Not to suggest that (suspended) NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams is a liar about his wartime experiences — he could be a victim of false memory syndrome — but isn’t it about time that someone really checked into Sen. Joni Ernst’s claim that she’s a “combat veteran”?
No, of course not. That would be stupid. And so the Huffington Post took up the task, publishing a piece last Friday claiming that Ernst shouldn’t be considered a combat veteran, since her unit never took fire. She is though, right?
“It’s technically true,” writes Andrew Reinbach, who expends another 900 words explaining that, in his world, it’s not.
Technically, of course, the Senator is just relating the legal facts and letting people reach their own conclusions, like any other politician. She commanded the 1168th in a war zone, there’s no doubt driving trucks in convoy or guarding bases can be dangerous, and soldiers die that way.
But nothing in the 1168th’s tour of duty stands up to the average citizen’s idea of combat duty.
Washington Examiner commentary writer Ashe Schow on Tuesday published an excellent takedown of Reinbach’s hit piece, called “The Ernst-truthers of the Huffington Post.”
“In the 1168th’s 14 months in theater, the unit was never under fire, or hit by a roadside bomb,” Reinbach wrote. “The deployment’s only injury occurred on its last day in Kuwait, when a sergeant dislocated his shoulder.”
So to Reinbach, the fact that Ernst and her unit were lucky enough to not be blown up while traveling on the extremely dangerous Main Supply Route Tampa means she’s not worthy of being called a combat veteran.
Omaha.com also published a defense of Ernst today in which the senator called the HuffPo piece “insulting to the majority of men and women who serve their country honorably.”
Ernst might not have taken fire on the battlefield, but she’s gaining plenty of experience being attacked at home.