Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

Well, At Least It Wasn’t About Sex

It has taken me several days to write and reflect on Hillary Clinton’s claim that she had come under sniper fire when her plane landed in Bosnia in March of 1996. The reason has been that it is hard for me to properly reflect on something when I am angry about it. I began this article three times, and each time within a few paragraphs realized that I was not ready yet. What was coming through the article was my anger, not any deeper understanding.

And then, the realization… why am I surprised a Clinton lied to the American people about something they thought they could get away with? At least it wasn’t about sex.

I served as a Peacekeeper in Bosnia. Did I come under sniper fire? Not that I remember. I do know that there were a lot of rounds that were fired while I was around… most of them were probably in the air, but some of them might have actually been aimed. I remember one night sitting outside and counting over a thousand rounds fired nearby in less than an hour… just as I occasionally sit on my back porch and listen to the occasional gunshot here on the south side of Chicago.

My issue is not with “creative truth telling” per say… Soldiers creatively tell the truth all the time. The only time an engagement in combat is accurately retold is when it is reported to higher command… all the later re-tellings are prone to the “fish story” phenomena.

My issue with Hillary telling this particular “fish story” is three-fold. First, she’s not a soldier. Second, it was a “stupid” lie… easily checked. And the third, and this is the big one for me, is that it is so obviously in character for her.

Once I got over ranting that she needed to apologize to all the peacekeepers who actually were in harms way in Bosnia, and once I got over her inanely stupid spin, I realized that the anger that I was feeling was the same as that I felt towards the young soldier who awarded himself the Medal of Honor, three Silver Stars, three Purple Hearts, and the Legion of Merit. Hillary Clinton, running on how “experienced” she is, was claiming the experience of others as her own. Simply put, she was claiming some of the experience of combat without ever having seen it, or even put the uniform on. The young man who claimed medals he did not earn went to prison… and he was not running for any office at all. Shouldn’t we hold presidential candidates to a higher standard

And what a stupid lie it was. This was not miss-statement, it was a lie. I am actually more comforted by Hillary lying than by the possibility of a President who remembers a pleasant ceremony on a tarmac as running away from sniper fire. The amount of self-delusion that shows is not a characteristic I would like in someone in command of the most powerful military on earth. If she had just smiled and said something like “Well, it sounded good… I’m a politician, of course I embellish!” I might have actually laughed. Instead, she either lied (expected, but troubling) or she’s delusional.

She has staked her campaign upon her “experience”, and she is willing to do or say anything to win. That includes lying. That includes insulting those of us who were there. That includes insulting those who protected her on that trip. That includes attempting to change the story back to Rev. Jeremiah Wright… a man who was not only Obama’s pastor, but whom Bill Clinton considered respectable enough to have to the White House during the scandal about his big lie…”I did not have sex with that woman…”

In the end, a Clinton lied to the American People about something that “does not matter”. Not only should we not be surprised, I bet Hillary is mad we even checked. Her character is not at issue… only her experience.

Yours in Faith,


2 Thoughts on “Well, At Least It Wasn’t About Sex

  1. Patrick McLaughlin on Thursday March 27, 2008 at 14:57 +0000 said:

    Ah yes. Amen, David.

    I never was angry–but then, I was never in the service and never shot at, or in a place where I might be.

    Pissed off? Yeah.

    Self-swiftboated. It’s sad, really. But actually… I’m glad she did it. I’ve been concerned for a while that she’s appeared to feel the need to prove that she has as much testosterone as any of the warhorses, that she’s as willing to go to war as Sen. Bomb-bomb-bomb Iran, if she needs to. The problem is that need to seems to rest on proving her machismo, and not on any last ditch necessity.

    I don’t want a president who mistakes an eight year old with flowers for sniper fire. I’d be unable to sleep, wondering what she’s mistake a 3 a.m. phone cal for.

    (On a completely different note… I’m honored to have had someone mistake me for you–or rather your blog for mine (because my name showed up on a search here…).

    He figured out that it just couldn’t be… but not immediately. Rest easy, your reputation wasn’t ever at risk; this is the guy who’s reporting to the RSCC that I’m disturbingly well adjusted.

    Or… hmmm. At least that’s what I remember him saying. But it was after a crazy corkscrew landing at the Oakland airport…)

  2. GW Bush said, at the White House Press Corps dinner that he had invited Hillary Clinton to attend, but she could not get into the building because of all the sniper fire…

    Even fundy’s can be funny sometimes…

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