Top pundits and politicians yesterday predicted Larry Lawrence – the Democratic fat cat whose fake war record got him buried in Arlington National Cemetery – will have to be dug up.
The Post reported Saturday that records show Lawrence was at a Chicago college at the time he claimed he was risking his life in the merchant marine during World War II.
The college records appear to seal the fate of Lawrence – who died last year at 69 – leading many to insist his remains should be moved to a less-prestigious cemetery.
George Stephanopoulos, ex-top adviser to President Clinton, predicted yesterday his former boss would take a tough stand on Lawrence.
Asked on ABC's “This Week” if Clinton would put his foot down and say Lawrence should be removed from Arlington, Stephanopoulos predicted, “He will.”
Sen. Don Nickles (Okla.) – the Senate's No. 2 Republican – also said Lawrence should be dug up if he lied about his war service.
“If his military service was a fraud, I don't think he belongs in Arlington National Cemetery. I think that is hallowed ground and really he shouldn't be there if he got in there under false pretenses,” Nickles, said on CNN's “Late Edition” yesterday.
Sen. Carl Levin (Mich.), the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said he was troubled by the new evidence showing Lawrence lied about his war record, but he said the decision to move Lawrence or let him rest in peace was up to the superintendent of Arlington and the secretary of the Army.
Lawrence, who gave Democrats $10 million and was appointed by Clinton as ambassador to Switzerland, claimed in life that he served aboard a merchant ship that was torpedoed off Murmansk, Soviet Union, in March 1945.
He said he suffered a head injury when he was thrown into the frigid Arctic Ocean.
But the merchant marine has no record of Lawrence ever serving with them and the Wilbur Wright Junior College in Chicago says records show Lawrence was a full-time student there from January to June 1945.
GOP consultant Bill Kristol said Lawrence shouldn't be dug up.
Lying about military service “is appalling, but digging him up also would be slightly, slightly grotesque.”
Kristol added that the “gravegate” scandal will give Republicans a hefty political tool to use against Clinton in next year's congressional elections.
“You could rename his tomb “The Tomb of the Unknown Campaign Contributor' and it would be a good reminder to future generations about what the Clinton administration was like,” Kristol said on “This Week.”
The White House denies it knew anything about the dishonesty of Lawrence's claims, and says it didn't give him special treatment because of his Democratic support.
The State Department has admitted it found no records to support Lawrence's claim when vetting his ambassadorial appointment – but said it saw no reason to double-check his claims.
Arlington is supposed to be reserved for people killed in war, longtime veterans and veterans with high honors. Members of Congress and Cabinet-level appointees with military service may also be buried there.
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard