Monday, October 25, 2010

How Badly Damaged is Joe Miller?

We've already noted that the most Tea Partyish of the Alaska senatorial candidates has refused to answer questions about his "background," meaning a series of apparent ethical lapses.

From Wonkette, we learn that he is also refusing to answer questions about the military benefits he receives from the government, and the disability for which he receives them.

Briefly, candidate Joe Miller is West Point class of 1989, who ought normally to have served five years of active duty but instead served three years and three months. The available paperwork only lists his release as having been for "miscellaneous" reasons, and Miller is offering no more information. Here's a summary:
Miller boasts of his military record in his radio and teevee ads, yet refuses to discuss the nature or the degree of his service-connected disabilities; he receives monthly tax-free payments for life as compensation. If Miller is classified as 30% or more disabled, he receives additional payments for each of his nine dependents. This Veterans Administration benefits chart shows that Miller could conceivably be bringing in over $4,000 a month, tax free, depending on his disability rating. He needn’t report or declare this income.
So: crippled or crazy? We apologize for putting it so crudely, but the difference really is important.

Look, we admire military service, and so do most Americans. JFK, John Kerry, even the first Bush, are not our favorite politicos, judged purely on policy; but we are moved to admiration by their wartime heroics. Bob Dole and John McCain have service records of extraordinary valor, and over the years their physical limitations have been a constant reminder of those records. And sure, there are some wounds you don't like to talk about -- Jake Barnes' disease, and all that. If Miller lost the use of an organ and doesn't want to talk about it, that's one thing, and we feel sad that the circumstances require us to intrude upon his privacy.

But they do. Because if he suffered, or is suffering, from PTSD or some other form of psychological impairment, it strikes us that United States Senate is probably not the best place for him to work.

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