When I returned to the US in the fall of 2004 after a 15 month deployment to Iraq, as a Captain in the Army's 1st Armored Division, I found a nation torn over the war I just fought and upcoming Presidential elections on the horizon. As a veteran, I was dumbfounded to find limited debate going on over the issues of the war, because smear groups like Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were taking the center stage, launching attacks against Senator John Kerry, based on lies instead of discussing the truths from the ground in Iraq. Even Republicans like John McCain found these lies to be "completely nauseating" and were upset that smear tactics were taking center stage when we really should have been discussing the failing "stay the course" policy that was costing the lives of my friends in Iraq. That's why I joined up with VoteVets.org, which is an organization that honors service veterans and holds people accountable for the reality facing troops and veterans.
Even still, the Swift Boaters won't go away. Now the Bush Administration is rewarding one of the key donors behind these attacks, Sam Fox, with an ambassadorship to Belgium!
"Foxy," as the President nicknamed him, contributed $50,000 to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, during the 2004 Presidential campaign, all of it after the smear machine was already discredited publicly by the Secretary of the Navy. He knew the truth, and still contributed to the campaign of lies.
Is this the type of person the American people want representing them to Belgium?
This week, when Sam Fox went before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and sheepishly answered Senator Kerry's questions, he told the decorated Vietnam veteran: "I know that you were not drafted -- you volunteered. You went to Vietnam. You were wounded. Highly decorated. Senator, you're a hero. And there isn't anybody or anything that's going to take that away from you." But, why then did "Foxy" bankroll a smear group that tried to do precisely that in 2004?
America's international image is being greatly tarnished by the War in Iraq, and our ability to stand on the moral high ground is in grave danger because of allegations of torture and abuse. Our nation is at a critical juncture that requires a new kind of leadership that focuses its efforts and policies on the truths and reality, not lies. Our ambassadors are the point men who represent us to the international community. If we hope to re-establish ourselves to this community as a nation of good and honest people, then that is the type of person we need to represent us.
Sam "Foxy" Fox has proven himself as a man who supports lies and smears, lacking the integrity to do what is best for the American people. He is a self admitted rookie in the area of foreign policy. Is this who you want to send abroad to represent America?
It is time for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to stand up the Bush Administration and let them know that we need honest and experienced leaders to represent us abroad, not men who lack the integrity to do what is right.