Monday, June 02, 2014

Autobiography of a Great Gerald Ford Supporter

James Webb. I Heard My Country Calling: A Memoir. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2014.

Webb was not recruited to run for the U.S. Senate. He wanted to run because he “could not accept the idea that a country such as America should be governed by a club of insiders who manipulate public opinion in order to serve the interests of hidden elites who hold the reins of power. I did not solve this problem in a mere six year, but I did nudge it here and there, even as my concerns about it only grew stronger.”

During his one term in the U.S. Senate, he had 5,005 official office meetings, 2,400 personal meetings, 675 media interviews, attended 1,078 committee hearings, appeared at 264 formal speaking engagements, spoke at 358 political events, and cost over 1,800 roll call votes.

Webb served as Assistant Defense Secretary and as Navy Secretary. Family assistance programs became one of his priorities. He wanted an al-volunteer military to have good housing and education for their children. His family was a career military one who often did not see his father for long time periods.

Webb interviewed in high school for a Navy ROTC scholarship. He was selected to receive a full Naval ROTC scholarship at any of 52 colleges. He went to the University of Southern California. He spent a year than and was then accepted to the Naval Academy, from which he graduated.

Webb saw combat in Vietnam. He observed the Viet Cong successfully engaged in psychological battles that advanced their cause. They assassinated pro-American village leaders. This tactic broke the spirit of the villagers who are the Viet Cong as in command. The U.S. bombed randomly, often killing some of the very villagers whose support was sought. Many villagers turned against the U.S.. Areas were declared as Viet Cong territories and civilians were ordered to move to resettlement villages. The Viet Cong would try and shoot people who left for the resettlement villages. American bombing would then kill many of these villagers, This became an un-winnable strategy for the U.S.

Webb once tried to help locate civilians to resettlement villages. He was told they will full even though he knew they were not. He learned that resettlement officials declared on paper their villages were full in order to sell extra rations on the black market.

After receiving two Purple Hearts, Webb was ordered out of combat He was sent to the Navy Secretary’s Pentagon office He was one of 16 selected early, out of 12,700 First Lieutenants, to be promoted to Captain. He wrote fact sheets and other official writings as well as handled casework.

Webb advocated for shortening logistical lines by concentrating more forces in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. This report proved useful when he was a U.S. Senator and the need for this had grown.

Webb published a controversial article recommending the Marine Commandant be made a member of the Joint Chiefs.This controversy later would be resolved by making this inclusion.

Webb was medically retired from the Marines He then went to law school. He also wrote novels

Webb became National CoChair of the Vietnam Veterans for Ford in 1976. In 1977, he became counsel to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. He soon became Chief Minority Counsel. As he built Hill experience, he later would be elected to the U.S. Senate.


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