GOP smears a Silver Star general, Purple Heart veteran, and former POW in week of shame


The Republican Party is shedding all pretense of their respect for the military, going after decorated war heroes for perceived disloyalty.

The Republican Party has long claimed to venerate the armed forces and those who put their lives on the line to serve our country.

But as Donald Trump continues to sink deeper into scandal and criminal investigation, Republicans have seemed to harbor a special venom for any veteran deemed insufficiently loyal to the president.

Even military veterans inside Trump's own White House are not immune. Retired Gen. H. R. McMaster, Trump's National Security Adviser and a Silver Star recipient, has been attacked by the far right after he fired some extreme nationalists from the NSC.

Mike Cernovich, an alt-right blogger who promoted the Pizzagate hoax, has set up a new website called "McMaster Leaks," alleging McMaster is funneling classified information and White House secrets to former CIA director David Petraeus and billionaire philanthropist George Soros.

And Senator John McCain (R-AZ), a former naval aviator, winner of the Silver Star, and prisoner of war who was tortured for five and a half years in North Vietnam, has also been crudely assailed by the right.

Trump famously dismissed McCain as only being a war hero because he was captured. And Republicans have been viciously attacking him even before he cast the deciding vote against Obamacare repeal.

RNC member Diana Orrock retweeted a call for McCain, who is being treated for brain cancer, to "please just fucking die already." Alt-right communities online openly celebrated his diagnosis, calling it "godly justice."

Russia special counsel Robert Mueller, a former captain in the Marines who received a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, has come into the right wing's line of fire, as well.

Trump has baselessly accused Mueller of having personal conflicts and called his investigation a "witch hunt." Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump supporter, initially praised Mueller but later flip-flopped and proclaimed him "the Deep State at its very worst." And at least one Trump-aligned PAC has taken out an ad savaging Mueller's integrity.

Republican attacks on veterans are nothing new. Former Democratic Georgia Sen. Max Cleland, a triple-amputee Army veteran, was defeated in 2002 by a vile GOP hit job implying he was in league with Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. And 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, a war hero with three Purple Hearts, was defeated partly by false GOP allegations he lied about his military record.

But we have reached the point where, despite the persistent claims to the patriotic high ground, Republicans are relentlessly attacking veterans even within their own party over real or perceived failures to toe the line on Trump.

Between this and Republicans' moves to cut veteran care, it is little wonder that dozens of veterans have announced Democratic congressional campaigns for 2018.

Republicans ought to return to their culture of respect for military service. The lip service they are paying to our men and women in uniform is a complete farce if they only deserve praise when they are politically useful.