Leave my grandparents out of it

by Harry on March 15, 2004

This Morning Edition editorial by Ruben Navarette is infuriating. I was ready to be charmed—he says that John Kerry and the Democrats should shut up about George Bush’s failure to be a war hero in the Vietnam War. These were, he says, decisions made by young men thirty years ago, and are not properly thought about as character issues. I agree—the Vietnam War was an unjust war, unjustly carried out, and I have no animus to my elders who tried to avoid fighting in it. People make odd decisions in the youth, and these do not have to be brought up against them later in life. George Bush’s successful avoidance of any kind risk to self in the service of his country when his country was entirely in the wrong is irrelevant to my evaluation of him.
But then: the little sh** has the audacity to compare Generation X’s experience of the War on Terror with our grandparents’ experience of the Second World War. Why? Because both our generations, unlike the boomer generation between, have experienced the tragedy of American lives being lost on American soil.

Well, I suppose that is one way in which the experiences are alike. It is also true that neither experience occurred in the 3rd century. But while my generation (W/X) cheerfully rides around in its SUVs, gorges itself on fast food, sends a volunteer army to a war that has nothing to do with terrorism, and continues with life as normal (except in airports) it might do well to reflect on the real experience our grandparents faced in a society completely geared up to fight a war against the worst threat civilization has ever faced. I assume that Mr. Naverette’s grandparents didn’t live through years rationing, like mine did, and nor did they live in constant fear of German bombs. But I assume they were drafted to fight, did war work, missed and feared for their husbands for years at a time, bought war bonds, sacrificed pay raises, promotions, and knew that losing the war was both a real possibility and a potential disaster for much of humanity (if not, perhaps, how much of a disaster it would be for some of humanity). Even the rich were expected to share the sacrifice—the top marginal income tax rate went up past 90%, more to demonstrate that the war was a collective effort than to pay for it.
I don’t mind hearing Gen Xers complaining about babyboomers. But do so properly. Don’t bring our grandparents—who, unlike us, made huge and real sacrifices to win the one war that really mattered—into it.

{ 55 comments }

1

Ophelia Benson 03.15.04 at 6:37 pm

Eh?

“Because both our generations, unlike the boomer generation between, have experienced the tragedy of American lives being lost on American soil.”

Eh? How’s that again? Was the boomer generation somewhere off the planet when that happened? What does he mean, the boomer generation didn’t experience it? Does he think one doesn’t experience things that happen after age 30 or 40? Hmm. Well that’s not narcissistic.

2

trish 03.15.04 at 6:59 pm

thanks for pointing this out. When I think of the sacrifices my grandparents made during WWII I’m overwhelmed. I know that nothing in either my, or my parents experiences can compare.

And didn’t my parents grow up with the fear of the cold war? Didn’t my dad’s childhood home have a fallout shelter dug out underneath the house? Isn’t that just as significant as the terrorism warnings today? We’ve been spoiled, except for those directly affected through the loss of a loved one on 9/11, and we should realize that.

3

Barry 03.15.04 at 7:11 pm

Gee, (us Americans) aren’t supposed to look at somebody’s Vietnam War service (or lack thereof).
When, of course, they’re a Republican politician.

Funny how I didn’t hear that much during the Clinton administration. Maybe my hearing’s gone.

4

harry 03.15.04 at 7:25 pm

That I didn’t pick up on the narcissism you point to, Ophelia, shows just how angry I was about it! Trish captures exactly my feelings when I think about the sacrifices, and the enormity of the stakes in that war: I just couldn’t get past that (and this was at 6.25 in the morning!)

I wonder, too, how many war babies never knew their fathers killed in the war. Does that count as a cost to the boomers?

Oh barry, you are so unfair. I am sure that Naverette never once criticised Clinton, or any Democrat, for his lack of service…

5

OdysseusInRTP 03.15.04 at 7:35 pm

Do any of you know what kind of plane Bush flew in the NG?

Maybe, you should study up on that before he gets accused of not putting himself in danger.

I suggest you look into the number of accidents and deaths related to the type of plane he flew.

6

Leo Casey 03.15.04 at 7:43 pm

The problem is not that George Bush — and Dick Cheney and the entire flock of chicken hawks now roosted in the Bush administration — wanted to avoid military service in Vietnam. Rather, the problem is that they did so from a vantage point of defending the war as a necessary and noble battle. The issue is the utter hypocricy of supporting the war, but making sure that the working class and poor kids, the black and brown kids, paid the price for fighting it. And that fits with the current Bush program of ostentatious luxury for the wealthy, and civic virtue for the rest.

7

bob mcmanus 03.15.04 at 7:49 pm

“unlike the boomer generation between, have experienced the tragedy”

This is disgusting. I don’t know when it became so acceptable to despise the boomers, but I suspect it might have to with the 60’s being so horrible we would rather blame it on pot-smoking hippies and just move on.

