There is a 34 year old Marine named Josh Mandel who happens to be the Treasurer of the State of Ohio. He has also been an Ohio State Representative, and is running against long time U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. Josh served as a Marine for eight years, and did two tours in Iraq at the same time I was there. He was involved at times in military intelligence, and served in
both Haditha and Anbar, rough places where the Marines were desperately needed. He retired from the Marines with the rank of Sgt. He was first in his class in Boot Camp, first in his class in Intelligence School, and was awarded the Navy and Marine Achievement Medal.
There is the usual smear campaign going on from the opposing camp, one accusation being that he adopted a false Southern accent while he was campaigning in coal country. (I don’t believe, however, that Hillary Clinton was called untrustworthy when she gave her now infamous “Ah ain’t no wahz tard” speech.
My purpose here is not to defend something that may have been nothing more than silly. But what has recently come against Josh from the Sherrod camp is inexcusable, and another example of just how much career politicians who have never served in the military can become so arrogant they can refer to themselves as veterans, somehow likening the rigors of dodging verbal bullets in Washington D.C. to serving in the beastly heat of Al Anbar.
As was mentioned earlier, Josh was in intel. And anyone who understands the true miracle that occurred in Anbar knows that because of our troops, for the first time in anyone’s memory feuding sheiks came together to defeat a common enemy: Al Qaeda. What happened there became legendary all over Iraq, and the fact that Josh was there during that historical moment will impress me until someone shows me otherwise.
What Sherrod has done that is so despicable, besides referring to himself as “an experienced veteran in the wars on Capitol Hill” is to say that Josh’s experience in Iraq was only “tactical.” Tactical. I’m sorry, but what part of “first in Boot Camp” AND “first in Intelligence School” did you miss, Senator Brown? Do you even begin to understand what it took to accomplish getting sheiks to sit down at the table, all the while keeping them safe from those would just as soon take off their heads?
I know that this kind of stuff goes on in politics all the time, and there are some mistakes that I believe Josh may have made that perhaps need to be addressed. But please, don’t minimize the service of a Marine or any member of our service branches who has volunteered to go into harm’s way in order that you you may be safe and free. It’s at the very least unseemly, especially for a United States Senator.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner