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“Who fought for you in Vietnam while you were in Paris?”

That’s the sign I saw a protester holding on the way to my rally.

Oh come on.

For Pete’s sake, my father was in the Nixon cabinet.  If I went to Vietnam, I never would have been on the front lines or in combat.  I would have had a desk job.  Look, George W. Bush got a spot in the reserves, and at the time, his dad was only one of 435 Congressman.   If you think I would have been sent to combat, you must be crazy.  No one fought for me while I was in Paris.  Someone else got my desk job.  And I’ll bet you $10,000 that guy wasn’t as well connected as I was.  So he got a break.  The real question is who fought for the guy who got my desk job.

This is nothing new.  Andrew Carnegie was drafted in the Civil War, and he paid an Irish immigrant $850 to take his place.  Carnegie went on to create thousands of jobs.  That Irish immigrant didn’t have to take the $850.  It was his choice.  The free market worked.  

How many jobs do you think that Irish immigrant would have created if he stayed at home instead?  Do you really think the country would have been better off if Andrew Carnegie had died fighting the civil war?  Do you think that Irish immigrant would have created the jobs? John D. Rockefeller and Grover Cleveland paid $300 for a substitute to fight for them in the Civil War. This is nothing new.  

I came home from Paris, and created thousands of jobs.  I know my campaign advisers won’t let me say it, but the country is better off if the job creators aren’t put at risk.

And don’t think I had an easy time during the Vietnam War.  Have you ever tried to convince a Frenchman sipping a Pinot Noir to become a Morman?  

And while you’re at it, stop asking about whether my kids should have served in Iraq.  They worked for my election, and the country would have been a whole lot better off if I had been elected in 2008.  And years from now, my boys will be job creators too.  Just like me.  My kids made the right choice.

But don’t dare to say that I don’t appreciate those fine people who did the fighting and dying. I say thanks to them at campaign stops all the time.  And I’m the one who will win the vote of the military.  Not the guy who envies Europe and apologizes for the United States.

So put your sign down.  I’m glad the press doesn’t bother me about stuff like this.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How about: nobody was fighting for me, thanks (10+ / 0-)

    because the war in Vietnam was not about protecting Americans or making the world safer.  It was a completely unjustifiable atrocity, and if we were able to keep focused on this reality we'd be less likely to engage in other "adventures" with equally disastrous consequences.

    What would Jesus do? Whip the exploiters out of the temple!

    by jhannon on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 02:45:33 PM PDT

  •  Very deft, oc hope (9+ / 0-)

    Only I think it would have been shorter and less sensitive, because what you wrote is what one of his speechwriters would have come up with the next day. Still, it was fun to read.

    All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 02:53:04 PM PDT

  •  His father actually opposed the Vietnam War (11+ / 0-)

    He came late to it, but George Romney lost the 1968 nomination to Nixon in part because he went to Vietnam and came back saying it was a disaster.

    Granted, Mitt has never said, "Pop got it right." Instead he learned to Never Commit Candor.

    •  and Nixon tried to force the NV to negotiate (0+ / 0-)

      by spreading the war and destabilizing the countries all around SVN.  Had he kept it to a limited war, the map of SE Asia might be very different today  

      •  Nixon actually spread the war to help his election (0+ / 0-)

        campaign. Henry Kissinger ( a war criminal in successive administrations) was the one who advised a willing Nixon to not look soft on the VC so he could get reelected;so Nixon rejected peace terms from the VC and extended the war for thousands of more deaths.

        I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box.

        by OHdog on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 06:24:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  One suggestion (6+ / 0-)

    Put "snark" in the tags.

    The diary you wrote is the story of many GOPpers and their enablers, not just in Vietnam, but in every war since.

    No one who has served, or had their children sent to war, favors war.  It's a dying enterprise.

    Please Click here to help me get a round 2 Netroots Nation scholarship! Thanks!!

    by Richard Cranium on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 03:01:51 PM PDT

    •  You're wrong. Quite a few people (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sewaneepat, Marie, LaEscapee

      who served, and quite a few who lost children in war, have favored war.

      A generation of veterans sent their sons to Vietnam.