Moral ambiguity has its own kind of suffering, and when you have lost 5000 of your friends a year, every year for ten years, you may grant yourself some level of moral superiority.

8

Another Damned Medievalist 03.15.04 at 8:00 pm

First, I think it was an F203 — whatever it was, it was a plane being phased out, so unlikely to be used in country.

Besides, Odysseus, the point there is that if war records are fair game, then they are fair game. Too bad for him that Bush’s record doesn’t stand up. Frankly, considering all the flak Clinton took for Roger, it’s surprising Neal Bush isn’t getting more coverage.

As far as sacrifices, I think this is one of the most galling things to me about the current Iraq debacle. On September 12, 2001 and up to the following March when he sent in troops, Bush had the ability to ask for sacrifices from the country. Wars are expensive — it’s one of the things I continue to tell my students. This is not a political statement, just historically true. If the country is behind a war, the people are willing to make sacrifices. What I saw in the days after 9-11 was a lot of people who wanted to do something. Bush could have said, “we are going to make a massive effort to fight terrorism. It’s going to cost us, but it will be worth it.” Instead, as usual, he catered to the rampant consumerism of the American people and told them they could have it all for free — in the sense that, if you die before you pay off your high credit card bills, you don’t have to pay them. But someone else will.

Coming from the tail end of the boomer generation, I have to ask — when did the patriotism that came from sacrificing and giving to the country become so unfashionable? Is it that we are now so removed from the sacrifices made by the WWII generation? Sorry — ranting now. I just don’t get it.

9

OdysseusInRTP 03.15.04 at 8:37 pm

another,

It’s difficult to engage you in a discusion when you don’t even bother to take the time to look at what Bush did in the NG.

Take a look for yourself… there’s is plenty of data to make an informed decision…

10

OdysseusInRTP 03.15.04 at 8:43 pm

Another,

You said:

First, I think it was an F203 — whatever it was, it was a plane being phased out, so unlikely to be used in country.

It seems even your own logic invalidates your uhmm… logic. Confusing to say the least.

So are saying that you “know” that Bush requested the type of plane (which you are still not sure about.) that he did because he knew it wouldn’t be used in Vietnam? Or are you saying that serving in the National Guard is not honorable? Or are you saying that Bush serving in the National Guard is not honorable?

Please help me to undertand your viewpoint?

And please don’t change the subject on me.

11

Chuchundra 03.15.04 at 9:08 pm

GWB flew an F102, a borderline obsolete aircraft, which virtually ensured that he would not end up being deployed to Vietnam. Bush flew in the “Champagne Unit” of the TANG with other scions of important Texas families

Was the F102 dangerous to fly? Yes, but probably not near as dangerous as flying a more modern aircraft in areas where you might get shot at.

None of which has to do with the comparison of GenXers to “The Greatest Generation”. Frankly, I’m a little tired of all accolates heaped on TGG, especially accompanied with scorn for the GenX crew.

12

OdysseusInRTP 03.15.04 at 9:18 pm

Chuchundra,

That particular cut and paste is accurate, but I could do the same that wouldn’t put the same spin on it. Regardless…

I really don’t care about what happened 30 years ago myself. But, as I was really trying to make a point with the “F203” crowd. ; -)

13

Chris 03.15.04 at 9:26 pm

Another damned…,

I think you have lost it completely. Your post seems to jump around so much that it is hard to understand what you have issues with – except everything that is Bush.

First, you state that you feel the Presidents war record doesn’t hold up? Hold up to what? To your expectations? To comparison to Sen. Kerry’s? What?

Are you saying that only a ‘war hero’ should be able to run for the office of President? If so, where we you when others ran whose ‘war records’ wouldn’t have held up (i.e. Clinton)? I am also sure that you were 100% against folks like Gov. Dean who admits to skipping Vietnam to ski.

You then ramble about how appalled you are that we were not asked to sacrifice for the War on Terror. You state, ‘…I think this is one of the most galling things to me about the current Iraq debacle….’ What are you talking about? Are you really pissed that you were not asked to sacrifice for the WOT? You seem to feel that a war can only be valid when people are asked to sacrifice. We were not fighting a massive world war where we needed all of the steel available for building 100,000 airplanes, battleships and tanks. I mean, use your common sense. Lest you forget, we also were in a recession at that time. We needed folks like you and I to spend money to stimulate the economy. We have advanced as a society, we don’t have to have such a myopic view. We can ‘walk and chew gum’ at the same time.

Then you really show your true colors with this statement, ‘…What I saw in the days after 9-11 was a lot of people who wanted to do something. Bush could have said, “we are going to make a massive effort to fight terrorism. It’s going to cost us, but it will be worth it.” Instead, as usual, he catered to the rampant consumerism of the American people and told them they could have it all for free — in the sense that, if you die before you pay off your high credit card bills, you don’t have to pay them. But someone else will.’ Wow?! So, in reality, you are just an aging hippie who hates Consumerism. Well, I think it is a little late to turn back the clock on that fad – train has left the station. If you hate Consumerism so much, why don’t you quite your job, become a bum and move to the country and just live off the land?

