It is official, Jim Webb, a novice Senator, a Vietnam veteran, a former Republican, and an advocate against the Iraq war is expected to deliver the Democratic rebuttal to the President's carefully crafted speech, The State of the Union.
Thus far, the newer members of Congress, and as always, the incumbents under whelm my sensibility. Jim Webb is no exception. Senator Webb has a lifelong history of military achievements. While impressive to some, these cause me to wonder. Is he truly antiwar, or only against this battle. Acknowledging that he was once a solid Republican and remained stalwart for a long time, I have reasons to doubt that Jim Webb will speak for me. Nevertheless, for most of America, he is better than Bush, though who is not.
We might compare the two and then assess for ourselves. Unlike George W. Bush whose service and student records are of questionable quality, Senator Webb offers an impressive resume. There is quite a contrast. This citizen-soldier was
First in his class of 243 at the Marine Corps Officer's Basic School in Quantico, Virginia. Jim served with the Fifth Marine Regiment in Vietnam, where as a rifle platoon and company commander in the infamous An Hoa Basin west of Danang he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star Medal, two Bronze Star Medals, and two Purple Hearts. He later served as a platoon commander and as an instructor in tactics and weapons at Marine Corps Officer Candidates School, and then as a member of the Secretary of the Navy's immediate staff, before leaving the Marine Corps in 1972.Democrats are proud to have this honorable man to speak for their cause.
Many elite Congressional Representatives and Cabinet members would not endorse or allow their children to enter the Armed Forces. Jim Webb's and his son stay true to their family tradition. The junior Webb is a Marine stationed in Iraq. The father is proud of his offspring and shows this actively.
The Webbs are a family of Marines: Jim, his brother, and father all wore the birdie and ball. Jim's son, a Marine expecting deployment this summer to Iraq, recently asked why Jim's primary opponent wears cowboy boots, as "there are no cowboys in Virginia." In a show of support and solidarity with his son, James now wears his son's desert combat boots. He suggests others standing in solidarity with our courageous military but not supporting the Iraqi invasion do so, too.
Whereas George W. Bush has not fought on the front lines, politically or personally until he was anointed President of the United States, Senator Webb has an impression record.
In government, Jim served in the U.S. Congress as counsel to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs from l977 to l98l, becoming the first Vietnam veteran to serve as a full committee counsel in the Congress. In 1982 he first proposed, then led the fight for, including an African American soldier in the memorial statue that now graces the Vietnam Veterans memorial on the National Mall. In 1984, he was appointed the inaugural Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, where he traveled extensively in, and worked closely with, our NATO allies. As the Assistant Secretary, he directed considerable research and analysis of the U.S. military's mobilization capabilities. In 1987, he became the first Naval Academy graduate in history to serve in the military and later be appointed Secretary of the Navy. He resigned as Naval Secretary in 1988 after refusing to agree to a reduction of the Navy's force structure during congressionally-mandated budget cutting.This is the testimonial evidence that demonstrates, this man might know of what he speaks! As George W. Bush works to convince the public, that all the killing in Iraq is necessary, even justified, Senator Webb will satisfy the belief that it is not.
Among Jim's many other awards for community service and professional excellence are the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, the Medal of Honor Society's Patriot Award, the American Legion National Commander's Public Service Award, the VFW's Media Service Award, the Marine Corps League's Military Order of the Iron Mike Award, the John Russell Leader-ship Award, and the Robert L. Denig Distinguished Service Award. He was a Fall 1992 Fellow at Harvard's Institute of Politics.
The American people, once paralyzed by the propaganda the Administration fed them have found their power. They elected Senators and Congresspersons they think will serve their needs and speak to their desires. Jim Webb has a history of standing up for what he believes in, regardless of what is expected or deemed "appropriate" by the powers that be. This man does his research and does not rely on fallacious facts. He is a maverick that is willing to present a meaningful message. His fellow Senators trust he will.
Senators know a majority of Americans want out of Iraq; so too does this seasoned veteran and novice Senator, James Webb of Virginia. You go Jim! We citizens of the United States are with you. I may not trust that you can deliver on all that I think vital; nevertheless, if you can help bring our boys and girls home, I will be grateful.
See the sources; Jim Webb, Senator and rebuttal speaker . . .