Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Max Cleland @ College Park

Closeup of Sen. Max Cleland after his speech at the University of Maryland College Park, Feb 8, 2006. Senator Max Cleland speaks at the University of Maryland College Park, Feb 8 2006.

Former senator and triple-amputee Vietnam veteran Max Cleland (click pictures to enlarge) came to my campus tonight, giving a half-hour speech on “Restoring America’s Positive Role in the World.” He touched up on a number of topics to be expected: withdrawal from Iraq, the global war on terrorism, the Iran threat, the U.S.'s declining competitive advantage, and the upcoming Congressional elections in November.

While I did not agree with Mr. Cleland's take on our Iraq situation and I thought his criticism of the Bush administration went too far, I have an enormous respect for this American hero, and so paid close attention as he explained why we need to listen to Jack Murtha and Richard Clarke, among others. Cleland also repeatedly stressed the importance of going after bin Laden, expressing anger and frustration that the war in Iraq had turned the 9/11 mastermind into Osama "Been Forgotten."

This instructive point, combined with the handful of alternatingly funny and touching stories he told about his career and his experiences with returning injured vets at Walter Reed Hospital, made this a lecture worth attending.

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