In consideration of my dear friends who have different political opinions than moi, I'm going to show my sensitive side by putting most if not all of my political comments behind lj cuts. I can only hope that this is gesture is reciprocated... but even if it's not, I'll feel like a better friend for it.
Of course, if you click on the eeeeevil cut links I can't be held responsible for anybody's twisted panties ;)
Kerry Criticizes Cheney for Avoiding Vietnam War
"Democrat John Kerry hit back at Dick Cheney on Thursday by rasing the Republican's failure to serve in this Vietnam War and asking voters to weigh his two tours of duty against the vice president's five deferments."
Now, do I know what Dick Cheney was doing in the 60s and 70s? What the circumstances for all the deferments were? Nope... I'm afraid to say I haven't gotten around to reading his biography. I do know from slate.com that he was reclassified from 1-A (available for military service) to 3-A (deferred from military service because service would cause hardship upon his family) because, as Slate says, his wife was pregnant with their daughter Elizabeth. This was in June of 1966. At the time, the selective service had a policy of exempting married men with children from the draft. In '67 Cheney turned 26 and was therefore ineligable for the draft.
Now back to Kerry. I guess he's saying that all men of draft age who didn't go to Vietnam, be it for family, medical or studies-related reasons, are some how inferior? I really hope he's saying that. I think it would do wonders for his campaign. In fact, the more he bases his electability on his service, the better things become for the GOP.
Why? Because it's meaningless. While my respect for Kerry-the-politican is nil, I do respect his service to the country the same way I respected Gore's, the same way I respect our brave men and women who have served overseas and do so to this day. I love our armed forces, and I think it takes a special person to volunteer to serve his or her country in such a capacity. GW said it himself: Kerry was in harm's way. Voluntarily putting yourself in the line of fire takes guts, and I did not hear Cheney or anyone else at that convention question his patriotism. His voting record, yes. His ability to stick with decisions, yes. Not his patriotism.
That said, Kerry is fashioning himself as the man who thinks he should be elected President because he spent four months in Vietnam. He contrasts himself against Bush, who served in-country in the National Guard (Edwards reported said tonight that GW "never put on his nation's uniform", just going to prove that you can't trust anything a lawyer says), and Dick Cheney, one of an untold number of draft-age men who were classified as deferred. The Dems would like us to believe that military experience makes Kerry the better choice.
But where were these same arguments when Bush 41 was running against Clinton? GHW Bush, according to the 'official' White House bio, "enlisted in the armed forces" on his 18th birthday. "The youngest pilot in the Navy when he received his wings, he flew 58 combat missions during World War II. On one mission over the Pacific as a torpedo bomber pilot he was shot down by Japanese antiaircraft fire and was rescued from the water by a U. S. submarine. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in action." Clinton went from Georgetown to Oxford to Yale to Arkansas politics. No Vietnam there. Obviously he must have gotten a deferment as a student.
What about when Clinton was running against Bob Dole? Dole's bio says that "During the Second World War, he was a platoon leader in the legendary Tenth Mountain Division in Italy. In 1945, he was gravely wounded on the battlefield and was twice decorated for heroic achievement. His decorations include two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster." Clinton seemingly only left the country in order to protest the war on foreign soil. Yet I'm sure I never heard the Democrat party claiming that Clinton was deficient because of it.
The only reason I can think of that Kerry would rather emphasize four months 35 years ago versus his 20 years in the U.S. Senate is that he doesn't think his political record is solid enough to run on. And I imagine that he's correct.
Back to the article.
"Cheney launched a withering attack on Kerry on Wednesday night at the convention, saying he had a "habit of indecision" that would jeopardize national security, that he failed to grasp the dangers of terrorism, refused to support U.S. troops on the battlefield in Iraq and voted outside the mainstream during his 20 years in the Senate."
Patriotism... patriotism... nope, not seeing it.
I don't fancy myself such an ideologue that I reject the idea of Democrat patriotism. To be a patriot is to love one's country. I believe that the leaders of the DNC, Kerry included, love this country. That doesn't mean I support their vision for it. The split between liberal and conservative is one either of basic philosophy regarding the nature of man, or obsessive devotion to a single issue which overrides all else. In this case the former is most applicable, and when it comes to diverging philosophies... well, you're just not likely to find common ground there.
Does four months in Vietnam (even ignoring what did or did not happen during that time) make Kerry the better choice? I don't believe so. I don't think that overseas military service is a requirement to become President, and obviously neither does the Democratic Party. What I want in President I see in George W., in his philosophy, his vision, and his most recent military 'experience': almost four years as Commander in Chief of the armed forces.