Tulsi and Pete; A Tale of Two Veterans
Tulsi and Pete; A Tale of Two Veterans
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg are both running for the 2020 Democrat Party nomination for President. Both are military veterans, and their service is very different. Gabbard’s run has gotten no traction, but she hasn’t dropped out. Buttigieg gets only fawning press and glowing talk of his service. Gabbard’s service is never mentioned. Buttigieg is clearly the “establishment” candidate. But, his Navy Reserve service has always seemed sketchy to me. Then, I read an article that explained why it seems odd.
Before I dive into this, I want to make clear that I don’t like either of these candidates. First, they are both way too young. We need to change the Constitution to make 50 the age of eligibility to run for President, rather than 35 years of age. Second, I don’t care for their politics, ideology or policies. Full stop.
The reason I am writing this post is because of the Democrats new found love for certain military veterans, such as Lt. Colonel Vindman, Robert S. Mueller and Mayor Pete. If you are wearing or have worn the uniform and are spewing the approved Liberal tropes du jour, you may not be criticized. Your service is your shield of protection, no matter how that service was performed. If you are not a darling of the media, you are fair game.
On January 6, 2020, broadcast journalist and former Marine pilot Greg Kelly published an article: “Buttigieg’s War and ‘The Shortest Way Home’”. The subtitle is “Arriving in Afghanistan, he thought of John Kerry. It’s a telling comparison, and an unflattering one.” I wish I had seen this article last month. It explains why Buttigieg’s “service” makes me uncomfortable. From Kelly’s article:
His 2019 memoir is called “Shortest Way Home,” an apt description of his military service. He entered the military through a little-used shortcut: direct commission in the reserves. The usual route to an officer’s commission includes four years at Annapolis or another military academy or months of intense training at Officer Candidate School. ROTC programs send prospective officers to far-flung summer training programs and require military drills during the academic year. Mr. Buttigieg skipped all that—no obstacle courses, no weapons training, no evaluation of his ability or willingness to lead. Paperwork, a health exam and a background check were all it took to make him a naval officer.
No O courses, no weapons training, no team building activities? Not even one ruck march? Fill out the paperwork, be healthy and pass the background check and “Poof! Presto, Change-o!”, you are a military officer. It explains so much. Why do all that pesky dirty work?
Kelly goes on to explain:
Combat veterans have grumbled for decades about the direct-commission route. The politically connected and other luminaries who receive immediate commissions are disparaged as “pomeranian princes.”
In his 2019 memoir “The Shortest Way Home”, Buttigieg writes:
“Working eight-hour days,” he writes, was “a relaxing contrast from my day job, and spending time with sailors from all walks of civilian life, was a healthy antidote to the all absorbing work I had in South Bend.” He calls it “a forced, but welcome, change of pace from the constant activity of being mayor.”
I cannot even deal with that. His side job as a Naval Officer was a vacay from the hard work of being Mayor of the fourth largest city in Indiana. Yes, he spent five months in Afghanistan. I will not question the horrors that he was exposed to “outside of the wire”. You can read that with dripping sarcasm.
So, this Navy Junior Officer/Mayor thinks that he has the experience and worldview to be President of the United States.
Now, let us look at the military service of Representative Tulsi Gabbard. She is only one year older than Mayor Pete. Her experience is vastly different. In 2003, a year after being elected to the Hawaii State Legislature, Tulsi enlisted in the Hawaii Army National Guard. Enlisted personnel don’t get to skip PT, the ruck march or the gas chamber. Tulsi, then, went from green to gold.
Tulsi graduated from the Accelerated Officer Candidate School at the Alabama Military Academy, where she was the first woman to finish as the distinguished honor graduate in the Academy’s 50-year history. Tulsi was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and again assigned to the 29th Brigade Special Troops Battalion of the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard—this time to serve as the Military Police Platoon Leader.
Tulsi continued to work for Senator Akaka until 2009, when she again voluntarily deployed with her unit to the Middle East. During this second deployment, in addition to leading her platoon on a wide variety of security missions, she also conducted non-military host-nation visits and served as a primary trainer for the Kuwait National Guard.
Like I said, Gabbard is telegenic. Although I disagree with her positions, she explains them very well. Here she is with George Stephanopoulos, talking women in combat:
A tale of two veterans: Tulsi and Pete. Although I pray neither of them ever becomes President of the United States, I know which one I would rather have leading troops. Pete is a lightweight who couldn’t be bothered to get dirty. Tulsi is the real deal, even if she is wrong.
Doesn’t this explain so much?