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Decorated Vietnam Veteran Enters 2016 Presidential Race

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20150704_jimwebb_02This past week, former Virginia Senator Jim Webb announced that he is entering the race for the presidential election in 2016.  While Webb served in the Senate from 2007 to 2013 as a Democrat, he has yet to declare which party he will run with.

Jim Webb served as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Marine Corps. Some of Jim Webb’s awards include the Navy Cross, Silver Star Medal, two Bronze Star Medals and two Purple Hearts. Jim Webb’s Navy Cross Citation presented to him as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps for actions in Vietnam reads:

Jim Webb, First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps
Company D, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.) FMF
Date of Action: July 10, 1969

“The Navy Cross is presented to James H. Webb, Jr., First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as a Platoon Commander with Company D, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 10 July 1969, while participating in a company-sized search and destroy operation deep in hostile territory, First Lieutenant Webb’s platoon discovered a well-camouflaged bunker complex which appeared to be unoccupied. Deploying his men into defensive positions, First Lieutenant Webb was advancing to the first bunker when three enemy soldiers armed with hand grenades jumped out. Reacting instantly, he grabbed the closest man and, brandishing his .45 caliber pistol at the others, apprehended all three of the soldiers. Accompanied by one of his men, he then approached the second bunker and called for the enemy to surrender. When the hostile soldiers failed to answer him and threw a grenade which detonated dangerously close to him, First Lieutenant Webb detonated a claymore mine in the bunker aperture, accounting for two enemy casualties and disclosing the entrance to a tunnel. Despite the smoke and debris from the explosion and the possibility of enemy soldiers hiding in the tunnel, he then conducted a thorough search which yielded several items of equipment and numerous documents containing valuable intelligence data. Continuing the assault, he approached a third bunker and was preparing to fire into it when the enemy threw another grenade. Observing the grenade land dangerously close to his companion, First Lieutenant Webb simultaneously fired his weapon at the enemy, pushed the Marine away from the grenade, and shielded him from the explosion with his own body. Although sustaining painful fragmentation wounds from the explosion, he managed to throw a grenade into the aperture and completely destroy the remaining bunker. By his courage, aggressive leadership, and selfless devotion to duty, First Lieutenant Webb upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.”

You can read about Jim Webb’s stance on specific issues here, but we listed where he stands on foreign policy issues below.

First and foremost, if a President wishes to conduct offensive military operations, he – or she – should be able to explain clearly the threat to our national security, the specific objectives of the operations, and the end result he or she wishes to obtain.

Second, we will honor our treaty commitments. But we are not obligated to join a treaty partner if they elect to use force outside the direct boundaries of our commitment, as in Libya. Neither the United Nations nor NATO has the power to bring the United States into an elective war without the consent of our Congress.

Third, we will maintain superiority in our strategic systems. This includes not only nuclear weapons but also such areas as technology, space, and cyber warfare.

Fourth, we will preserve and exercise the right of self-defense as guaranteed under international law and the UN Charter.

Fifth, we have important allies around the world, especially in Asia and the Middle East, whom we will continue to support in many ways. This will not cease. In fact, as we clarify our other commitments, these relationships will be strengthened.

Sixth, with respect to the war against terrorism, we will act vigorously against terrorist organizations if they are international in nature and are a direct threat to our national security. This includes the right to conduct military operations in foreign countries if that country is unwilling or unable to address the threat. We maintain this right through international law, and through Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.

However, there is an important caveat to how our country should fight international terrorism. The violation of this principle has caused us a lot of trouble in the recent past. I can do no better than to quote from an article I wrote on September 12th, 2001, the day after the 9 / 11 attacks. “DO NOT OCCUPY TERRITORY. The terrorist armies make no claim to be members of any nation-state. Similarly, it would be militarily and politically dangerous for our military to operate from permanent or semi-permanent bases, or to declare that we are defending specific pieces of terrain in the regions where the terrorist armies live and train. We already have terrain to defend – the United States and our outposts overseas – and we cannot afford to expand this territory in a manner that would simply give the enemy more targets.”

And finally, a warning spurred by the actions of this Administration in places such as Libya. There is no such thing as the right of any President to unilaterally decide to use force in combat operations based on such vague concepts as “humanitarian intervention.” If a treaty does not obligate us, if American forces are not under attack or under threat of imminent attack, if no Americans are at risk, the President should come to the congress before he or she sends troops into Harm’s Way

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