Democrats advised on military relations

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Democrats advised on military relations

Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Jun 06, 2006 3:15 pm

This would be funny if it weren't so pathetic.

Democrats advised on military relations
By Eric Pfeiffer
Published June 6, 2006

Democrats are seeking ways to reach out to military families, hosting a discussion yesterday to help congressional staffers better communicate with men and women serving in the armed forces.

Kathy Roth-Douquet and Frank Schaeffer, authors of "AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes from Military Service -- and How it Hurts Our Country," spoke in a Capitol basement office filled with Democratic staffers who shared their personal stories of military service and examples of being part of a military family while trying to relate to "elite" colleagues who "dismissed" their experiences.

"To trivialize this doesn't win any friends or sense of understanding," Mrs. Roth-Douquet said of the "great disconnect" between liberal and military culture.

Mrs. Roth-Douquet and Mr. Schaeffer presented their "top 10 mistakes people make when dealing with the military" as a what-not-to-do list when communicating with those in the military.

While it was noted that those in attendance were already likely to be "sensitive to the disconnect," Mrs. Roth-Douquet and Mr. Schaeffer said it would be beneficial to have military officers visit congressional offices.

Yesterday's discussion was sponsored by the Truman National Security Project, a Washington think tank that declares its aim is to boost Democrats' "national security credentials" through an "innovative, distinctly Democratic approach to national security."

Mr. Schaeffer described himself as someone "from Massachusetts who usually votes for the Republicans," adding that he thinks the disconnect he and Mrs. Roth-Douquet describe comes from "a guilty relationship between Democrats and the military" after Vietnam

"It wasn't necessarily Democrats spitting on the troops when they returned home," Mr. Schaeffer said. "But those events are certainly more associated with the left."

An unidentified Democratic staffer in attendance said, "When you get down to it, most military values are really Democratic values," which received a warm applause from the estimated two dozen fellow staffers in attendance. Mrs. Roth-Douquet said she agreed with the statement -- but when asked if politicizing military values was dangerous, added, "The military shouldn't be an institution that belongs to either party."

Mr. Schaeffer said he thinks "Congress would be better served" if it was more representative of the American population in the percentage of its members who have served in the military. Mr. Schaeffer, whose son served in the Marines, said part of his motivation for writing the book was to "take it to my rich friends and stick it in their faces."

Mrs. Roth-Douquet, who is the wife of a Marine and has worked on every presidential campaign of the past 20 years, said that Sen. John Kerry, Democrat from Massachusetts, made two mistakes in communicating with veterans during his 2004 presidential campaign.

"He talked about how he was a war hero," Mrs. Roth-Douquet said. "That's not received well in the military. He should have let other people do the talking." Mrs. Roth-Douquet said Mr. Kerry's second mistake was in never publicly apologizing for accusing fellow Vietnam veterans of war crimes.

Copyright © 2006 News World Communications, Inc.
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