The former Navy SEAL accountable for killing al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden provided some harsh statements for Democrat presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, that often touts his five months in Afghanistan over the presidential campaign trail.
“My advice for Pete Buttigieg… Stop playing war hero. You’re going to get called out,” wrote Robert O’Neill on Twitter.
Former South Bend, Indiana mayor Buttigieg, emerging off two strong performances in the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries, usually reference serving as a naval intelligence official as a primary qualification for his fitness to serve in the Oval Office.
“When I was deployed, I felt it. I felt that the flag on my shoulder was keeping me safe because it stood for a country that was known to our allies and our adversaries to be one that keeps its word,” Buttigieg told an audience in Iowa last month. “And when I’m your commander-in-chief, no ally will ever have reason to question whether it’s a good idea to bet your life on the credibility of the United States of America.”
As U.S. Marines Greg Kelly and Katie Horgan write in the Wall Street Journal, however, veterans frequently “roll their eyes” when Buttigieg talks of his time in the Navy. Kelly and Horgan note Buttigieg jumped over the fast-track to becoming a military officer by using a direct commission in the reserves, circumventing the years of intense training and preparation that all must go through to achieve this type of status.
“Mr. Buttigieg skipped all that—no obstacle courses, no weapons training, no evaluation of his ability or willingness to lead,” the Marines wrote. “Paperwork, a health exam, and a background check were all it took to make him a naval officer.”
The two Marines also reference Buttigieg’s book chronicling his time as a war tourist with time to chill out and read.
“Working eight-hour days,” Buttigieg said talking about his time stationed at a base within Illinois, featured “a relaxing contrast from my day job, and spending time with sailors from all walks of civilian life, was a healthy antidote to the all-absorbing work I had in South Bend.”
When talking about his five months spent in Afghanistan, Kelly and Horgan explain, Buttigieg marveled at experiencing “more time for reflection and reading than I was used to backing home,” saying he would take “a laptop and a cigar up to the roof at midnight to pick up a Wi-Fi signal and patch via Skype into a staff meeting at home.” The Marines note:
The closest he got to combat was ferrying other staffers around in an SUV: In his campaign kickoff speech last April, he referred to ‘119 trips I took outside the wire, driving or guarding a vehicle.’ That’s a strange factor to count. Combat sorties in an F-18 tend to be carefully logged. Driving a car isn’t.