Tuesday, August 31, 2004

National Guard

There's a comment on one of Klinkner's posts to the effect that critics of Bush's service during Vietnam "denigrate the national guard." I have to admit that I don't particularly care about any of this stuff, but simply as a factual matter, here's why I think this is a load of partisan crap.

If someone served in the National Guard ten years ago, or twenty years ago, I'd say that there was no question that he was a patriot and deserves to be congratulated for his service to the nation. But there's something ahistorical about failing to recognize that service in the Guard at the time that Bush signed up was something else entirely. Very few Guard units were called up to serve in Vietnam, which means that it was an almost certain pass out of doing combat service. This is very different from the situation today, where signing up for Guard service involves a relatively serious chance of facing a risk to life and limb. So I can't believe that any serious person believes that Bush signed up for the Guard for any reason other than avoiding getting sent to Vietnam. This was a less dishonorable option than, say, going to Canada or faking a disability. But it was significantly less honorable than enlisting, as Kerry did.

That said, I don't think that ANY of this should make even .000001% of anyone's decision on who to vote for. Bush's avoidance of Vietnam, and Kerry's enlistment, are completely irrelevant to their ability to be an effective commander-in-chief. It's all spin, and for the record, I think Kerry's mention of his service at every possible opportunity is obnoxious, as well as (it now turns out) politically unwise.


carla said...

I think the Vietnam service (or lack thereof) is a very credible issue for one reason: war. One of the candidates put us into war based on lies and trumped up intelligence...and never had to shoot someone or be shot at. It appears, at best, to be a very careless/cavalier way to handle the military and foreign policy.

The other candidate voted to give the POTUS the authority to go to war as leverage with the UN...believing that it wouldn't be used unless there was no other alternative. Believing that doing so is the most sober thing a President can do. He'd killed in war and been shot at himself. He knows the realities.

It's a big mistake for the Republicans to keep harping on Kerry's Vietnam record. A close look at the polls does show movement away from Kerry...but that happened during the primaries...and that's when Kerry came out shining.

Palooka said...

You seem to have glossed over the pertinent fact--Kerry enlisted in the NAVY RESERVE, and not the Navy. As I said the difference between Bush and Kerry is Kerry was activated. Maybe bavy reserves were activated much more commonly the air national guard units, but the point is nevertheless relevant.

What is a load of partisan crap is Leftists berating someone for avoiding Vietnam--immoral imperialist conquest. Talk about a load of partisan crap.

StevenTeles said...

It's probably worth noting that the term "leftist" as applied to me is ridiculous. I supported both wars in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan, and I believe the same thing is true of Klinkner. So...get your facts straight.

Palooka said...

Ok, maybe you're just someone who likes to jump to baseless conclusions (the Swiftees are lying scum!).

The comment need not apply to you two as individuals, the point still stands. The fact the left is attacking Bush's service as "draft dodging" is laughable.

Moreover,I am not sure why falsifying documents, lying, making up fantastic stories of Cambodia is all negated because Kerry went to Vietnam. Is any service honorable? Or is honorable service honorable?

I'd be willing to give Kerry the benefit of the doubt, and in the Rassmann episode I concede him that. But the only reasonable conclusion is that Kerry lied to get his first purple heart. He's also been repeating an event--a supposed life changing event--that just never happened. These are really strong accusations, corroborated by even Kerry's supporters. Kerry's version of events have been changing through this whole process (even in the Rassmann episode), yet to my knowledge the Swiftees have kept to their stories. That should give you some inclination of who is and who is not telling the truth... Enough of this crap for now..



MWS said...

It amazed me that people are making so much of Kerry's supposed lying on his Viet Nam record to the extent apparently that Bush is seen as more trustworthy. This from a president who either lied or completely misinterpreted intelligence, made up specious reasons to go to war, and who ignored any dissenting voices in his administration. And this is the guy who's more trustworthy than Kerry? Kerry leaves a lot to be desired as a candidate, but give me a break.

Anonymous said...

I have seen a report that President Bush's ANG unit was activated for continental defense duties either during the time that he was in Alabama or shortly after he left for Harvard Business School. It was an Internet report so it is highly suspect. Does anyone know when or if Mr. Bush's ANG unit was activated and the unit designation for Mr. Bush's ANG unit? Please spare the bombast. I am only trying to ascertain two facts.