The Commander-in-Chief Hates the Troops, Part XXVII
Republicans put some effort into painting presidential candidate Barack Obama as an insufficient friend of American soldiers, with Exhibit A being his decision not to visit wounded soldiers in Germany. Once Obama became commander-in-chief, it became harder to argue that he hated his own troops. But the Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremism gave them an opening, and by willfully misreading what the report says about veterans (that they are targets for militia recruitment) they are impugning Obama’s support of veterans. From The Associated Press:
“The department is engaging in political and ideological profiling of people who fought to keep our country safe from terrorism, uphold our nation’s immigration laws, and protect our constitutional right to keep and bear arms,” said Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla.,
Texas Rep. Lamar Smith [R-Texas] accused the department of painting “law-abiding Americans, including war veterans, as ‘extremists.’”
Indiana Rep. Steve Buyer, the ranking Republican on the House Veterans’ Affairs committee, said it was “inconceivable” that the administration would consider military veterans a potential terrorist threat.
I wonder what Smith thinks of his own governor’s threat to leave the union? Anyway: the AP calls this out for the spin that it is.
Glen M. Gardner Jr., national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, disputed claims that Homeland Security analysts were describing veterans as terror threats.
“The report should have been worded differently, but it made no blanket accusation that every soldier was capable of being a traitor like Benedict Arnold, or every veteran could be a lone wolf, homegrown terrorist like Timothy McVeigh,” said Gardner, a Marine veteran from Round Rock, Texas. “It was just an assessment about possibilities that could take place.”
Matthew Yglesias often argues that Republicans are more worried about accusations of racism than actual racism, and I think that’s a bit much, but Republicans do have a tendency to think that American soldiers are easily offended ninnies who faint whenever someone offends them. Even when nobody actually offended them! In this case, that’s taking the form of lying to soldiers and telling them that their commander-in-chief thinks they’re terrorists.