Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bilkoed by Bunko Artists

Memorial Day was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. It has since become a day to remember and honor the men and women of our armed forces who died in all of the wars started by politicians who did not possess the intelligence to resolve conflicts through reason and negotiation. Most of us do that, even as we hope against experience that fewer will die in the present and future military misadventures.

The Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz called war an extension of politics, but he also
compared it "to business competition, which is also a conflict of human interests and activities; and it is still more like State policy, which again, on its part, may be looked upon as a kind of business competition on a great scale." Sadly, some local veterans appear to have soiled their honor and the better motives of patriotism by engaging in the commerce of political endorsements on a petty scale.

A recently registered political action committee, calling itself the
Northwest Arkansas Veterans Association, endorsed candidates for the May 20 Republican primary election and sponsored direct mail pieces and pre-recorded telephone messages to voters in Benton County. It now turns out that endorsements might have cost the candidates between $600 and $1,000, not as a direct purchase but as a suggestion that a contribution to the group would be appropriate from endorsed candidates. Wink.

Among the Republican candidates
endorsed by the Northwest Arkansas Veterans Association, the alleged peddler of endorsements, were Ronald Williams for Judge on the Arkansas Court of Appeals, Kelly Cradduck for Sheriff, Jim Johnson for Circuit Judge, Steve Geigle for District Judge, and Vickey Boozman for State Representative. All losers.

State Senator
David Bisbee, who led in the balloting for County Judge, was joined at a press conference by Greg Hines, Chris Glass, and Kevin Harrison, the three judge candidates knocked out in the primary. They claimed that the Association is a phony front group to endorse Bill Adams, who finished second and is in a runoff with Bisbee, and that Adams was soliciting donations from candidates endorsed by the Association. Adams denied it.

Who knows for sure? Guy Parker of Bentonville, president of the veterans' association,
would not answer questions about who decided which candidates to endorse. Johnny Dillard of Lowell, treasurer of the group, would not return phone calls to a reporter. Richard McCall of Rogers, listed as Vice President, said he’d never heard of the group and is angry to be associated with it.

On this Memorial Day, let us remember those honorable veterans who have served in our nation's armed forces.

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