Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth is injecting new life into charges that hounded Sen. Mark Kirk throughout his successful 2010 Senate campaign. Duckworth, the Democratic US Senate candidate from Illinois, brought the issues up during an August speech before county leaders of the state’s Democratic Party.
In it, she claimed that Kirk lied, at least 10 times, about his military record.
“This is the man who knows so much about national security. He’s been wrong about every issue on national security he’s ever been involved in,” Duckworth said. “And who, by the way, claims all this based on his military record which he lied about at least 10 times.”
Politifact looked into Duckworth’s claim and rated it, “Mostly True”.
The following are the 10 instances in which Kirk allegedly lied about his service – which the Duckworth campaign listed:
- Naval Intelligence Officer of the Year Award
- Taking fire while flying over Iraq
- Serving combat duty in Kosovo
- Being shot at in Afghanistan
- Being “deployed” to Afghanistan
- Taking part in Operation Desert Storm
- Participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Claimed to be the only member of Congress who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Claimed to command the Pentagon’s war room
- Claimed he had not violated Pentagon policy about campaigning while on duty.
Back in 2005, Afghanistan veteran Terry Welch looked into claims by an Ohio Congresswoman that Kirk was the first Iraq War vet elected to Congress. It was later determined that the information was false. Regarding the OIF claim, this was the statement that Welch wrote:
“While we applaud the service of Mark Kirk, his service occurred before the March 19, 2003, start date of the mission, according to the Bush administration itself.”
In 2010, there were more problems for the junior Senator from Illinois. During that campaign, Kirk admitted he did not win the Naval Intelligence Officer of the Year Award. As far as his service in Kosovo, he removed the word “combat” from his record. As for taking fire while flying over Iraq – there is reportedly no record of whether Kirk’s aircraft was fired upon. Regarding his so-called deployment to Afghanistan, one military official confirmed that Kirk was there for “short training stints” and was not officially deployed.
There are conflicting accounts about Kirk being shot at in Kandahar. Members of his staff say there were two separate instances that the Senator was there – in December 2008 and December 2009. Kirk had stated that during one of those visits, he was with a “Dutch armor unit in Kandahar, getting shot at.”
During the 2010 campaign, Kirk “issued clarifications and apologies related to his military claims on more than one occasion.” He went on to defeat his opponent in a narrow victory that November.
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