IE, just your typical Democrat-Socialist “war hero.”
When Mayor Pete Buttigieg talks about his military service, his opponents fall silent, the media fall in love, and his political prospects soar. Veterans roll their eyes.
CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Mr. Buttigieg Sunday if President Trump “deserves some credit” for the strike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. “No,” the candidate replied, “not until we know whether this was a good decision and how this decision was made.” He questioned whether “it was the right strategic move” and said his own judgment “is informed by the experience of having been on one of those planes headed into a war zone.”
But Mr. Buttigieg’s stint in the Navy isn’t as impressive as he makes it out to be. 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.
Mr. Buttigieg was assigned to a comfortable corner of military life, the Naval Station in Great Lakes, Ill. Paperwork and light exercise were the order of the day. “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.”
During a November debate, Mr. Buttigieg proclaimed: “I have the experience of being commanded into a war zone by an American president.” The reality isn’t so grandiose.
Mr. Buttigieg spent some five months in Afghanistan, where he writes that he remained less busy than he’d been at City Hall, with “more time for reflection and reading than I was used to back home.” He writes that he would take “a laptop and a cigar up to the roof at midnight to pick up a Wi-Fi signal and patch via Skype into a staff meeting at home.” The closest he came to combat was ferrying other staffers around in an SUV: In his campaign kickoff speech last April he referred to “119 trips I took outside the wire, driving or guarding a vehicle.” That’s a strange thing to count. Combat sorties in an F-18 are carefully logged. Driving a car isn’t.
Them that did it don’t talk about it. Them that talk about it didn’t do it. That slight twist on a hoary old SpecWarrior truism will peel the mask off a braggadocious little REMF queef like Buttplug every time.