Sean Cruz: "Governor Ted Kulongoski is a hero to me."

His words speak for themselves. "Blogotical" Sean Cruz:

As the father of two Army National Guard soldiers, one who has served two tours in combat in Iraq as a .50 caliber machine gunner, and one who died in April 2005, I urge you to vote for Governor Ted Kulongoski.

Of all the candidates for Governor, Ted Kulongoski is the only one who cares about our troops and their families, the only one who stands with the families when they bury their loved ones.

Read the rest - there's much more. Discuss over there.

Comments

  • Crackpot (unverified)
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    I'd "discuss over there", but comments are highly restricted on that blog.

    I commend Ted for going out of his way to honor our fallen soldiers and respect his dissent for the war in Iraq. Contrary to what some believe, they're compatible ideals. He's a good man and an admirable one at that.

    However, this comment makes me see red: "Of all the candidates for Governor, Ted Kulongoski is the only one who cares about our troops and their families, the only one who stands with the families when they bury their loved ones."

    I guess Joe Keating, Richard Morley, Mary Starrett and Ron Saxton could care less. Pardon me but I think I'm going to be sick. How dare this guy use these dead kids for cheap partisan political gain. Thats just sick.

  • Jeri (unverified)
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    Gosh - I don't want to judge someone that lost a son serving his country - maybe we should see what we can learn from him about this subject.

  • Crackpot (unverified)
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    I'd also hate to judge him and empathize for his loss, unless he blatantly pandered the death of his child for political purposes. I find that despicable and say go to hell Mr. Cruz and take Cindy Sheehan with you.

    I'd hold my tongue if he were using this against the Bush administration- that would be valid. Praising Ted Kulongoski would be fine too. Using it to bash all contenders in the governors race is a low blow.

  • Kevin (unverified)
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    I've always believed that you have to give each person the props that they've duly earned. And as unimpressed overall as I have always been with Ted Kulongoski, I must say that his deep commitment to Oregon service men and women whether they're active duty or aging veterans has always, always, always deeply impressed me.

    Maybe Saxton, Starrett and the rest support our Oregon troops and vets too. I'd personally be quite happy to grant each of them the benefit of any doubt. But, even so... at the tender age of 42 I just can't think of many American politicians at all, anywhere, who have impressed me to the extent that Kulongoski has with respect to his relatively quiet, dogged dedication to honoring those who have served or are serving. I can't honestly say that I feel that Saxton, Starrett et al deserve to be granted kudos on this issue like Kulongoski does.

  • sean cruz (unverified)
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    to Crackpot:

    You completely miss the point. I used to have two sons. Now I have one. That's the point. I'm real sensitive about the one son I have left.

    He's 21 years old and has already completed two of what we laughingly call "tours" in combat in Iraq. He enlisted in an engineering battalion when he was 17, before 9/11, to learn a trade, serve his country, and to earn money for college. His MOS was Heavy Equipment Operator. He wanted to learn to drive tractors and big trucks. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

    He served his first year in Iraq as a .50 caliber machine gunner escorting convoys just about everywhere. I could never know for sure where he was. He sent me emails from more than a dozen different cities.

    He called me once and asked me if I had heard of the "Highway to Hell", which runs between central Baghdad and the main airport. Of course I had. "We paved it," he told me proudly.

    The photos he sent showed that they had to jury-rig the humvee themselves. I could pick that vehicle--if it still exists--out of a lineup anywhere.

    I spent that entire year glued to news from Iraq, lost a lot of sleep, spent a lot of time hoping for an email--anything.

    His unit returned from that tour with zero casulties, and my son was credited with helping make that happen. Whatever he had done, he had done it well and a lot of people were grateful for it.

    I know this, because much of Tyler's and Aaron's unit attended Aaron's memorial service in Payson, Utah in full dress uniform. They did this out of respect for both of my sons.

    They spoke abour both of my sons, and it was clear that Tyler had saved some of their lives.

    Their commanding officer, several NCOs supervising my sons, and a number of other people spoke about Aaron, his heart, his courage, his commitment to his unit.

    They spoke about how brokenhearted Aaron was because he was too sick to be deployed. He was suffering from a life-threating condition and was going to be left behind.

    His first sergeant spoke about finding Aaron crying behind one of the buildings after he had received this news, about how he tried to console my son.

    He told the gathering that he was taking a couple of hundred soldiers to Iraq, and that most of them didn't want to go, but here was this one soldier who did want to go, and he couldn't, and his name was Aaron Cruz.

