David Broder’s Smear on Democrats and The Military

As I linked to a recent David Broder column in my last post, I feel I should make it clear that finding a quote I agreed with in one column certainly does not signify any agreement with him as to other comments. Specifically, the comment which I particularly find objectionable is in this coverage of the DNC meeting:

One of the losers in the weekend oratorical marathon was retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who repeatedly invoked the West Point motto of “Duty, Honor, Country,” forgetting that few in this particular audience have much experience with, or sympathy for, the military.

Oliver Willis was there and provides a more reliable account of the event:

That’s just a boldfaced lie by Broder, no two ways about it. I happened to be in attendance at the speech in question, just a stone’s throw away from General Clark when he gave it. What David Broder is saying here is an absolute lie. The crowd in attendance stood on their feet, clapped their hands loudly and strongly time and time again when speakers – including Gen. Clark – invoked the service and sacrifice of America’s fighting men and women.

In fact, in the very speech Broder cites as his reasoning for Democrats not supporting the military, Gen. Clark asked for a moment of silence (see the video here) to reflect on the sacrifices being made by the troops currently serving. The auditorium was silent, and many bowed their heads in prayer.

John from AMERICAblog was also there:

I was at the DNC meeting this past weekend, and unlike David Broder, it wasn’t clear to me at all that the overwhelming majority of the audience had “no sympathy” for the military. In fact, General Clark was MOBBED the entire time he was there. I was due to interview him, and it took a good 20 minutes for him to walk 20 feet to our camera because the crowd wouldn’t leave him alone. And not because they didn’t feel any “empathy” for him. They loved him.

While Republicans claim to be the big supporters of the military, it is the Democrats in office who are more likely to have served. It is the Democrats who repeatedly are the ones who support benefits for veterans, often over the objections of Republicans. In contrast, it is Republicans who have sent the troops to risk their lives, without even being willing to provide adequate supplies, on a mission which cannot succeed as planned. It is also Republicans who show lack of respect for the military when they smear veterans such as John Kerry and John Murtha with their lies. Joe Conason examined Republican smears on Democrats and the true war record of Republicans in a chapter of his book Big Lies entitled Male Cheerleaders and Chicken Hawks.

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