Friday, May 28, 2010

Yet another Kirk post

It's been a week now since I spoke with Kirk's press secretary, Susan Kuczka. I had three simple questions for her.
  • Would Rep. Kirk provide me with a copy of the narrative for the "Intelligence Officer of the Year" award he claims to have received? (See update below.)

  • Has he earned the Afghanistan Campaign Medal?

  • Were the orders under which he traveled to Afghanistan Reserve Annual Training (AT) orders?
Ms. Kuczka was very polite and, as I mentioned, promised to get back to me soon. I've called three times since then, though, and was told each time: Someone is in her office. She'll call you back. I'm not holding my breath.

(Update: More on this here.)

While it's unlikely I will ever hear from Rep. Kirk's office again, Ms. Kuczka did say during our conversation that the Congressman had only spent ten days in Afghanistan during both of his "deployments" there. (He's said publicly he spent three weeks there.) As I've said before, a couple of weeks in country doesn't equal a deployment. Ask any military spouse who's had to do the math in his or her head when looking over paperwork ordering a spouse to duty for 180, 270 or even 540 days. By claiming to have "deployed" to Afghanistan when he merely met his annual training requirement there--an opportunity denied those not politically connected--Rep. Kirk mocks the National Guardsmen and Reservists who have served more time overseas in the last ten years than any time since WWII.

Yet still the media refuses to call him out on this. Even though the goddamn Illinois political press saw him leave one week and come back a couple f-ing weeks later. Did none of them put together in their minds the many stories of hardships on reservists and Guardsmen who've spent years overseas since 9/11 and wonder about Kirk claiming the mantle of veteran?

The truth is, most reservists can't even get from their houses to "in country" in the amount of time Kirk spent overseas. First you have to go pre-deployment training at Fort Riley or Fort Bragg or somewhere and go through three to five weeks of training and then sit around on your ass for a while longer before you get to actually start the countdown that tells you when you get to go home. When my unit went to Afghanistan, for example, we arrived at Fort Riley on February 20th, 2004, but didn't reach Afghanistan until mid-April. That's two-and-a-half to five of Kirk's "deployments" (depending on whether Kirk or his press secretary has the amount of time right) before we even had our boots on the ground and could begin counting down to our trip home.

But look at how Kirk laps up the praise from this Foxhole, proudly declaring himself the "first Congressman to deploy to an imminent danger area since 1942."

I loved my time on active duty. I loved Guard and Reserve duty--even when it became much more than the promised two days a month, one week a year. Hell, if not for a recently discovered kidney disorder, I'd be serving alongside Kirk in the Naval Reserve Officer Corps right now. So I have a great amount of respect for anyone who puts on the uniform, whether they deploy or spend their entire military careers in Guard Armory in Waukegan. But people like Kirk, who make service they didn't really perform part of their personal mythos, who go on TV talking about the tough time they spent "on the front lines" when they couldn't hold a real soldiers jock strap...well, I know I wouldn't vote for a fucker like that.

Update: It seems the request for copies of his "Intellience Officer of the Year" Award helped make some changes in Kirk's story.
Upon a recent review of my records, I found that an award listed in my official biography was misidentified as “Intelligence Officer of the Year.” In fact, as noted in my Fitness Report, I was the “recipient of the Rufus Taylor Intelligence Unit of the Year award for outstanding support provided during Operation Allied Force.” It was one of the honors of my life to lead the Intelligence Division Electronic Attack Wing Aviano, Italy – and I am very proud of this award. My official biography will reflect this updated information.
But here's what Kos found out.

Update: Good news.
The Washington Post is apparently hot on the trail of Kirk's military service claims, so expect to see a lot more on this story.
Update: Here.


Blogger Sandi said...

Great work on this story! Kirk is now reworking his "Intelligence officer of the year" award claim & I guess WaPo has a story coming out. Hopefully this story will see the light of day. (Markos of DailyKos is tweeting about it, too.)

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey I owe you an apology, I read your first post about this on Dkos and I did not think it was much. You have proved me wrong and I appreciate your persistence in following this story. So I am sorry I doubted you.

Thank you!

1:30 PM  
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