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Dear Donald: Telling a Military Vet Off Isn't the Way to Win Support

Suggestions of a Vietnam "vacation" for Senator Richard Blumenthal point to ongoing lack of compassion for vets.

Mr. Trump:

I am the child of a Canadian military vet. Granted, my father was not ever part of any deployment, though I do recall he spent six weeks in the Yukon when I was really young. I am also the wife of a Canadian military vet; my husband did spend time in Haiti, and let me assure you, what he went through there was no picnic in spite of the sunny locale. At the time, he was part of the United Nations deployment there in the late 1990s and was on site when the ferry disaster of 1997 occurred. In fact, several of the pictures he took (he was part of Combat Camera at the time) were disseminated by the Associated Press.

I was also briefly in the Canadian reservist, though my time in was so brief you could have blinked and missed it. One thing I've learned over the years is that there is a often-friendly rivalry between any military's various branches, such as the reserves and the regular force. This is simple ribbing that occurs between grown adults who understand the various burdens and responsibilities they bear as military members in whatever branch they are a part of.

Senator Richard Blumenthal has admitted that he wasn't completely forthright about where his service in the Marine Reserve took him, but that should not detract from the fact that, unlike you, he actually served. He may not have seen actual combat, but he was still a part of the military. Granted, as your favorite newspaper The New York Times (didn't you just grant them an interview not long ago? I thought you said it was 'failing' yet again) has pointed out, he had obtained multiple deferments to avoid going, but he actually did join the Marine Reserve in 1970. To be sure, he likely did endure "taunts" and "physical abuse" for his role in the reserves; it seems that those who serve in the reserves instead of the regular force are dismissed as "weekend warriors" who really don't have a proper role in the military.

However, your Twitter comment last night about Blumenthal stopped me cold.

"I think Senator Blumenthal should take a nice long vacation in Vietnam, where he lied about his service, so he can at least say he was there, " you tweeted at around 2 o'clock on the afternoon of August 7.

So, Blumenthal admits to having not been completely honest regarding where, exactly, he served, and yet it's all right for you to have compared Vietnam service to having sex with a lot of women and avoiding contracting an STD?

“It’s amazing, I can’t even believe it. I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world, it is a dangerous world out there. It’s like Vietnam, sort of. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave solider,” you told Howard Stern back in 1997.

Are you kidding me?

And in 1993, also to Stern:

“You know, if you’re young, and in this era, and if you have any guilt about not having gone to Vietnam, we have our own Vietnam — it’s called the dating game. Dating is like being in Vietnam. You’re the equivalent of a soldier going over to Vietnam.”

I'm certain that every member of the military agrees with your comparison, sir, except for the whole dangers of landmines, poisonous gases, and risks of getting shot, among other hazards that accompanied a Vietnam tour of duty.

What right have you got to critique the likes of Blumenthal, who actually did serve? Sure, you claimed that you always "felt a little guilty" for avoiding military service as a result of your foot condition — bone spurs in both heels, which is a condition that can be fixed via both surgical and non-surgical intervention. According to WebMD, "Treatments for heel spurs and associated conditions include exercise, custom-made orthotics, anti-inflammatory medications, and cortisone injections. If conservative treatments fail, surgery may be necessary." 

While I grant you that treatments for heel spurs would possibly have been very different when you were a young lad, there were options. You were granted a 1-Y medical deferment, thereby being exempted from military service, and now you're sitting in judgment against other military vets?

Should Blumenthal have lied regarding his own service? Absolutely not, but he's admitted to his lies. He's moving forward, and the point is, he was a serving military member who reached the rank of Sergeant. He's not the only vet you've denigrated; Senator John McCain has been a favorite target of yours as well.  

Remember when you said, "He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”?

Remember when you turned your attention to the family of Captain Humayun Khan, and attacked the grieving mother for not speaking, implying that she was not speaking due to some sort of religious restraint? You showed absolutely zero compassion for someone whose son saved countless lives by running towards a suicide bomber driving a vehicle towards a packed mess hall.

You see, sir, it doesn't matter a bit where a vet served. They served in support of their country, and while ribbing might occur between those who work across all the branches, there's still that element of respect they all share for what they all do. You don't have that respect — at least, you don't show it.

You honor veterans when it's convenient for you to do so, sir, and denigrate them just as publicly when they serve no useful function to you. You are more than aware that the media listens when you have a hissy fit, which you do with increasing regularity. When you start picking fights with military veterans, though, you're trying to bully people who've got countless others supporting them.  

Can you take on a full army on your own, sir?

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