Alarming News

November 25, 2003

Vietnam still lingers on

Scott at Slantpoint who is, by the way, one of my favorite people that I’ve met through meetups, has a great post about Howard Dean openly admitting that he dodged the Vietnam draft.

This is, for many reasons, a really sore point with me. I feel like I may have written about this before, but, Peter and I almost broke up in the beginning of our relationship because he volunteered the information that he would’ve dodged the draft had he been around during the Vietnam war. As someone raised to understand how evil and awful communism was (and is: hi Cuba and N.Korea) and how it had to be stopped, these words were shocking to me. A wiser, albeit younger, friend of mine (the third one on the list) convinced me I was overreacting by basing my relationship decisions on a hypothetical situation. Since I’m a bit of a commitment-phobe anyway, I agreed that I probably was. Still, I am unshaken that Vietnam was the right thing to do. Vietnam was one front in stopping Communism. America might’ve been wrong strategically in Vietnam, but its purpose was completely correct.
Agree/Disagree? Read Scott’s post and we’ll reconvene.

Posted by Karol at 01:14 AM |

George Bush dodged Vietnam. So did Dick Cheney and Dan Quayle. Dean showed up with his legit medical transcripts and they did not take him. That was not dodging the issue. My Dad and stepdad are both vietnam era vets and they support Dean.

Posted by: Jake of at November 25, 2003 at 2:34 am

So you do not believe in a volunteer army?

Posted by: Dan at November 25, 2003 at 9:22 am

Dean admits he could have easily served in the military. The military did not say no to him, he said no to it. He willingly sought out the Xrays and letter from his doctor to present to the military. It’s not as if he went in and they questioned him, and then they said no.
Basically it’s like jury duty. So many americans have a mindset to avoid it. In NYC we used to be able to get notes from our boss saying we were needed at work. I’ve heard countless people propose scenarios where they lie about their impartiality, or would say things like they are for the death penalty or whatever would make them “extreme” enough to not get picked.
The comparison is not Dean to Bush. It is Dean alone. He is tapping into our inner chicken, the one that so many of us have. But is that what we want a leader to do? I want mine to tap into my inner Lion.

Posted by: Scott S at November 25, 2003 at 10:39 am

Jake, Bending the truth to fit your purposes is fine, as long as you know you’re doing it.
Dan, Of course I’m for a volunteer army. But that wasn’t the case during Vietnam.

Posted by: Kashei at November 25, 2003 at 10:58 am

So if you are a supporter of a volunteer army, why is it wrong to avoid a draft? Forcing people to perform labor, with a threat of jail if they do not comply, is not something a free society should be doing. It is perfectly reasonable that people should disobey an unjust system like the draft.
And even if the U.S. ‘meant well’ by the Vietnam War, it ultimately proved to be a bad idea. I don’t see why there is anything wrong with people
who did not want to waste a few years of their lives (or their own life or limbs) on a futile war.

Posted by: Dan at November 25, 2003 at 11:11 am

Serving in the military is (was) one of the responsabilities of being a citizen, just like the afformentioned jury duty. Serving in the national guard is not draft dodging. Using legitimate medical excuses to get out of serving also is not draft dodging. I would never disrespect the entire universe of veterans by making comments like the ones I’ve read here by people demanding liberties but also demanding others fight for it.
We do not live in a society where we pick and choose when we will perform our civil duties depending on personal political views at the time.
Obviously in times of peace a volunteer army is the ideal institution, but in times of necessity the draft, or required military service, has historically been the backbone of Democracy.

Posted by: DTDT at November 25, 2003 at 11:32 am

Come on Dan. Who cares, it was predominatly only low grade f*cking proles, blacks, and of course the gooks (if a dead gook can be considered a waste), that fought the war. Their lives were not wasted. They gave a whole new generation of college kids the opportunity to wallow in the glory of war, and to hypothecate about about the righteous cause.
Shit, I am sure in the USSR the same thing was going on all the way during Afghanistan. The young go getting ideologoues on campus defending the rightoeous cause, while the poor sods on the front line get blown ass over tit.

Posted by: Bobby at November 25, 2003 at 11:56 am

I agree Bush made a choice that taps into the inner chicken as well. Though not as blantant as Dean, the Air National Guard was still a relief to him when faced with possible death.
But I still harken back to certain admirable individuals like Muhammad Ali and Elvis. Americans with connections up the ying-yang yet still chose to serve like everyone else. This is a male issue, regardles of who serves in the military now.
Still, there come those rare moments where civic duty calls upon everyone. That profound moment challenges us all to look at life either a serving ourselves or serving others. From the moment every male over 18 sends in the Selective Service card, we can be pissed at the country for making us do it, or happy that we live in a country that gives us 99% of our time to do whatever the fuck we want. Yet still, some want that 1% too.

