Thursday, February 12, 2004


It ought not to be surprising to see the GOP change its tunes with respect to military service. After all, they have gone from Gramm Rudman deficit hawks to claiming that deficits do not matter at all, in the service of expounding on the need for further tax cuts. And so they have come from lambasting Clinton's lack of service to being outraged that Democrats would have the audacity to question the President's National Guard service.

Let is think about this a bit.

Clinton did not serve in Vietnam because his draft number was too high to be called. And he also spent some of the Vietnam years in England on a Rhodes Scholarhsip. George Bush used family ties to get a spot in the Texas Air National Guard. There is a question of whether or not he actually served and how it was that he was let out of his duty early. Bush attended Harvard Business School after earning gentleman's C's at Yale. John Kerry went to Vietnam after graduating from Yale and earned a Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, and three awards of the Purple Heart for his service in combat.

Why does it even matter?

There are those who, right or wrong, will tell you that service does not matter. And, in the abstract it probably does not. However, the Bush administration has sent America's sons and daughters off to fight in an ill-conceived war. (It also matters that the VP, the White House political guru, the Deputy Secretary of Defense and others who drove the war policy avoided service.) Not only has the administration brought us into a bad war, but it has the audacity to question the patriotism of those who object to the war or the administration's foreign policy in general.

The President promised full release of his military records, but as of yet they have not been fully disclosed. It has to make one wonder just what BushCo. is hiding. But let us also not forget that the President has not attended a single funeral for soldiers killed in Iraq, yet has found the time to attend dozens of fundraisers for his re-election campaign. This says a lot about where the President's priorities lie.

"I am angry that so many of the sons of the powerful and well-placed... managed to wangle slots in Reserve and National Guard units...Of the many tragedies of Vietnam, this raw class discrimination strikes me as the most damaging to the ideal that all Americans are created equal and owe equal allegiance to their country."---Colin Powell, My American Journey, p. 148


Post a Comment

<< Home