First appeared in print in The Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC
Hillary Under Fire
Ode on Hillary in Bosnia
by Orson Scott Card
"We landed under sniper fire!
She told the tale in hopes it meant
Because we know she never lies,
Did drinking too much mocha make her
Oh hush, right-wing conspirators!
But campaign days are oh so long,
How could you think that Hillary lied,
You've heard that what goes up comes down
(Copyright © 2008 by Orson Scott Card. Please duplicate this poem as much as you like, as long as you don't charge for it; but include this copyright notice with it.)
Lying About Military Service
I remember as a kid hearing the story of "Tail-gunner Joe" -- a politician who claimed to be a tailgunner on a bomber during World War II, but, when it turned out not to be true, was turned out of office.
Then I got older and heard all about Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin and "McCarthyism."
Only much later did I realize that the phony Tailgunner Joe and the much-vilified senator McCarthy were the same guy.
And the story I heard about how he wasn't really a tailgunner? Technically true in the sense that it was never his official assignment to be a tailgunner.
But the truth was that as a sitting judge in Wisconsin, he was exempt from military service. He volunteered anyway, and became a first lieutenant in the Marines in August 1942, serving as an intelligence officer for a bomber squadron stationed in the Solomon Islands (James J. Drummey, "The Real McCarthy Record," The New American 11 May 1987).
While so serving, he volunteered to fly as tailgunner on many missions. There are disputes about how many, but the point is he never had to fly any of them. And he received a citation from Admiral Nimitz that stated "He participated in a large number of combat missions, and in addition to his regular duties, acted as aerial photographer.
"He obtained excellent photographs of enemy gun positions, despite intense anti-aircraft fire, thereby gaining valuable information which contributed materially to the success of subsequent strikes in the area.
"Although suffering from a severe leg injury, he refused to be hospitalized and continued to carry out his duties as Intelligence Officer in a highly efficient manner. His courageous devotion to duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of naval service."
You can hate Joe McCarthy for many reasons, but it's flat-out ugly that his enemies attacked his war record so savagely and effectively that the story reached a little kid like I was when I heard it.
He was a true soldier, a volunteer who didn't have to fight; he undertook extremely dangerous work (tailgunner was not a safe place to be in a bomber during combat) and contributed to our struggle against imperial Japan.
Do Combat Records Matter?
Why do I bring this up? Because a genuine war record is a tremendous asset to any candidate for public office. Look how George W. Bush was vilified for not having been serious enough about his limited military duties during the Vietnam War (including Dan Rather's attempt to smear him as a slacker based on phony evidence).
And look how John Kerry, despite his treasonous slanders about the behavior of his fellow soldiers during Vietnam, was able to wrap himself in the mantle of his having been a wounded veteran. And even now, there are those who treat the accusations of the "Swift Boat Veterans" as slander, because war records are sacred.
Today we have a candidate for President of the United States who claimed to have been under fire in a combat zone -- and the claim is obviously and demonstrably false.
If the candidate had been a Republican, the press would have been hounding him constantly about such a lie, and pious editorials and talk-show pundits all over the country would be condemning him for taking upon himself the mantle of our citizens in the military whose lives are on the line every day.
You don't claim that sacred honor falsely, and then hope to survive politically.
Unless, of course, you're a Democrat and a woman; in short, Hillary.
On more than one occasion she claimed that on a trip to Bosnia she came under enemy fire. The details were elaborate. She made every one of the following claims -- and every single one of them is false:
1. She got to Bosnia before her husband. (Bill Clinton actually went there more than a month before.)
2. The pilot took evasive maneuvers in order to avoid enemy fire when landing. (In fact the surrounding hills required a steep approach, but there was no enemy fire and therefore no evasive maneuvering.)
3. The pilot ordered her to go into the more-heavily-armored cockpit of the plane, while the other passengers were told to sit on their flak jackets. (No such thing; the pilot says there were no bullets flying, not even a bumblebee, and therefore no flak-jacket-sitting.)
4. "There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport," said Hillary in a speech at George Washington University, "but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base." (The ceremonies went on as scheduled; a little Bosnian girl read a poem in English as Hillary and Chelsea stood there, out in the open, listening; we have pictures.)
Hillary Lies About Her Lies
Hillary's first public statement about it was that she "misspoke." She called it a "minor blip" (Quoted by Will Bunch of The Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer, Attytood.com, 24 March 2008).
