Mudcat Café message #1120378 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #67130   Message #1120378
Posted By: Strick
21-Feb-04 - 09:28 AM
Thread Name: BS: Kerry's War Record...
Subject: RE: BS: Kerry's War Record...
"Geez, folks tear down Clinton cause he didn't go to Nam and now they take off on Kerry, who not only went to Nam but won the Silver Star.

I'm a tad confused, I guess."

We're confused, too, Raptaire. First some excuse Clinton's outrageous use of influence and misdirection to avoid the draft see here and then they play up Kerry's justified war hero status.

It's just that Clinton's election seemed to a lot of people like a truce. He didn't serve (avoided service most ignobly instead - see below if you don't want to read the link), but that was a fact of life in our generation. Put that war behind us and forgive what people did to avoid it once it was clear it was the wrong war.

This issue seems to say the truce broken. That's the problem with Kerry's war record. It shouldn't be ignored, he should be proud of serving.

Still, Kerry entered the service in 1966. At the time the country was sharply divided, many, many people still supported the war. Where I was raised, you could be beat bloody for even suggesting it was wrong. It would have been odd for someone with ties to the establishment like Kerry not to support the war. By the time Bush and Gore went into the National Guard only a couple of years later the mood of the country had started to turn. It would have been odd if anyone who had an out hadn't taken it. A year or two difference in age produced staggering differences in attitude and how most people conducted themselves in those years. I remember that era well.

Look at how the times changed other things as the war went on. As late as 1968 football coaches in the football worshiping South were suspending star players who let their hair grow long. By 1973, the coaches had let their own hair grow long. The drug culture took a similar turn only a little later. Marijuana smoking was unheard of among high school students, the kids getting drafted, in many small communities as late as 1971. Merle Haggard said so. By 1973, it was almost required. Before long some of the best stuff in Oklahoma was grown in Muskogee. I remember that era well, too.

Are you surprised nobody was taking their National Guard duty all that seriously by 1973? In a recent article in the Wastington Post Bush's commanding officer in Alabama who didn't remember him, the major argument that Bush did not fulfill his service requirement for that period, admits he wasn't on base enough to know if Bush made his monthly meetings. The Guard as a whole was not exactly on top of those things after all. It was full of people avoiding the war who were well past the chance that they might get called up. Hell, I voluntarily took a physical in Arkansas in 1973 and you should have seen how laid back and willing to ignore the rules the regular Air Force was. The war was almost over and they were just going through the motions. Would anyone be surprised that the Alabama National Guard didn't keep good records? Really? Is it possible that Bush's National Guard service wasn't that different from, say Al Gore's after all?

So this isn't about Clinton or Bush or even Kerry at all. Every Presidential candidate we'll see for the next twelve years could have served in Viet Nam (even Hillary). Isn't exploring what that war was like reasonable if you're going to consider service an issue? Isn't this key difference in timing worth considering as well?

Clinton and Viet Nam

The article on Clinton's a little long but here are my favorites from it:

"That Bill Clinton went to great lengths to avoid the Vietnam-era draft, that he used political connections to obtain special favors, and that he made promises and commitments which he later failed to honor, are all beyond dispute."

"Although what he did may not have been against the law, Clinton's broken promises and contradictory statements about his efforts to avoid the draft were prime examples of the kind of self-serving doublespeak that later earned him the sobriquet 'Slick Willie.'"