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Monday, February 16, 2004

An Ann Coulter Admirer No More

I used to be a great fan of Ann Coulter. Beutiful, smart, articulate. But in the last couple of years, she has been slipping farther and farther to insanity. Her vile language toward anyone who disagrees with her started to annoy me. Her book praising Senator McCarthy, that pretty much sent me over the land. And now, an excerpt from one of her latest columns:

Cleland lost three limbs in an accident during a routine non-combat mission where he was about to drink beer with friends. He saw a grenade on the ground and picked it up. He could have done that at Fort Dix. In fact, Cleland could have dropped a grenade on his foot as a National Guardsman - or what Cleland sneeringly calls 'weekend warriors.' Luckily, for Cleland's political career and current pomposity about Bush, he happened to do it while in Vietnam."

But he didn't "give his limbs for his country," or leave them "on the battlefield." There was no bravery involved in dropping a grenade on himself with no enemy troops in sight. That could have happened in the Texas National Guard - which Cleland denigrates while demanding his own sanctification.

Besides being patently false, these statements are horribly insulting and out of line. As for their veracity, this is from the Washington Post.

"On April 8, 1968, during the siege of Khe Sanh, he stepped off a helicopter and saw a grenade at his feet. He thought he'd dropped it. He was wrong. When he reached down to pick it up, it exploded, ripping off both legs and his right hand. He was 25."

He returned home to Georgia in December 1969. "I had no job, no girlfriend, no car, no hope," he says. "I figured this is a good time to run for the state Senate. And politics became my therapy, forcing me to get out of the house and be seen."

In 1970, at 28, he became the youngest person ever elected to the Georgia Senate. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed him to head the Veterans Administration. In 1982, he was elected as Georgia's secretary of state. In 1996 he was elected to the U.S. Senate, defeating businessman Guy Millner in a very close race."

Coulter went on in the column to demand that people "should stop allowing [Cleland to be] portrayed as a war hero"

Ok, the grenade thing was perhaps not terribly heroic, but he wasn't drunk and screwing around. He was there (you weren't Ann) and he took the risks. As to Clelan not being heroit, four days before the grenade incident, Cleland made some actions which would later earn him the Silver Star, one of the highest honors for bravery. The congressional citation which came with the medal specifically said that during a "heavy enemy rocket and mortar attack Captain Cleland, disregarding his own safety, exposed himself to the rocket barrage as he left his covered position to administer first aid to his wounded comrades. He then assisted in moving the injured personnel to covered positions." The citation concluded, "Cleland's gallant action is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army."

Now that sounds heroic.

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