"So I misspoke -- I didn't say that in my book or other times but if I said something that made it seem as though there was actual fire -- that's not what I was told. I was told we had to land a certain way, we had to have our bulletproof stuff on because of the threat of sniper fire. I was also told that the greeting ceremony had been moved away from the tarmac but that there was this 8-year-old girl and I said well, I, I can't, I can't rush by her, I've got to at least greet her -- so I greeted her, I took her stuff and then I left, Now that's my memory of it."
Even this is full of lies. There was no threat of sniper fire and she was not warned about any such thing. And she didn't just decide not to rush by the girl, she didn't just take her stuff and leave. She and Chelsea stood there exactly where they were supposed to stand, and listened to a recitation of a poem. How does listening to a poem become a "I greeted her, I took her stuff, and then I left"? And how does even that become "instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles"?
Lies, and then lies to cover the lies.
Most recently, in an interview with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News, Hillary said, "I'm a human being. I made a mistake and owned up to it."
Actually, she didn't. Saying she "misspoke" is not the same as owning up to telling lie.
She went on to tell Van Susteran, "But that's not what people talk to me about." That's because people are usually too polite to call her a liar to her face. The press, however, is supposed to be impolite to lying politicians and challenge their weaseling statements.
More Hillary: "When you've been on a campaign for 14 months there's all kinds of other distractions, but at the end of the day this is a hiring decision."
So getting caught in a flat lie is just a "distraction"? Or does she mean that mental distraction was her excuse for having "misspoken"? If so, that does not bode well for her ability to distinguish truth from falsehood during the constant intensity of a presidency.
The Media Wake Up
CBS did an "expose" on Hillary's trip to Bosnia -- but not until 24 March, long after the story had broken on blogs and on Fox News, which for a long time seemed to be the only major electronic media news source that was holding Hillary's feet to the fire.
AP's Ron Fournier finally picked up the story the next night, likening Hillary's lie to Al Gore's statement implying he invented the Internet. But Gore at least had a shred of truth in his statement -- he was involved with the legislation that opened the internet to the use of the general public.
And Gore's Internet claim wasn't like Hillary's cheapening of the contributions and heroism of real soldiers.
The leftist media were prepared to let this blow over. It was only the powerful influence of centrist media (Fox News) and conservative internet and radio commentators that proved that the Left can no longer bury stories that embarrass their pet candidates.
Even at that, however, the Left keeps trying to link Hillary's flat-out lie with much more minor infractions like Gore's Internet claim or McCain's obvious misstatement about Iran training Al Qaeda (which he corrected at once after Joseph Lieberman pointed out an error McCain probably hadn't even realized he made).
But not once during Hillary's repeated claims of having been under fire was there any truthful statement she might have been making which simply came out wrong, the way McCain's did. And the fact that she repeated this falsehood over and over again, before different audiences, suggests that she liked getting the credit for having bravely withstood enemy fire, or the threat of enemy fire.
She was using this lie (the way her husband used his lies) in order to gain some advantage over an opponent in a contest. Now she thinks it's unfair that anybody might actually hold this against her.
A Hiring Decision
But Hillary's telling the truth when she calls this election a "hiring decision."
You employers out there: If an employee flunks a lie-detector test, or if their resume turns out to be faked up to include experience they didn't have, do you hire them? If they already have the job, do you keep them on?
The answer, for those who don't know, is: "That applicant isn't hired; that employee is out the door."
And while I'm talking to employers, let me ask: If you knew that an applicant or an employee had invested a (borrowed) pittance in the cattle futures market and, despite never having traded in that market before, made no bad trades and walked away with $100,000, and then never traded in that market again, and had no rational explanation for her miraculous success and her decision never to repeat it, would you hire her? Would you trust her with your money?
But then, the Clintons have always thought they didn't have to obey the rules that other candidates follow. After all, the governor of New York is out of office -- for acts no more egregious than Bill Clinton's.
Clinton, however, was able to weasel his way out of a conviction at the end of his impeachment trial -- and since then has been treated by the Leftist media as if his impeachment were the fault of evil Republicans instead of having been a natural consequence of his own sexual misbehavior and criminal perjury.
Can't we please, this time at least, decline to elect a lying criminal in the first place, and save ourselves the impeachment proceedings later?
(And as for you Republicans who have been crossing over in primaries to vote for Hillary because you think she'll be easier to beat than Obama, stop it right now. It's dishonorable to vote in the other guy's primary in order to screw it up, even if it's legal. And if she's the Democratic nominee, then there's always the chance that she might win, and you will be partly responsible.)
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