7 Comments


  • My dad’s been raving against War Wimps for as long as I can remember. He raised me as an ultra liberal; he’s also a decorated Green Beret who served in both Korea and Vietnam. He can list all of the politicians who call for war but who avoided service themselves.

    It’s disgusting.

    November 01, 2004
  • Wow – can you get your dad to post that list on the internet for all to see?

    November 01, 2004
  • I wish. Daddy is Internet phobic and isn’t online. Next time he’s ranting I will try to take notes.

    November 01, 2004
  • Well, as you may recall from a previous thread on this issue, I completely agree with your father. I have a visceral response to guys like Cheney who are happy to send other folks into combat, but who had “other priorities” during the Vietnam war, and got himself multiple deferments to avoid the Walking Tour of Southeast Asia.

    But I’m also wary of the argument from personal experience: just because a combat veteran believes a war is just doesn’t make it so. The Swift Boat Veterans With A Pathological Resentment Against John Kerry are a case in point. There are lots of troops on the ground in Iraq who believe in the mission, but that doesn’t make them experts on global politics or foreign policy.

    As an aside, I don’t know if you saw the most recent Frontline, Rumsfeld’s War, but there’s one thing in it that struck me particularly. Rumsfeld and the neocons derided Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki for his (prescient) opinion that it would take several hundred thousand troops to pacify Iraq once Saddam Hussein’s government was toppled.

    I don’t think it’s an accident that General Shinseki, a wounded Vietnam war hero, was much more cautious about the Iraq adventure than the more pliable General Richard B. Myers (chairman of the Joint Chiefs), a former Air Force fighter pilot who saw combat in Vietnam. As I’ve said before, I suspect Air Force veterans are more hawkish than their groundpounder counterparts because they don’t see the carnage close-up. Also, Myers has about 600 hours of combat time in the F4 Phantom. That works out to about 25 days of exposure to combat. An infantry officer who did a one-year tour in Vietnam (Shinseki served two tours) would probably log 25 days of combat time in a couple of months or less.

    I have a feeling the difference in their relative exposure to danger and bloodshed has shaped the apparently divergent views of Shinseki and Myers.

    November 01, 2004
  • But I’m also wary of the argument from personal experience: just because a combat veteran believes a war is just doesn’t make it so. The Swift Boat Veterans With A Pathological Resentment Against John Kerry are a case in point. There are lots of troops on the ground in Iraq who believe in the mission, but that doesn’t make them experts on global politics or foreign policy.

    Absolutely. Thus another Daddy rant…*g*

    November 01, 2004
  • Laura and I watched Going Upriver the other night, the documentary by George Butler about Kerry’s service in Vietnam and his subsequent leadership of Vietnam Veterans Against the War. (His 23 April 1971 testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is available here.) The film didn’t need to mention George Bush once to show how hollow the president’s protestations of moral bravery are. Our only regret was that we didn’t watch it soon enough to allow Netflix to get it to another viewer before Election Day.

    However, I did mail-order a copy for my father. My brother reports to me that, though my father doesn’t particularly like Bush, he thinks that John Kerry is the worst thing to happen to America during the last 30 years. My father, when called upon to defend that statement, could only mutter that he knows how things work in the Army. When called upon to defend that statement, he could only mutter.

    November 02, 2004
  • …though my father doesn’t particularly like Bush, he thinks that John Kerry is the worst thing to happen to America during the last 30 years.

    Sure, it’s the French Connection thing.

    November 04, 2004

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