Posted by: Scott S at November 25, 2003 at 11:57 am

I do not think a draft is ever necessary. I also do not think it is a duty of a citizen to die for the state. The idea of a draft goes against the very concept of a free society. It gives politicians the right to start wars without worrying whether they can get convince enough citizens that they should put their lives at risk.
The draft forces people with certain characteristics (age, sex, etc.) to make sacrifices for everyone else without proper compensation. I am not sure where people get the idea that a draft is ever necessary or that it is compatible with a free society.

Posted by: Dan at November 25, 2003 at 11:58 am

Aw, “discrimination” against males. How many guys are complaining?
This is a great example where life is simply not fair, but need not be.

Posted by: Scott S at November 25, 2003 at 12:05 pm

Ali did not serve in Vietnam, though he didn’t use connections to get out of it and lost his career, title, much of his fortune because of his decision not to serve.
Now, I know, I have a poor track record of getting my history from Hollywood, but I’m fairly certain The Fresh Prince got this historical point right.

Posted by: Dawn Summers at November 25, 2003 at 2:36 pm

There are 2 kind of draft dodgers.
1. Cowards – Those who support the war but don’t want to fight it themselves.
2. Objectors – Those who don’t support the war and don’t want to be forced into fighting it.
Vietnam of course isn’t a cut and dry war of good vs evil and our purpose for being their was in question. So I have a lot of respect and honor for those who bravely served their country by both the draft and volunteering. I also don’t have a problems with the Objectors. Muhammad Ali and Dean being examples.
When I take into context the date when Dean was drafted winter of 1970 (a time when support and morale for the war was low)it’s easy to realize how many good Americans came to believe by that time the war was morally wrong.
Kerry VOLUNTEERED for the War BEFORE he graduated college, I find that completely admirable that he had such passion, bravery and Patriotism. I also believe it shows a lot about his character that he later beleived the war he sacraficed in was wrong.
Bush Jr. dodged the draft by joining the National Guard and then went AWOL from even doing that. My question is did Bush support the vietnam war? Did he back then? if so then he falls into the Coward category.

Posted by: PAUL at November 25, 2003 at 5:45 pm

I don’t understand why would joining the National Guard be considered draft dodging ? Any national guard unit could have been sent over to ‘Nam. If Dean is to medically incompetent to serve in the Army, he probably doesn’t qualify to be its commander-in-chief.
I would also like to comment to everyone that enjoys not having to serve in the military, keep voting for politicians that spend a lot of money on defense this way we won’t have the problems of the past, that required massive call-ups through drafts. Oh but I forgot, we shouldn’t spend money on defense either, just give all that money over to the UN they’ll solve the worlds problems…….ecccchhhhh

Posted by: DTDT at November 25, 2003 at 6:13 pm

Doh! Dawn – absolutely right. Fast blogging makes a foll out of the best of us. Ali was known for his stance against war, not for the draft.
Bottom line however, is the question. Does the candidate inspire you? Draft or no, that is one issue. A President is not just about his days gone-by. Thus Dean is not disqualified for not serving. Neither is Bush for his stint in ANG.
In 20 years this won’t be an issue becuase we are doing more and more to have outr conflicts be minimal and involve less soldiers. The 2024 election won’t probably pit any veterans.

Posted by: Scott S at November 25, 2003 at 7:10 pm

I think you’re missing a third category:
3. Cynics – Those who support the war and would want to fight it themselves, but think the strategy for achieving victory is so flawed that their contribution would be futile.

Posted by: Joe Grossberg at November 25, 2003 at 7:34 pm

My favorite congressman on the draft:

Posted by: Dan at November 26, 2003 at 9:43 am

I didn’t realise quite what a broad church the Republican party was !

Posted by: Bobby at November 26, 2003 at 11:56 am

“Who cares, it was predominatly only low grade f*cking proles, blacks, and of course the gooks (if a dead gook can be considered a waste), that fought the war”
It’s amazing all you can learn when this scholar posts. Even more amazing in that he’s never left his mommy’s basement but can tell us everything that happened in another country, fighting a third one 35 years ago on the other side of the world.
I will now defend you to the death when others consider you a know-it-all, blowhard, full-of-shit buffoon.

Posted by: Radical Redneck at November 28, 2003 at 10:27 am
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