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My next Saturday Blue America guest at Firedoglake is going to be Eric Massa. That’s 2PM East Coast time; 11AM on the West Coast this coming Saturday. I had a couple of great preliminary talks with Eric today and at one point he launched into a heated tirade about Karl Rove and the other puppeteers surrounding Bush.

This one was personal. "All they know how to do is smear people in the military. And why? Because they have never served in the military."

Eric is a veteran of 24 years of active duty in the U.S. Navy have served in the Middle East, Kosovo, Panama and as the Special Assistant to General Wes Clark when he was Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces. Like all decorated American fighting men who speak out against Bush’s criminal and unconstitutional excesses, Eric will be attacked and swiftboated by Rove and the Republican far right smear machine led by the likes of craven and cowardly chickenhawks like Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney and Bill O’Reilly.

But today he was coming to the defense of another fighting Dem, Admiral Joe Sestak, being smeared by a cowardly Republican slimebucket, Curt Weldon.

I’ll get into the whole story in a moment. But I want to make it clear that I’m not one of these people who thinks just because someone served in the military, that makes them more fit for public office than anyone else. I’ve run across veterans whose military service had enhanced their ability to serve the public, like Rick Penberthy, Chris Murphy, Jack Murtha, John Laesch, Joe Sestak and, of course Eric Massa, and I’ve run across veterans who have come out of the military completely unsuited for politics. Look no further than Republican extremist Randy "Duke" Cunningham for an example.

Few congressional candidates offer America a better opportunity for improving our government than Joe Sestak, a 31 year veteran of the Navy who retired as a Vice Admiral and is now running against a corrupt rubber stamp nutcase in southeast Pennsylvania. Joe served 6 sea tours with units of the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets during which he made seven deployments to Europe, the Persian Gulf and the western and South Pacific. As the Battle Group Commander, he led an international coalition force of 30 U.S. and allied ships and 15,000 sailors, exercising command of combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as senior diplomatic engagements throughout Southwest Asia, Europe and Africa.

So what does a sleazy Republican do to counter a sterling record like this? Swiftboat time!…

[For more on this, see Howie's full article on Down With Tyranny.  I wanted to bring this to everyone's attention today because this sort of despicable political smear game has got to be called for what it is -- lying malarky and dirty politics.  I'd say Weldon and his political operative cronies ought to be ashamed of themselves, but that would require them to have some remaining scruples.  Just when you think you can't get more disgusted... -- CHS]

(The above photo is of Rear Admiral Joe Sestak, in uniform, back in 2001, delivering a speech (with Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Jones in the background, also in uniform).  It’s taken from Stars and Stripes, from a report on an American Shipbuilding forum in which Sestak and other military officers participated, while wearing their uniforms, as soliders and sailors in the US military.  This was done in accordance with military regulations, and you didn’t hear Curt Weldon whining about it back then, did you?  Sestak cuts a fine profile in his dress blues, doesn’t he?)