    They presented Aaron's mother with a flag. I've received a certificate signed by the President of the United States. It reads:

    "The United States of America honors the memory of Aaron A. Cruz. This certificate is awarded by a grateful nation in recognition of devoted and selfless consecration to the service of our country in the Armed Forces of the United States.

    (signed) George W. Bush, President of the United States

    It's signed with an autopen. Imagine how much I treasure it.

    When Tyler was in Mississippi, training for his second "tour" in Iraq, we learned that Aaron had suffered a seizure and was comatose. He was granted leave. Tyler and I and my daughters were at Aaron's side for five days.

    Less than 8 hours after we buried his brother, Tyler was on his way back to his unit and to the war. Again, as a .50 caliber machine gunner.

    He then served a year in Ramadi, where his unit suffered an average of 20 attacks a day. Out of 4,000 soldiers in his unit, 75 were killed and more than 1,000 were seriously injured (that we so far know of).

    I'd like to think that he's not going to be sent back there again. I think he's done his part. That's the point.

    I have one son left. Honestly, I hope you die before he does, nothing personal about that. One of these certificates is enough for me.

    It is not too late to sign up for the war. There's room for everybody.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    There are some real monsters trolling around the blogs. Crackpot certainly named himself correctly. I have been critical of Gov. K the past four years. But I salute him for showing the manliness to represent the people of Oregon in honoring those who have given their lives for our country in Iraq and Afghanistan. He does what W doesn't have the courage to do, face the consequences of war and stand with those who pay the ultimate cost. And this comes from a man who grew up without family as an orphan. Gov. K is a decent good man and I applaud him. I note that a Zogby WSJ poll coming out today has him still up 47-43 despite all the trash lies thrown at him by Saxton. This is in line with previous Rasmussen and Hibbits polling.

  • Jami (unverified)
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    Mr. Cruz, thanks for speaking up, and deep thanks to both of your sons. I've been looking for reasons to get excited about Ted Kulongoski, and your story reminded me that I have been impressed with his concern for the men and women who want to protect our country.

    The fact that your living son might have to go back a third time to fight a war no one seems to be directing is also a grave reminder that we need to change this country's course and change it soon.

  • MT (unverified)
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    Sean,

    My sympathy to you and your family for your loss. I too disagree with Ted on some issues. However he truly does care about the people who are being impacted by this war. Crackpot needs to throw on some boots and spend some time serving his country. It is this veteran's guess that he hasn't. If I am wrong he is welcome to correct me.

    God bless you and your family.

    MT

  • Crackpot (unverified)
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    Oh brother. Praise Kulongoski, hate this war and sympathize with this mans horrible loss all you want. Youll have a lot of company, but dont expect a free pass on statements like this: "Of all the candidates for Governor, Ted Kulongoski is the only one who cares about our troops and their families...". That's reprehensible. If I have explain the reasons why, I gotta wonder about your ethics.

    If its somehow relevant or anybodys business (NOT), I served 4 years in the U.S. Armed Forces.

  • gobytrain (unverified)
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    Mr. Cruz's loss is so incomprehensible that even the most charitable attempt at condolence comes off looking nothing short of a train wreck.

    We're in over our heads people.

    All politics are local and Mr. Cruz is bringing it home to us, his neighbors. He is not alone in his valiant attempt to be strong, while wondering why he stands alone. Most Americans feel abandoned by our federal administration.

    They weren't there for those young boys in the white house, they weren't there for the people of New Orleans, and they haven't been there for our troops.

    We have a stark choice in our state election. Mr. Kulongoski has shown us not only with words, but with action. He does not abide these deaths, he has met each and every casket, born the brunt of every parent's grief, for each of our fallen Oregonian brothers.

    By contrast Mr. Saxton has said, "I’m not taking positions on federal issues in this race, I’m running for governor.". A non-response as comforting as a stamped signature on a letter of condolence.

    Thank you Mr. Cruze, the apple obviously did not fall far from the tree. Your heroic use of the pen has left us tongue tied. Your compassion for your community, and that of your son's, is a gift so great we can only be questioning our own worthiness. Do not judge us too harshly.

