*Originally published on RYOT.org on July 8th, 2015 by Sean Sawyer*
Former Senator Jim Webb brings an old school no-nonsense military background to Washington. And while he may be the toughest candidate seeking the 2016 Presidential bid, he also may be the most moderate. So let’s learn more about the Democratic decorated Vietnam Vet and award-winning journalist.
A Military Man Through and Through
Webb was born an Air Force Brat moving from state to state and even lived in England for a time. In the 60’s, Webb attended the University of Southern California and participated in the NROTC program. After going to USC for 2 years, Webb earned a scholarship to the US Naval Academy and graduated with the Superintendent’s Letter for Outstanding Leadership. After being commissioned a Second Lieutenant, Webb graduated from the Marine Corps Officer Basic School at the top of his class. Webb was then deployed to Vietnam where he became a decorate soldier earning the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts. His war wounds left him with shrapnel in his knee, kidney, and head. During his campaign for Senator of Virginia in 2006, Webb’s son, Jimmy a Lance Corporal in the Marines, was deployed to Iraq. On the campaign trail, Webb wore his son’s old combat boots in tribute to him and “all the people sent into harm’s way.”
Post Military Career
Webb served as the nation’s first Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs from 1984 to 1987 under the Reagan Administration. In 1987, he served as Secretary of the Navy until he resigned in 1988 after disagreeing to reduce the size of the Navy fleet.
Award Winning Author and Filmmaker
After his time serving in the government, Webb focused his attentions on writing novels and screenplays, while still contributing his thoughts via op-ed pieces for magazines and newspapers. Webb wrote 10 novels in total. One of his most notable novels is a nonfiction book on how Scot-Irish decedents shaped America through their war fighting skills. He won an Emmy for a special report he produced for “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour” in 1983.
Extreme Opposition to the War
In 1990, Webb wrote an op-ed in The New York Times that expressed his opposition to Operation Desert Shield. Webb wrote, “Too much is at risk, and too many questions remain for this buildup to continue without the Administration clarifying its direction. And if offensive action is in the cards, it should be taken only after the President receives a declaration of war from the Congress.” Webb’s opposition to war continued when he opposed the war in Iraq. Webb felt that US occupation in Iraq would be devastating because it is in the cradle of Islam, Iraq is extremely ethnically diverse both which would make US soldiers ideal targets for terrorist attacks. Webb went on to question if overthrowing Saddam Hussein would “actually increase our ability to win the war against international terrorism.”
Tough Republican Vibe, Democratic Views
Webb has a no-nonsense demeanor. He stands by his views and won’t give in to anybody, even if that makes him want to slug the President. While he seems to be a Republican military man, Webb has liberal views. He opposes war without consent by Congress, seeks to reform the tax system and criminal justice system, and repairing American infrastructure thus giving jobs to lower class citizens and bridging the gap between the wealthy and poor.