      Bombing Iran is far more dangerous than Iran getting The Bomb.

      by JesseCW on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 03:15:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Respectfully, you are wrong (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        raster44, Shuksan Tahoma

        There was a little thing in the '60s call "the draft".  Coincidentally, if you had money or connections, you could avoid the draft completely, or at least serve in a position that didn't put you in harms way (unless, as John Kerry did, you willingly chose to be there).

        No man who has served on a battlefield would willingly send or encourage his son or daughter to do the same.

        Please Click here to help me get a round 2 Netroots Nation scholarship! Thanks!!

        by Richard Cranium on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 03:30:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The men who instituted that draft were (0+ / 0-)

          almost all veterans.  The men who voted to put those men in office and to keep them there were overwhelmingly veterans who did not have easy ways out for their sons.

          Just like the men who sent their sons to WWII were mostly veterans of WWI.  

          War continues because people who have seen it do, time and again, send their sons out to do it again and again.

          That's mostly what history is about, since shortly after the adoption of agriculture.

          Bombing Iran is far more dangerous than Iran getting The Bomb.

          by JesseCW on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 08:00:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I would submit that there is a difference in war (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gffish, PSzymeczek

        and a difference in those who served.
        First there were the guys who were actually in the boonies and free fire zones and actually went on LRPs or were door gunners or "dust-offs" and then there were REMFs who never saw combat and then there were those who never even saw VN but spent their tour in Germany or Korea or Fort Dix.  The closer the proximity to fire, the greater the pacifism.

        However there are the adrenaline junkies who love war and get off on war.  I knew guys who pulled as many tours as possible because they found they were good at something while at home they were gas jockeys.  Those guys only got more gung-ho with time

    •  Done. Thanks for the advice. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Cranium, sewaneepat
  •  oc hope - if I was Romney I would say (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, Catte Nappe, Shuksan Tahoma

    "Not Bill Clinton". End of story. I think who fought or didn't in Vietnam isn't really relevant any more.

    US Army 1969-1975

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 03:05:06 PM PDT

    •  for most people it became irrelevent when Carter (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, happymisanthropy

      issued the amnesty; for the rest it ended when Clinton normalized relations with VN, except now for a very very few who seek to cynically benefit from the now dead issue

    •  BTDT (0+ / 0-)

      'Agreed, except for those who lost their life, or portions of.

      •  B52D - I have many friends on The Wall (0+ / 0-)

        some who died in combat and others who died shot down over North Vietnam or at the Hanoi Hilton. Nothing we do can bring them back. I was furious when Carter gave his blanket amnesty, but over time I let that go. It no longer matters to me that Romney was in France, or Bill Clinton was a clever, legal, draft dodger. That was a different era and a long time ago. It's time to move on with our lives. If you were a B52 pilot I thank you for your service, you saved the lives of a lot of us who were down in the mud.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 05:34:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  For your service (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          VClib, my job was B52 navigator. There were 6 crewmembers, 108 bombs, aboard. This was pre-GPS, so lots of radar, celestial navigation, seat of the pants. 'Very glad you made it back, and glad to know we may have helped some.  Our role was usually safer, I think. I, too, begrudge no one who didn't take part, btw. Yes, the wall has too many familiar names.  

  •  Ha. Brilliant, (4+ / 0-)

    though I agree a snark tag might be a good thing.

    Do you really think the country would have been better off if Andrew Carnegie had died fighting the civil war?
    Well, except for the libraries, yes.

    "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

    by northsylvania on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 03:07:06 PM PDT

  •  Doesn't work for me. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, gffish

    Nobody fought for anybody in Vietnam. I admire those young men who managed NOT to be sent off to their own pointless slaughter. Some got a free ticket, some went to jail, some left the country.


    "Armaments, universal debt, planned obsolescence — the three pillars of Western prosperity." — Aldous Huxley

    by Pluto on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 03:08:39 PM PDT

    •  Saw Muhammad Ali yesterday. (7+ / 0-)

      Reminded me that he was a Vietnam War Hero.

      Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end....

