Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Friday | September 05, 2003

Zinni rocks the house

So what does it mean when a retired, decorated general gets a "prolonged" ovation from current military officers?

In an impassioned speech to several hundred Marine and Navy officers and others, [retired Marine Gen. Anthony C.] Zinni invoked the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in the 1960s and '70s. "My contemporaries, our feelings and sensitivities were forged on the battlefields of Vietnam, where we heard the garbage and the lies, and we saw the sacrifice," said Zinni, who was severely wounded while serving as an infantry officer in that conflict. "I ask you, is it happening again?"

Underscoring how much his views have changed since 2000 [when he endorsed Bush], he implied that the Bush administration is now damaging the U.S. military in the way that Bush and Vice President Cheney during that campaign charged that the Clinton administration had done. "We can't go on breaking our military and doing things like we're doing now," he said.

We're witnessing a profound cultural change within our military's officer ranks. There is a sudden realization that things were pretty good under the last Democratic president, and that Bush has made a profound mess of things. Under Clinton, all they had to worry about was gays in the military. Now, they have to worry about dead comrades, shattered lives, broken families, and an administration that gives lip service to our men and women in uniform while ignoring their real needs.

It won't be their votes that will matter next year. It'll be their voices -- helping dispel the notion that only Republicans can protect our republic from our enemies. It will be the realization, promoted by these same officers, that Democrats are able stewards of our nation's defenses, and will be more careful about plunging our nation into unecessary, expensive and bloody conflicts.

My good friend at TalkLeft has more.

Posted September 05, 2003 11:18 AM | Comments (141)


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