Mark Kirk has a bit of a problem, that's likely to soon be a very big problem. See, it turns out he's been less than truthful about his own military service, and that it's looking like it's a bit of a habit with him.
In 2005, a political tussle in Ohio led to Rep. Jean Schmidt claiming that Rep. Mark Kirk (who's currently running for Barack Obama's former Senate seat) was a "veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom." It was news to me that any politician had served in Iraq by that time and, as it turned out, it wasn't true. Mark Kirk was claiming on his campaign site to be "the only member of Congress to serve stateside during Operation Iraqi Freedom," which was true, but on his official web site he claimed to be "the only member of Congress to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom." To say you have served in a campaign is precisely the sort of falsehood for which Richard Blumenthal has been castigated for the past few days.
Yet, whereas Blumenthal repeatedly pointed out in speeches that he had served "during" Vietnam--with that noteable slip-up--and then corrected the record when the mistake was pointed out, Kirk's office refused to address the falsehood on his web site for more than 50 days after I first contacted him, despite the fact the Navy's Office of Information agreed that, because Kirk had never served in Iraq during Iraqi Freedom, he had no right to claim to be an Iraqi Freedom veteran.
In the end, Kirk's staff simply changed the site without comment or apology.
Then there's this:
From U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk's official website.
The U.S. Navy named Kirk “Intelligence Officer of the Year” in 1999 for his combat service in Kosovo....
...Try doing a Google search for "Intelligence Officer of the Year" and "U.S. Navy". If this was a real award, shouldn't it come up on some official Navy website with lists of other winners and other nominees? I think Kirk was awarded "Intelligence Officer of the Year" for reservists who were junior officers. It may even be a smaller subset of officers, for example those in the Yugoslavia mission. Kirk wants people to think he was evaluated the best in the entire Navy. Only it ain't true.
Yeah, so having been called on that, here is Kirk, explaining his made up award:
Upon a recent review of my records, I found that an award listed in my official biography was misidentified as “Intelligence Officer of the Year.” In fact, as noted in my Fitness Report, I was the “recipient of the Rufus Taylor Intelligence Unit of the Year award for outstanding support provided during Operation Allied Force.”
As kos found out and tweeted if you Google "Rufus Taylor Intelligence Unit of the Year", there will be only two hits -- both from Kirk websites. There's a "Rufus Taylor Award for Excellence in Instruction," but that's it.
And then there's his "service" in Afghanistan:
I received an e-mail which pointed out that Kirk had "deployed" to Afghanistan while in office. Let me call bullshit on that, too. Kirk, it seems, found a way to perform his Annual Training periods in a war zone. Yes, I give him some credit for going over there in the first place, but, he is claiming he was on a "deployment" when he was merely performing his two-week-long bare minimum active duty requirement. The minimum deployment length for Sailors who aren't politically connected is 6-7 months and, for soldiers, a year. Kirk's service amounts to little more than padding his resume.
The Washington Post is apparently hot on the trail of Kirk's military service claims, so expect to see a lot more on this story.