business activities, or while attending or participating in any demonstration, assembly or activity for the purpose of furthering personal or partisan views on political, social, economic, or religious issues."
"The only reason Joe Sestak took part in that parade is because he is an announced candidate and he was there in an attempt to attract votes," said Migli. "There is no excuse for that type of behavior. Everyone who has ever served in the military knows that there are very specific rules related to conduct that is appropriate in a military uniform. You wear the uniform of the rank at which you retired. You don't smoke or drink while in public in uniform. And you don't campaign while in uniform. Joe Sestak has demonstrated a complete lack of respect for these rules and the uniform itself."
Michael J Barley
Deputy Political Director
Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania
301 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Whether it's General Shinseki, Jack Murtha, John Kerry, Eric Massa or Joe Sestak, any Democrat who has stood up and fought for our country when these Republican cowards have avoided service, who dares to oppose the GOP's extremism and greed-based politics, can expect to be swiftboated and smeared. All Americans, regardless of party affiliation, are getting sick of the slurs and disrespect and the lies and slander. Curt Weldon should be put out to pasture so he will finally stop harming America.
THURSDAY UPDATE: TAYLOR MARSH PUTS CURT WELDON IN HIS PLACE
When it comes to military matters and foreign affairs, the first place I look on the Internet is at the brilliant and insightful blog by Taylor Marsh. Today her bareknuckle, steely-eyed analysis of Curt Weldon's disgraceful swiftboat attack on Joe Sestak is the definitive word on the subject.