I normally avoid direct political commentary, but this occasion is an exception.
This morning I saw this headline:
Clinton 'misspoke' about '96 Bosnia trip
WASHINGTON - 's campaign said she "misspoke" last week when saying she had landed under sniper fire during a trip to as first lady in March 1996. She later characterized the episode as a "misstatement" and a "minor blip."
Unfortunately, she didn't just "mis-speak", she totally fabricated her account of what actually happened. Does she actually remember something that simply didn't happen, or did she deliberately lie to embellish her record? Either way, do we want such a person to be the President?
The reason this story caught my eye is because I was in Bosnia-Hercegovina when First Lady Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, and a USO tour arrived at Eagle Base in Tuzla for a USO show. I wasn't at Tuzla while Hillary was there, but I had been there the week before.
There was no sniper fire. The Dayton ceasefire had taken effect in December and the shooting had stopped. There was no nothing going on, in comparison to a few months earlier. There was especially nothing going on at Tuzla, which was a Muslim area without a large Serb population, and with overwhelming heavy US military presence. What was going on was the large scale and rapid US Army fortification and bureaucratization of the Tuzla area. It was demonstrably, statistically safer to be in Tuzla in March 1996 than in Washington DC.
But don't take my word for it - watch the video.
On the other hand, I haven't heard John McCain talk about, much less embellish, his experience in the Balkans.
I first met Senator McCain in 1993, when he was in Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina with Senator Phil Gramm. The war was raging at that time - there was no ceasefire, and essentially no US military (there were less than 10 US military personnel in Bosnia at the time - I know because I knew them all personally). There was sniper fire, pretty much all over the place, as well as rocket fire, mortar fire, and heavy artillery fire.
But Senators Gramm and McCain wanted to "visit the front lines", and "see the war for themselves". So I went out to the front lines, on the Croatian/Bosnian border near Bosanska Gradiska, with a company of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. We met with the local Serbs and Croats, who were shooting at each other when we arrived, and asked them to please stop shooting because we had to American VIPs who were going to be visiting the next day, and we didn't want to make a bad impression. The Serbs and Croats kept their word, were friendly to the Senators while they were there, and there were no incidents. Senator McCain walked up to within about 20 yards of the literal front line between the Serbs and Croats, who were in the midst of a very hot war at the time, shook hands, waved, and checked things out. That situation, however, was 1000's of times more dangerous than Hillary's visit to Tuzla after the war had ended.
I've never heard Senator McCain speak of that episode, and it's pretty minor and undramatic - particularly compared to 6 years in the Hanoi Hilton, the Forrestal fire, or 23 strike missions in an A-4 over North Vietnam.
In comparison, Hillary Clinton's contention that she is qualified to be President because she was the First Lady (married to only the second President ever to be impeached), is pretty uncompelling. That she needs to lie to embellish her record - as First Lady - is very, very embarrassing.