'Fearlessly exposed himself to enemy fire': The only 2020 Democrat to experience combat finds it counts for little in political arena
The Washington Examiner
by Emily Larsen
September 07, 2019
But despite having what one Republican strategist described as “the most perfect resume of all time,” Moulton made barely a ripple in the crowded field of presidential hopefuls during his four-month bid. When his campaign ended last month, so too did the possibility that Democrats would nominate an experienced battle leader to be the next commander in chief.
It has been more than three decades since the United States elected as commander in chief a veteran who fought in combat. In 2020, that period will be extended after the only candidate who fought in battle dropped out without making a debate stage or registering above 1% in polls.
Two other Democratic candidates served in uniform in a war zone — Pete Buttigieg in Afghanistan and Tulsi Gabbard in Iraq — but neither fired a weapon or themselves came under fire. President Trump avoided Vietnam service because of bone spurs, Democratic front-runner Joe Biden because of asthma.
By contrast, Seth Moulton, 40, a Massachusetts congressman, served four tours in Iraq during his seven years as a Marine Corps officer from 2001 to 2008, retiring as a captain. He fought in one of the first American units to reach Baghdad in 2003 and led troops in intense battles in which some of his Marines were killed or wounded. He was awarded two medals for valor.
“I felt when I came back from Iraq that I'd seen the consequences of failed leadership in Washington, decisions made by people in Congress and the White House who had no idea what it was like to be a Marine in the infantry on the ground,” Moulton said. “I don't think you can ever fully understand it [combat] unless you've been through it yourself."
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Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts during the singing of the national anthem. Stephan Savoia/AP