John McCain, A Veteran Was Demeaned In Your Name. Will You Defend Her?

tammy duckworthThis past Sunday, Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh, who never served a day in the military, shamelessly questioned the heroism of his Congressional opponent, Illinois Army National Guard veteran and double amputee, Major Tammy Duckworth.

Using Senator John McCain as his foil to demean Duckworth, Walsh smeared Duckworth’s service and undermined her sacrifice. Americans nationwide, across ideology and political party, were disgusted by Walsh’s comments in the video.

I, too, was disgusted. I’ve long admired Tammy Duckworth. I’ve admired her since first learning her story. I even wrote about her in 2006 on the heels of her first Illinois Congressional campaign and subsequent defeat by Republican Peter Roskam – another non-veteran.

Today, having recently endured my own health challenges, I respect Tammy Duckworth even more. She’s a hero of immeasurable – make that incomprehensible – dignity and strength.

Over the past eighteen months I’ve been challenged by Stage 4 Lymphoma, the difficult chemotherapy to treat it, and heart disease that required a stent in my right coronary artery. It’s been an interesting journey and one I’ve been reluctant to discuss. I’m intensely private.

At this time, I’m happily in remission and feel no ill effects from the cancer, chemo or heart disease. Some may say what I faced was severe. At times, in the throes of the chemo, I would have agreed. But by and large I’ve felt I had it rather easy (though my oncologist disagrees). I drove myself to and from treatments and walked into the infusion room on my own, while many around me were wheeled. Often while in my oncologist’s lobby, or the chemo room, I filled with tears as fellow warriors battled their pain. I, too, was in pain, but somehow it seemed a lot less because I could control my own movement. I felt fortunate then. I feel fortunate now.

Today I ride my bicycle twelve miles to my oncologist and cardiologist. Other than the fog of chemo that has made it so difficult to write, I don’t have much to complain about. I’m a very lucky woman.

linda on a bikeI haven’t written about any of this until now. I’m pathologically private. But I write of it now for a reason. I write of it now because as much as I believe I’ve stepped up to my challenges and met my personal expectations to prevail, I’m no Tammy Duckworth. I’ve never been to war. I’ve never dealt with amputation. I’m not challenged in my movements. I’ve returned to my former activities as though the last eighteen months weren’t real. When the effects of the chemo diminished and I stopped being winded when I walked, I forgot my discomforts and returned to my regular life.

But it’s not the same for Tammy Duckworth. She will deal with the ravages of war and the travails of amputation for the rest of her life. Yet amazingly – astonishingly – she prevails. Despite her irreparable wounds and her crutches and prostheses, Tammy Duckworth has endured the mental and physical challenges of the position of Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and two rigorous Congressional campaigns. No wonder she’s so admired.

tammy duckworthConsidering the overwhelming condemnation Joe Walsh has received, it’s fair to say that across the political spectrum, Americans share my regard for Tammy Duckworth. Veterans, in particular, are outraged at Walsh. Iraq War Veteran and Chairman of PAC, Jon Soltz, even called for Walsh’s resignation from Congress. But disturbingly, John McCain, who was Walsh’s singular foil in demeaning Tammy Duckworth, remains silent.

McCain, who’s talked often of his military service both on and off the campaign trail, and of his special connection to vets, previously crossed party lines to support his fellow veterans. Most famously, during the Clinton administration, McCain worked closely with Democratic Senator and Vietnam veteran John Kerry on POW/MIA affairs. If the military is truly non-partisan, shouldn’t allegiance to veterans trump allegiance to party? I understand Senator McCain is presently in Afghanistan, but he’s had ample time since Sunday to chastise Joe Walsh. Why hasn’t he done so? It’s not like he’s been totally silent.

Linda Milazzo He’s tweeted the full spectrum from the Arizona Diamondbacks to his visit with the troops. Why not a tweet to defend Major Duckworth? After all, his was the name Joe Walsh mentioned. If he can tweet about baseball, he can certainly tweet about this.

Senator McCain, your fellow veteran has been attacked in your name. Will you step up to honorably defend her? Only time will tell…

Linda Milazzo

Posted: Thursday, 5 July 2012


  1. Thomas Frick says

    Of course McCain doesn’t like talking about his service record, since he is a traitor to the USA and did everything the VC asked of him.

  2. says

    john mcain singined a confession to the viet cong ,when he was a pow how good  the V.C. took care of him, he never made Admiral/USN.He is a phony. Look it up you holy the thou  moral  repubs.

  3. Daniel says

    The problems with progressives–
    1.)  they make themselves the center of conversation regardless of what they are discussing as the above article so well shows.  Reading the article, I was not given any indicatiion as to what the controversy was and why it was so bad. 
    2.)  they are all about feelings and not about critical thinking or logical thought.  Again the article points this out so well.  The author has health issues, this Duckworth has issues, thus no one should criticize them regardless of what is being discussed.

    Let’s get past the feeling people and start discussing reality — the country can then become so much better.  We have to start thinking with our minds and not our hearts as this accomplishes NOTHING.

    Do you want to make this county better ?  Then start discussing issues logically and coherantly and get away from the “he hurt my feelings” mantra.

    • Anitaccs says

      Thanks Daniel….this is like John Kerry “who served in Vietnam” and would not let anyone every forget it for one moment. We respect and appreciate all who serve (including my beautiful Marine grandson), but that cannot be the only reason we should support anyone.  What are their values? and why are they running for office?

    • Duitdon says

      Yeah!  She didn’t make the controversy clear, but, she certainly made clear the price paid by the soldier.  The problem with the likes of you is all you can do is criticize and find fault with people that can see the world with open eyes, open hearts and self reflection.

      • Daniel says

        So the truth is not important but feelings once again.  The problem is that the people with open MINDS and who are able to critically think are the ones who end up cleaning up the mess made by people who think with “open hearts”  We need to try to make the right decisions the first time and not spend so much time cleaining up messes that were made because we siimply did not want to think about what was right.  It’s time we start to evaulate things logically.  Apparently, some one deserves to hold office because of injuries received and not because of what they stand for or what they hope to accomplish.  Truly this is very sad.  This country has no hope until we get past the “feelings” arguments. 

        • Thomas Frick says

          Of course McCain doesn’t like talking about his service record, since he is a traitor to the USA and did everything the VC asked of him.

        • Thomas Frick says

          The repugs are the ones with too many feelings; feelings of hatred and ineptitude that makes them need to look down on others to feel better about themselves. I’ve never seen so much hatred in any group of people since the nazis. Then led by Hitler, and now by rush limp-balls

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