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View Diary: The Fighting Dem phenomenon spreads (224 comments)

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  •  a cautionary comment (3.91)
    First, I am a veteran, having volunteered for the Marines in 1965.

    Second, I do not think prior military service is a prerequisite for political office.   That would be discriminatory towards women above a certain age, for whom there was not so much opportunity for meaningful service.  Also, there is an age group which came of age after the end of Vietnam (let's for sake of argument say 1974, being born therefore circa 1956) and who would have reached at least 26 by 1990 (thus born before 1965) who would not have fallen into the age group that in my days was subject to involuntary induction.   I am not certain that lack of military service should be applied in the same way to them.

    I also do not believe that those who opposed the war of their time, whether Vietnam or Desert Storm, and therefore (in the case of Vietnam) used every legal means to stay out should be subject to condemnation

    I do think someone who advocated for war then but avooided service, or who has not owned up to avoiding service is subject to criticism.

    I have students who choose a military path today  -- I have some who go to service academies ( a piar of twins now in their Plebe year at West Point, for example), others whom I have prepped for the military tests and/or helped otherwise to enable them to get ROTC scholarships.  I view this as no different than the young man who wwanted my recommendation for a special program at Liberty U (knowing full well that I could not stand Falwell!!)  -- he got it.

    I would walk cautiously down this path.   It is legitimate for those who  have served to note that they speak with a particular set of experiences.  It is hypocritical for those like Chambliss who did not serve to criticize their patriotism to be sure, but that does not mean it is any less hypocritical to criticize the patriotism of someone who did not serve  --  unless there is a different kind of hypocrisy evident, such as in the so-called chicken hawks who rooted for the war in Vietnam but took steps to avoid serving there themselves (and herre I include those who pulled strings for cushy guard units like Bush 43 and Quayle).

    More power to people like Hackkett, Duck, Massa, who having served in the military, now wish to serve the nation as civilians. But prior military service, no matter how distinguished, is not in itself any kind of guarantee of quality service as a Representative or Senator  -- do the names Jeremiah Denton, Randy Cunningham, and the like not provide us withe the caution that military service  -- or the lack thereof -- is only part of what a candidate presents   to the voter, and by itself should not be dispositive??

    Just a thought.

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

    by teacherken on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 10:30:02 AM PST

    •  Fully agree but (none)
      Making military service a pre-requisite would be a bad idea for sure. Congress needs former teachers, lawyers, doctors, and plain old private citizens who want to go on that career path. But the number of former service members has been nose diving ever since the draft era age cohort started to be replaced by folks who came of age after 73. There are four hundred and somthing seats in the house. If we could even get fifteen of these folks elected I think that'd be a great contribution to the national debate.

      Also we get killed on being soft on terror when in fact the GOP is often just wrong on military strategy and even tactics. We need people to speak to that. We're in a quagmire and we need people with the life experience that allows them to call bullshit and be heard. The most extreme case of this is McCain on torture. I have many issues with McCain on other topics but is there any doubt that his personal horror story has been the only serious check against the administrations blatant acceptance of torure?

      Service members shouldn't be deified, they're not all heroes and crap like that. Certainly you don't want to go to a Starship Trooper type world where participation in the democratic process requires military service. But now at this time in US history we need these folks to stand up and point out the horrors being committed in our names.

      At least thats how I see it.

      To lodge all power in one party and keep it there is to insure bad government and the sure and gradual deterioration of the public morals. - Mark Twain

      by Windowdog on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 10:40:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well said! (none)
      Thank you for a thoughtful and well-reasoned post. I wrote something similar, below.

      Another reason for caution is that, by pushing a preference for veterans, we're playing within the GOP militarized framework. And, once we play on their footing, we're losing the game. We can prevail over terrorism without losing our freedoms or our civilian form of government!

      Also, ... well, I had a phone call and forgot "also."

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