Sep 29 2006
Update: Reader Ordi points us to this devastating TV ad on the same subject – End Update
The Allen campaign is airing radio ads in the DC area which are devastating. They are testimonials from female military officers along the lines of a written email alert I was forwarded by someone. The impact is going to rightfully torpedo Webb’s campaign. Here are the written testimonials emailed out from mostly women officers who put their lives on the line so Webb has the right to make a total fool of himself through our country’s right to free speech.
In the late 1970′s, Webb was an instructor at the academy and penned an article entitled “Women Can’t Fight,” which he placed in the Washingtonian magazine. The women are using today’s press conference to speak out against Webb and his actions to ensure that every voter in Virginia has an understanding of Webb. The group reached out to the Allen campaign to help get their stories out to the public.
Below are brief bios and quotes from each of the participants from today’s press conference:
Commander Kathleen Murray, USN (retired)graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1984, after which she served 20-years in the Navy. She is married to a fellow midshipman, Guy Zanti. The two reside in Norfolk where they are raising their four children:
“Virginia’s voters have the right to hear from me and other female graduates of the Naval Academy about the hardships we were forced to endure because of James Webb’s words and actions. Once he published his manifesto, there was a renewed wave of disrespect toward women who were training at the Naval Academy. His shameful conduct towards women makes James Webb undeserving of our vote Ã± especially the vote of veterans and those women who are serving honorably on active duty today.”
Commander Jennifer Brooks, USN (retired)grew up in a Navy family. She graduated from the Naval Academy in 1982 and then went on to serve more than 20 years as an officer in the Navy. Her distinguished career included a deployment during Desert Storm on the U.S.S. Mars. Currently she resides in Springfield where she’s pursuing a doctorate in psychology at Howard University:
“I was 19 years old and in my second year at the Academy when the Webb article came out. I was devastated to be told by a war hero that the Academy should be shut down rather than accept me, and that my very presence was responsible for the degradation of the military. As a best selling author, James Webb knew the power of words, and to describe the Naval Academy as ‘a horny woman’s dream’ was inexcusable. My mother read that.
“I joined the Navy to serve my country. It was unbelievably demoralizing to be painted as a pampered slut who was taking up classroom space and pre-destined to endanger the lives of the brave young men around her. Today when I see ‘Jim’ Webb, I remember that he spent a semester with us, taught in our classes, and had meals with us. And yet in the end his passion for this argument carried him away so much that we women were nothing more than collateral damage; acceptable collateral damage.
“Is this going to happen again, if he gets to the U.S. Senate?”
Joyce McCallister, LtCol USMC(retired) graduated from the academy with the class of 1982. She served as an aviation logistician and acquisition professional. She lives in Old Town Alexandria with her husband and two sons.
“Mr. Webb’s article, while disruptive to the routine at USNA, helped me reaffirm the traits I feel essential to being a good leader. It also made me a healthy skeptic about people who claim to be experts. In the case of Mr. Webb, he was masquerading as an expert of leadership.
“The thesis of Mr. Webb’s article is that instincts of violence and vulgarity are essential for effective combat leaders. That stands in stark contrast to the way my father conducted himself, a USMA Jan ’43 graduate, who served in WWII and Korea. He unfortunately was shot down in Korea and spent 27 months as a POW. He was the senior leader in his POW camp and insisted on a strict code-of-conduct based on having the prisoners treat each other with respect and dignity.
“Thirty years after repatriation, many of the men he led came to his death bed to thank him for saving their lives. His leadership instilled in them the will to live. Most would agree these are the principles of good leadership. In stark contrast, James Webb’s leadership traits Ã± based on violence and vulgarity Ã± are not traits the USNA espouses nor are they traits I want representing me in the U.S. Senate.”
Linda Ponstenriendergraduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1982. She was on active duty for more than five years upon graduation. She now lives in Petaluma, California where she’s an artist and owns a small business. She was on the East Coast for the “30 Years of Women at the USNA” conference and celebration last week, delaying her return trip home to participate in today’s press conference:
“Mr. Webb has shown a pattern of selfish judgment and failed commitment. General Colin Powell advises to ‘get mad & get over it’. I got angry with the article that Mr. Webb wrote, which infected the brigade with venom of hate and divisive anger. I got mad and got over it. I graduated and then went on to serve my country. Although I have great respect for the Marines and thank Mr. Webb for his service in our military, since leaving the military, he has logged a dangerous record of representing his own agenda. I got over the anger but I and others have not gotten over the disappointment. I invite Mr. Webb to issue an apology.”
Commander Guy Zanti, USN (retired)graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with the class of 1982. He went on to serve in the Navy for 20 years, which included deployments in Desert Shield/Desert Storm. He retired as a Commander in 2002 and joins his wife Kathleen Murray at today’s press conference:
“I can still vividly recall the ‘Women Can’t Fight’ article written by James Webb. It was exceedingly unfair to the women at the academy. The attitude Mr. Webb’s work conveyed was incendiary and served to tear at the very fabric of the brigade’s unity, good order and discipline. His words undermined the mission of the United States Naval Academy.”
Lisa Graham Stolle, USNRentered the Naval Academy in 1977 from the Marine Corps reserve and then graduated in 1981. While there she met classmate, Chris Stolle, who she later married. The couple resides in Virginia Beach where they have five children. Their oldest daughterv is currently a Midshipman at the academy and they have a son who is an nofficer in the Navy.
“As I found myself hesitating on speaking about the James Webb’s attack on the academy, I realized that after 30 years of women at the Naval Academy, with my own daughter a second class midshipman, with this man approaching the United States Senate, it may be time for me to speak.
“James Webb has not directly responded to issues previously raised on the derogatory, disparaging comments he made about women in the article he wrote for the Washingtonian, other than to say it was a long time ago. Given his military background, if elected to the Senate there is a very real possibility that he could end up on the Armed Forces Committee. For this reason, his position back then is more relevant than ever.”
These are powerful comments.