Apr 3, 2007
I knew in 2004 when the Smear Boat Veterans tried to smear U.S. Sen. John Kerry and his military service it would have far reaching consequences to all other veterans, and it has.
The so-called “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” tried to smear the Democratic Presidential nominee for his service and questioned the three Purple Hearts he earned as a Navy Lieutenant while serving as the commanding officer of a swift boat in Vietnam, and I said then they were really smearing me and every single veteran who ever earned a medal, citation or commendation. Questioning how he earned his Purple Hearts calls into question every single award ever earned by a every veteran everywhere.
Staff Sgt. Sean Knudsen of Howell is the latest victim of that smear campaign, and the 16-year veteran of the National Guard and Iraqi War veteran is being denied the Purple Heart he earned when he suffered shrapnel injuries to his head, left arm and shoulder in February 2005 when his convoy in Iraq was hit by small arms fire.
According to a story in the Detroit News, despite the fact the Department of Veterans Affairs has declared Knudsen disabled due to combat injuries, his application for a Purple Heart was denied. That’s totally illogical. Although the Army is refusing to say why it was denied it makes you wonder if perhaps the injures were not severe enough. That’s certainly one claim by the smear boat group.
The rules for earning a Purple Heart are pretty straightforward and unambiguous. It says “the Purple Heart differs from all other decorations in that an individual is not "recommended" for the decoration; rather he or she is entitled to it upon meeting specific criteria.” Both Sgt. Knudsen and Lt. Kerry have met those criteria.
It kind of sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
I hope Sgt. Knudsen and the other wounded Iraqi combat veterans get the Purple Hearts they deserve but were denied, and I also hope they never run for political office and a rightwing group questioning their service and awards tries to smear them. Apparently that smear group will have plenty of ammunition for their campaign.
Rep. Mike Rogers is involved in trying to remedy the situation, and I hope he helps. With his record of supporting this civil war, occupation and this administration he should have little trouble rectifying the situation.
It just makes me wonder where Mike Rogers was in 2004, and why he did not speak out when Lt. Kerry was being smeared for the exact same reason.