The latest veteran to slam John McCain’s dishonest and dishonerable advert attacking Barack Obama for canceling a visit to Ramstein medical base in Germany in deference to the Pentagon would know what she’s talking about. Per Jonathan Martin at Politico:
VoteVets, the pro-Democrat group of retired military personnel, counters McCain’s Black Hawk down statement with some outrage from Col. Katherine Scheirman (Ret.), the retired Chief of Medical Operations for United States Air Force in Europe Headquarters at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.
Dr. Katherine Scheirman, who was Chief of Medical Operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom, said in a statement:
“John McCain’s new ad is dishonest and shameful, and I say that as the former Chief of Medical Operations. Senators Hagel and Reed confirmed to Bob Schieffer yesterday that Senator Obama visited the Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad as a part of their CODEL, with no media present.
“In Germany, Senator Obama made the right decision to respect wounded troops, and the doctors and nurses doing crucial and time-sensitive work, by not making a visit that was characterized as a campaign event by the Pentagon. Senator Obama should be thanked for putting our military above politics. And, I would hope that John McCain would think in those same terms, the next time he is put in a similar situation.
“Senator Obama has voted for the troops when John McCain has not, most recently on the new GI Bill. I am happy that Senator Obama puts the welfare of our troops above politics.”
Dr. Katherine Scheirman, MD, MHA, CPE, FACPE, is a Senior Advisor to VoteVets.org, and has twenty years experience in the Department of Defense medical system. She retired from the Air Force in 2006 with the rank of Colonel. During her time in the military, she was assigned to a number of duties where she saw ‘first hand’ the shortcomings of the DOD medical system and its effect on troops. Most recently, she was at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, which saw the majority of those injured during the war in Iraq.
Martin notes that the Obama camp doesn’t plan to go up with a counter-ad, surprisingly, unless the McCain team makes a serious TV buy. For now, Camp McCain is happy to let the media and Youtube disseminate their low blow message for free.
The McCain ad has already taken a beating from another prominent veteran: Chuck Hagel, and from other veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
McCain may feel that his new strategy will stand him in better stead with the truly nasty elements of the right which he needs to energize, but he also risks exposing the fault lines between himself and many veterans, who question his commitment to their issues, including healthcare, education, and the ever festering Vietnam MIA saga.