Strewth, I didn’t realize what a La Brea Tarpit of a topic this is — worse
than the Middle East. My e-mail is about 3-1 against me on this, mainly
because of my having said that Bush and Cheney “didn’t serve,” when of
course Bush *did* serve. Some readers have dropped me from their wills.
Several have educated me (I am not speaking facetiously — there is a lot of
stuff here I didn’t know) about the tangled complexities of the Draft, and
one’s reasonable responses to it, in the VN era. Thanks to those.
I am sorry about “didn’t serve.” I meant: “…didn’t serve in Vietnam,” and
should have said so. On the other hand, readers shouldn’t look for polished
perfection in an impromptu forum like this. AND, for future reference, when
a reader tells me that I “owe an aopology to” someone for something, I stop
reading right there. I am quite old enough to figure out when I owe an
apology to someone, and don’t need any help in this department, thanks all
I wish no disrespect to the President, nor to anyone else, but I stand firm
on my main point: The GOP ticket would shine brighter for me — not by a
terrific amount, but a couple of percent brighter — if one of the
Vietnam-era men on it had gone to Vietnam and been shot at by his country’s
enemies, as John Kerry did.
And one more thing. The fundamental reason for all this contention and
bitterness decades after the fact is that the Draft was not administered
fairly. Leaving aside the particular cases of particular people, it is
undoubtedly the case that well-connected elites, and people who were
especially foresighted, clever, persistent, or well-informed, could jigger
the system to their advantage. I’m American now; my kids are American; my
grandkids will be American. If this country ever again has military
conscription, I hope it will be administered with ironclad fairness — no
exemptions, no deferments, no string-pulling by the well-connected. And if
that is beyond the abilities of the feddle gummint — which I suspect it
is — then may we never have a Draft again.