Carol Platt Liebau: Text of Max Cleland's Remarks

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Text of Max Cleland's Remarks

As I noted yesterday, this was a disgrace. Read it for yourself -- and many thanks to reader Peter for the link to the text!

Using quotes in yesterday's post around the words "psychological" and "concern" may have given some readers the impression that Senator Cleland used these terms verbatim. To be clear, he didn't (that's why it's helpful to have a copy of the remarks, rather than relying on one's recollection from driving around in the car).

Here's how he approached the topic of soldier psychology:

"A quarter of a million American servicemen and women have returned to our country to face an uncertain future. They bring with them the horrors and pain of a war with no end."
. . .

"We should be expanding VA healthcare - especially counseling for veterans and their families dealing with the emotional aftermath of war.

The toll on the serviceman and women in a war where a distinct majority of the casualties are due to explosive devices is especially devastating."

The clear implication of his assertions about soldiers suffering "the horrors and pain" of war, the need for "counseling," and the charge that the toll of war is somehow more "devastating" when soldiers witness casualties because of "explosive devices" all indicates that former Senator Cleland is talking about psychological matters -- and that was my clear sense in hearing (rather than reading) the address.

Please read the remarks for yourself, and judge whether you think they are constructive and well-meaning -- albeit critical -- or simply an effort, intentional or not, to do nothing more than drive down support for the President and the war for political ends.

Again, I honor Senator Cleland's service in the Vietnam War -- as I respect Senator McCain's. But even valorous service like his doesn't mean he is immune from criticism when he is (in my opinion) wrong about subsequent matters. After all, Aaron Burr served with distinction in the Revolutionary War, then made some disastrous choices after. Of course, one would never equate Senators Cleland or McCain with Aaron Burr . . . the point is that brave military service doesn't mean that a political figure becomes magically shielded from either mistakes or accountability for them in perpetuity thereafter.


Blogger Poison Pero said...

Thank you for your service, and your sacrifice was great, Mr. Cleland.......But you sir, are a disgrace.

Thx for pointing this out Carol.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

I was one of those concerned by quotations around the word physchological, and I called on you to apologize to your readers for misleading them. Reading your comments, Carol, I understand why you used that phrase. I was wrong. I am sorry that I criticized you unfairly.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarifiedrules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our overextended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today.--Tom Delay

President Clinton is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed orces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy.-- Rick Santorum

How dare Max Cleland, a decorated Viet Nam veteran, question the President of the United States when we have troops in the field? That form of behavior should be the privilege of those who chose not to serve their country when they had the chance.

Pot, kettle, black, Ms. Liebau.

10:20 PM  

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