Last week provided a grueling stretch of days for my son. First he visited Bethesda Naval Hospital to see a fellow Marine, who returned from Afghanistan a few weeks ago short of two legs and a hand. The next day, my son was off to Quantico National Cemetery to attend the burial of another Marine buddy. Thankfully, the vile people from Westboro Baptist Church — who revel in appearing at military funerals to express their thanks for roadside bombs — weren’t around. Even lunacy takes a day off, I suppose.
The mention of these things carries no overarching point in its wake. Instead, I bring them up only because they caused me to think about Richard Blumenthal, the attorney general of Connecticut and the man who wishes to move up to the U.S. Senate. He’s also the fellow who served stateside in the Marine Corps Reserve during the Vietnam War, but who led people to believe that he’d seen combat. When caught in the lie, Blumenthal’s first reaction was to declare it was a simple slip of the tongue. Only later did he actually apologize.
I didn’t talk with my son about any of this. As with any war veteran, he endures endless solicitations to offer opinions on such matters, and I don’t wish to be yet somebody else trying to cajole a judgment out of him. Besides, I don’t have the standing to do so. I skipped the military altogether (although not by much, a story best left for another day).
Instead, I would suggest you read this piece by a Washington Post staff writer, who served in Vietnam and who describes the pitiful lies and excuses other men offer when the subject of Vietnam comes up. Blumenthal, it seems, is just the latest in a long parade. He hasn’t asked me for advice, but I’ll give it anyway: Go to Bethesda and do your apologizing there.