      "Armaments, universal debt, planned obsolescence — the three pillars of Western prosperity." — Aldous Huxley

      by Pluto on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 03:13:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think Muhammad Ali stood on principle (7+ / 0-)

        I understand your point, but he didn't seek a deferral.  He knew he could have fought exhibition bouts in the army.  One reason Ali earned so much respect was that he was willing to throw away his title, everything he worked for in his professional life, and risk jail time because of a principled stand.  I don't think Romney did the same.

        I did not mean to start a debate about the merits of the war, but raise the issue of who should fight a war.  Whether just or unjust, the privileged have had the ability to avoid service.  I suspect Romney would not say that he avoided service because the Vietnam war was unjust.  I suspect he would not say that his sons did not serve in Iraq or Afghanistan because those wars were unnecessary.  

        •  Perhaps Romney didn't want to die (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          noweasels, happymisanthropy, gffish

 a war that was a useless obscenity. A lot of young men didn't show up ... not on principle but because they didn't want to die for nothing. Many went to jail -- not for a noble cause -- but because they didn't want to die.

          I admire them. Wish we had more men like that today. It would be great if the armed forces could not make the quotas and they had to cancel the obscenities of Afghanistan and Iraq.

          "What if they threw a war and no one showed up?"

          Anyway, sorry to be a spoil sport. I've misplaced my wacky self today.

          "Armaments, universal debt, planned obsolescence — the three pillars of Western prosperity." — Aldous Huxley

          by Pluto on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 03:48:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  One friend's older brother went to Canada (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pluto, Shuksan Tahoma

            Another friend's older brother graduated from Colby College in Maine and elected to serve.

            Robert Crawford "Mike" Ransom, Jr. '66 became one of the most noted casualties of the Vietnam War. On July 27, 1968, two and a half months after his death as a result of wounds received in a mine explosion while he was on patrol in Quang Ngai Province, the New Yorker magazine published some of his letters from Vietnam to his family. Because of their graphic, intelligent, and clear statements about the attitudes of a young soldier thrust into a difficult situation, the letters had a pronounced impact on many comfortable, safe Americans. Anyone who reads the letters inspects the bottom drawer of parents who have lost a son in war. In the aftermath of his death, Mike Ransom's parents became activists of the first order in trying to bring the Vietnam War to a close.

            He died on Mother's Day, 1968.

          •  if that were true he would have gone to Canada, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pluto, gffish

            not Paris. Sorry but after the GOP swiftboated Kerry, there is no pass for any of their craven crew

      •  sadly it cost him the heart of his career (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        as he was banned from boxing during what would have been his prime

  •  A whole new respect for Mitt (0+ / 0-)

    How does one get the Pinot Noir sippers to become Mormon?  Tough battle, indeed.

    ‎"When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative." (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

    by Sandy on Signal on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 04:26:23 PM PDT

  •  Reminds me of: Had I spoken up.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shuksan Tahoma

    and contacted my deceased Father's good friend who was our Congressman before I was drafted, he could have arranged a hardship deferment or at the least kept me out of Vietnam. But stupid me, I just accepted my fate, becoming an 11b40 (by mistake....another story), served almost 13 months in Nam, got shot up pretty good, spent 19 months in hospitals putting me back together again, and the last 45 years suffering for my stupidity!

    Doubt I would have paid someone to take my place in Vietnam at the time as I thought I was invincible and had always seemed to come out on top. Having played WWII & Korea as a child, killing imaginary Japs and Krauts and Chinks....hearing the war stories....maybe I wanted to feel the savagery of War.  Was that a mistake!

    I grew up a lot in the service, found out I was better than most soldiers, good shot, could lead people, plan strategy, run scared pretty fast, stand my ground, bury my head in the ground....but could never like killing people. I even like people. Hell, I even spent a night in a foxhole with an ex-VC, dressed in black pajamas & Ho Chi Minh sandles, fighting off probes from the VC all night and by daybreak gave him a hug that we lived through the night. Ex-VC (skinny, old, short.... didn't come up to my chin even with that conical hat) said they could never have held them off without my squads firepower. Three days later they were overrun by the VC and they killed every man, woman, and child in that Popular Force unit guarding an approach to Saigon in the delta. Writing this, I can still see their dead bodies in the muck.

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