The Corner

Re: Kerry, Gwb, Vietnam

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

the same.

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.

Most Popular

Culture

New England Journal of Medicine Pushes Reparations

Reparations would grant African Americans government benefits not paid to other Americans to rectify the awful sin of slavery and the "peculiar institution's" residual harm. It is a favored policy of hard progressives, so of course, the New England Journal of Medicine -- which regularly promotes left-wing causes ... Read More
Culture

New England Journal of Medicine Pushes Reparations

Reparations would grant African Americans government benefits not paid to other Americans to rectify the awful sin of slavery and the "peculiar institution's" residual harm. It is a favored policy of hard progressives, so of course, the New England Journal of Medicine -- which regularly promotes left-wing causes ... Read More
Books

Three Cheers for the Quiet Ones

People often dismiss shy, quiet characters in literature. Readers prefer to identify with Jo March, Elizabeth Bennett, or Anne Shirley -- those delightful, bold, and charming characters who made a deep impression on us when we first encountered them. While there’s nothing wrong with emulating or admiring these ... Read More
Books

Three Cheers for the Quiet Ones

People often dismiss shy, quiet characters in literature. Readers prefer to identify with Jo March, Elizabeth Bennett, or Anne Shirley -- those delightful, bold, and charming characters who made a deep impression on us when we first encountered them. While there’s nothing wrong with emulating or admiring these ... Read More

The New GOP

Ronald Reagan was dubbed the “Great Communicator.” Donald Trump might well be labeled the “Great Accelerator.” U.S. politics was polarized before President Trump, with both coalitions motivated mostly by fear of each other. We have gotten more polarized since Trump rode down that escalator. The Upper ... Read More

The New GOP

Ronald Reagan was dubbed the “Great Communicator.” Donald Trump might well be labeled the “Great Accelerator.” U.S. politics was polarized before President Trump, with both coalitions motivated mostly by fear of each other. We have gotten more polarized since Trump rode down that escalator. The Upper ... Read More
White House

A Justified Pardon

President Trump’s pardon of retired General Michael Flynn, who fleetingly served as his first national-security adviser, was a justified act of clemency. You don’t have to be a fan of how Trump has wielded his pardon power (often recklessly and on behalf of friends and supporters) or believe that Flynn was ... Read More
White House

A Justified Pardon

President Trump’s pardon of retired General Michael Flynn, who fleetingly served as his first national-security adviser, was a justified act of clemency. You don’t have to be a fan of how Trump has wielded his pardon power (often recklessly and on behalf of friends and supporters) or believe that Flynn was ... Read More