Bear with me as I try to figure out this Jim Webb situation. Senator Allen and the mighty GOP cabal are making a big deal about several historical novels written by Jim Webb and endorsed by Senator McCain which depict the horrors of the Vietnam War. The horrors include sexual references and acts which many veterans observed in the war. This somehow proves Jim Webb's lack of character.
Am I getting it so far?
Good. Let's continue.
Senator Allen and many of his fellow right wing parrots never served in Vietnam or in any war for that matter and one of the only Republicans who did in fact serve in Vietnam is actually on the record claiming the book is a vivid depiction of the some of the war's atrocities.
Got it. But wait...
Senator Allen, meanwhile, made a cameo appearance in the awful movie Gods and Generals (far right with mustache). [In the interest of fairness, Stephen Lang, who played Stonewall Jackson, was brilliant.] Gods and Generals, apart from being a preachy love letter to the Confederacy with an editorial pace making it seem only about two minutes shorter than the actual war, contained repeated instances of the word "darkies" to describe African-Americans while glorifying the generals who engaged in what technically amounted to an organized military and political insurrection against the United States. Senator Allen is seen in the movie singing the Bonnie Blue Flag lyric, "Hurrah! Hurrah! For Southern rights, hurrah!" implying, in part, the right to own slaves. Senator Allen, when you boil it right down, portrayed a traitor against the United States. An insurgent, if you will.
Yet few would be insane enough to indict Allen for this, other than his taste in writer/directors. It was a movie about actual events and actual behavior in Virginia during the American Civil War. He was involved in a production which fictionalized actual historical events -- events which included the ugliness of American war. Even after repeated allegations of racism, no-one I can think of has actually made an argument against Allen based on his Gods and Generals appearance. If anything, the Republicans could've made a gigantic hoohah over the fact that Allen appeared in the same scene as "far-left secular progressive" Ted Turner who, by the way, financed the movie and portrayed a Confederate officer.
That said, Senator Allen has again exposed his own lack of character and, more than anything, his myriad of political weaknesses in this latest desperate smear of his opponent. Allen dressed up in a mustache and butternut uniform and performed in a theatrical account of the Civil War which dramatized, in part, some of the ugliest truths of that era. Webb actually served meritoriously in the Vietnam War and wrote about the ugly truths he witnessed in wartime and its aftermath. Allen pretended to be a soldier, which is as close as he ever came to actual military service, while Webb served bravely and honorably.
Now tell me -- because maybe I'm missing it -- do Senator Allen and his chickenhawk supporters in the wingnut media have a leg to stand on? Does Lynne Cheney, who has written salacious books and whose husband received five deferments from the draft during Vietnam ("Dick did not"), have any right to impugn Jim Webb on CNN? Do the hypocrite roster. It's not too difficult. Check out some of Arnold's movies. Check out what the president and others did while members of Yale's Skull & Bones society.
At the end of the day, the Rove Republicans have once again highlighted how shameless they can truly be. Not only have they brazenly and without remorse attacked the patriotism of decorated veterans like Max Cleland and Senator McCain, but now they're attacking a decorated veteran who wrote about the war. They've ripped these passages out of context for the easily led masses and posted them on Drudge. Then, in the most ridiculous strategic move in this outrageous stratagem, they pooped out Lynne Cheney and dumped her in CNN's lap to perpetuate this trumped up outrage against a Vietnam War veteran.
Now Jim Webb, a well-vetted Reagan appointee, has been forced to defend his stories of the war. Likewise, Michael J. Fox has been forced to defend his Parkinson's symptoms. What kind of party is this which controls our entire government and most of our media right now? It's surely a party which hasn't deserved a single second of that kind of success. And the only reason why they've managed to attain this power is very simply because they're good at "one thing," as Karl Rove quoted from City Slickers this week. That one thing is manipulation. They manipulate you and everyone they encounter through fear, deception and ignorance of the truth. They manipulate good people into defending themselves when no defense would otherwise have been required.
I think I've grasped this now. Thanks for your patience.
A final note to anyone who's written about the atrocities of the Iraq War and who plans to one day serve in politics. Delete now -- especially if there's a chapter about Abu Ghraib containing the phrase "naked men smeared with feces forming a human pyramid." Who knows what brand of futuristic cyberwingnut will try to nail you on it.
Bob Cesca, HuffingtonPost.com