If America runs out of Jack Dalys, it’ll run out of freedom. Daly, a U.S. Navy sailor, almost single-handedly took on the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon. And eventually, with a little augmented firepower here and there, he whipped them.
As a naval intelligence officer, then-Lt. Daly was wounded two years ago by enemy fire while checking out a Russian ship as it was spying on our nuclear subs in the Strait of Juan de Fuca in U.S. West Coast waters off Puget Sound.
To shut down his mission, the Russian ship blasted his aircraft with a laser shot, partially blinding Lt. Daly and his Canadian pilot.
Then, the Clinton administration tried to cover up the incident. Having smooth relations with yesterday’s “Evil Empire” was far more important to those who manipulate our government than looking after an American warrior wounded in the line of duty.
As part of the cover-up, Madeleine Albright’s gang of expedients at State delayed a U.S. military inspection of the Russian ship while they tipped off the Russian Embassy. And the Pentagon went along with the drill.
When the Russian ship was finally searched, as Freddy the Frog could have told you, there was absolutely no sign of any laser weapon. The spy ship was subsequently allowed to leave U.S. waters, and the State Department did its crooked best to keep the incident from the American public.
Lt. Daly was told to shut up by Washington, and his Navy chain of command was ordered to keep him quiet. The medics were instructed by Navy brass to ignore his very real medical complaints and treat him as a malingerer.
The next step was to kill his unblemished career with an unsatisfactory fitness report and start one of those whispering campaigns about loose marbles rolling across Lt. Daly’s upper deck.
But President Clinton, Mrs. Albright, Defense Secretary William Cohen and a few dozen fellow rats in the State Department and the senior ranks of our Navy didn’t understand what tough stuff Lt. Daly was made of.
When he fought back, they of the bigger cannons tried to mute his trumpet permanently by passing him over for promotion based on that phony efficiency report and giving him his walking papers when he was only three years short of retirement.
But Lt. Daly stayed the course and, soon, good reporters in the media and politicians from both major parties rushed to the rescue. Together, they exposed the lies and toasted the bad guys until the truth won out.
The inspector general ruled the Pentagon colluded in the cover-up and that the Navy had zapped Lt. Daly for reporting the incident and then for sticking to his guns.
Now Jack Daly has been promoted to lieutenant commander.
But complete justice will only be done when everyone involved in this attempt to destroy a good man’s life is identified and held responsible. Certainly there’s a paper trail from the White House to the State Department to the Pentagon. Congress needs to get these documents and then fry those responsible.
The Navy should be forced to conduct a similar investigation, starting with the brass at Cmdr. Daly’s San Diego base who played the dirty game with his fitness report and the smear campaign.
The secretary of the Navy and the chief of naval operations and the president and all the officers of Cmdr. Daly’s promotion board who found him not fit for promotion need to be interviewed and all their records looked at under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.
Cmdr. Daly should be awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received by enemy fire and reimbursed for the thousands of dollars in family savings spent in his fight for justice and the truth. The fines imposed on the guilty, responsible for the cover-up and the attempt to take Cmdr. Daly down, could be used to pay back this fine sailor.
Cmdr. Daly should be transferred immediately to the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, and placed in charge of all ethical training. Our Navy’s senior leadership has been in moral meltdown for decades, and Cmdr. Daly could well become the 21st century’s John Paul Jones for returning values to an institution now drowning in its own sleaze.
David Hackworth, a retired U.S. Army colonel, is a columnist and author. He is co-author of the 1989 international best seller, “About Face,” and the subsequent “Brave Men.” He also co-authored the Vietnam Primer, a source book on guerrilla warfare in Vietnam.