  • Mister Tee (unverified)
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    Aaron "had a seizure and was comatose"? You mean he didn't die of injuries sustained on the battlefield? It sounds like the same sort of injury that killed David Bloom. Undoubtedly, serving in a combat zone increases the risks of making an underlying medical condition get worse...But it's not like he died from a sniper's bullet in Ramadi, or drove over an IED. Even in a combat zone, a seizure that did not result from a combat related injury is considered a natural death.

    That's not George Bush's fault. Not by a long shot.

    Tyler "wanted to learn to drive tractors and big rigs" Too bad he didn't go to trucking school, INSTEAD OF JOINING THE U.S. ARMY. Every soldier carries a gun: any Marine can tell you that.

    It looks to me like a grieving parent is exploiting the death of a child for political gain. Teddy K. should be admired for attending the funerals of fallen soldiers, but that hardly makes him a strong player in the anti-war movement.

    As far as I can tell, this is a lame attempt to nail Ron Saxton to the George Bush cross. George Bush baaaaad + Republicans baaaaaaad = Ron Saxton baaaaaad. Not subtle, but effective (if you're a blind partisan).

  • gobytrain (unverified)
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    "The United States of America honors the memory of Mister Tee, Jr. This certificate is awarded by a grateful nation in recognition of devoted and selfless consecration to the service of our country in the Armed Forces of the United States."

    When Mister Tee recives this letter from the White House, thanking him for the "consecration to the service of our country" (the word "consecration" being easier to swollow than "ultimate sacrifice") he'll have earned the right to judge Mr. Cruze and ponder the President's complicity.

    Cruze actually did not bother to call the President, Republican party or Ron Saxton "bad". That mental leap was left up to the reader's own observation of the facts.

    If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, evidently even the Mister Tee's of the world can recognize a duck, inspite of himself.

  • Mister Tee (unverified)
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    His son, Aaron, died of natural causes?

    Yes or No?

    He chose to enter his son's into the political debate?

    Yes or No?

    Aaron and Tyler both volunteered to serve in the Armed Forces?

    Yes or No?

    President Bush has repeatedly met (in private) with the families of those who died in combat. He rarely allowed cameras to record these visits, and he never publicized them, out of respect for their privacy.

    Yes or No?

    Too many soldiers have already died in Iraq and Afghanistan, so we should bring them all home and disband the military so nobody ever dies in the future?

    Yes or No?

  • Mister Tee (unverified)
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    GobyTrain:

    Here's a quote from Sean Cruz on August 5, 2006:

    ...there is the idiot in the White House to consider.

    Sean Cruz has repeatedely demeaned the President of the United States (which is his perogative in a free country). That doesn't mean he gets a free pass: you don't have to lose a child to gain the right to participate in the public debate. Mr. Cruz implicitly attributes the death of his son, Aaron, to the policies of the Bush Administration. That's is demonstrably false, and it's demagogic, if his son died of natural causes.

    If we are going to maintain our ability to project power across the globe, then soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines will die of natural causes, accidents, and combat injuries. If we can't tolerate those losses, then we might as well bring them all home and let those who have a stomach for war rule the world.

  • gobytrain (unverified)
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    I wish I lived in a black and white world where there was a yes or no answer to every question. Unfortunatly, around the age of three or four, I started to ask the question, "why"?

    So, a little critical thought begs the question. Why is it, Mister Tee, that you feel it necessary to distance Mr. Saxton from President Bush when Saxton himself does not seem concerned with the association?

    Indeed, Saxton's campaign platform is right out of Bush's own '04 election stratagy. His recent windfall of half-million dollers from the Republican party strongly implies that he's towing the line with aplomb.

    I think if Saxton publicly states that he supports the President, and the President's party reciprocates the affection, no one need "attempt to nail Ron Saxton to the George Bush cross" when he's perfectly happy to crucify himself.

  • Mister Tee (unverified)
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    Maybe because George Bush had nothing to do with the death of young Aaron Cruz. He died of natural causes, he did not die as a result of combat.

    Because Ron Saxton had nothing to do with the untimely death of Aaron Cruz. And Ted Kulongoski, was similarly powerless to prevent it.

    That's about as black and white as it gets...If there is some subtle shade of gray, please feel free to elaborate.

  • gobytrain (unverified)
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    If you start now, Tee, you might be able to notify the parents of all Oregonians serving in the military that you have appointed yourself arbitrator of their political opinion.

    <h2>While you've got that phone in your hand, I would also suggest that you might want to walk the talk and give a call to your local military recruiter, "and let those who have a stomach for war rule the world."</h2>
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