I hate people like you who try to distort the truth about Capitalism. You just don’t get that Capitalism is the most powerful, driving force we have on this planet – to delivering a better standard of living. And I don’t mean for the rich to accumlate items like Ferrari’s (although that is my goal), I mean for us to bring vacines to new countries/market. To drive down the cost of foods, so we can feed the poor and hungry. Capitalism allows for generations, that once were destined to poverty and starvation, to change their future and improve their lives and the lives of their children. I guess you would rather see the world go back to how it was. The good old days, huh?

14

Ophelia Benson 03.15.04 at 9:51 pm

Gosh, that was fun. Now what shall we do?

15

Nels Nelson 03.15.04 at 10:15 pm

I was most incensed by Navarette’s characterization of Vietnam service as “travel to far away shores for a glimpse at war,” as though it were a chartered cruise. Over 58,000 Americans were killed in the Vietnam War, and roughly 3,000 were classified MIA/POW. My dad, who volunteered to go to Vietnam, walks around with shrapnel still in his knees and stomach.

16

Jon H 03.15.04 at 10:40 pm

Somewhere on the web, maybe even here at Crooked Timber, there’s a comparison of fatality rates for Bush’s plane with other planes of the era.

As I recall, it turned out that Bush’s jet was one of safest.

17

Rajeev Advani 03.15.04 at 10:47 pm

…sends a volunteer army to a war that has nothing to do with terrorism

It appears that every argument on Crooked Timber today is going to be prefaced with this canard. It’s being argued in other threads, so I’m not going to argue it here.

Don’t bring our grandparents — who, unlike us, made huge and real sacrifices to win the one war that really mattered — into it.

First the Iraq war was just irrelevant to terrorism — that irked me. Now you’re implying that the war doesn’t really matter at all — only WWII did. Soon you’ll be saying ordinary Iraqis should be deported from Earth due to their extreme irrelevance to the ideological standpoints of Crooked Timber.

Back off from this comment, at least. The war does matter to anyone who cares about the future of regime change, the viability of forced democracy, reconstruction as a concept, the welfare of Iraqis, and terrorism. These issues are central to the 21st century, and people have been and are willing to sacrifice for them (fortunately the scale of sacrifice will remain well below WWII levels…)

18

Thlayli 03.15.04 at 11:10 pm

… Gov. Dean who admits to skipping Vietnam to ski.

He didn’t “admit” anything — “admit” implies he did something wrong. He failed the physical, end of story. What he did after that is irrelevant.

19

Peace Creep 03.15.04 at 11:17 pm

You are right that Vietnam was an unjust war unjustly waged. The North had no business invading the South. The North murdered millions in order to impose their inhuman ideology. They caused the killing fields of Cambodia and the “boat people” crisis. And I’m embarrassed that my country allowed those things to happen — by pulling out.

20

OdysseusInRTP 03.15.04 at 11:27 pm

If some of you could do a little research before actually having an opinion:

Though essentially useless in the small-war role, F-102s were indeed deployed to South Vietnam.

Yes, the F-102 was safer than some other planes to fly. If you consider getting into a miliary aircraft and intercepting missles a safe way to live.

: As I recall, it turned out that Bush’s jet was one of safest.

Maybe, Bush was a good pilot as the other F-102 pilots.

21

harry 03.15.04 at 11:46 pm

bq. Frankly, I’m a little tired of all accolates heaped on TGG, especially accompanied with scorn for the GenX crew.

I should have eased up on the apparent scorn. My point was simply this — that Gen Xers have sacrificed basically nothing in this war (except for those in the miltary and those related to the 9/11 dead). TGG sacrificed a lot. Their experiences of the wars are entirely different.

bq. The war does matter to anyone who cares about the future of regime change, the viability of forced democracy, reconstruction as a concept, the welfare of Iraqis, and terrorism. These issues are central to the 21st century, and people have been and are willing to sacrifice for them.

The Iraq war had nothing to do with the WoT, as is now clear. The clean up does have something to do with it, obviously, the terrorists having been attracted by the American presence. If anything the war has made future effort at regime change more difficult. I’d find the whole regime change stuff less galling if I’d heard it when Saddam’s regime was actually committing genocides in the 80’s.

Nice to see there are lots of Bush defenders who do think his war record is an issue. I don’t think its an issue he can beat Kerry on myself. For that matter, its nice to see people defending the US pursuit of the Vietnam war.

22

The Bobs 03.15.04 at 11:49 pm

Odysseus,

Why did Bush not fly again after May 1972, with two years remaining on his commitment?

23

Matt Weiner 03.15.04 at 11:57 pm

Odysseus–
Are you saying that the casualty rate for National Guard F-102 pilots was as high as that of Vietnam draftees? If not, then it seems safe to say that Bush avoided danger by getting himself into the National Guard to avoid being drafted.

24

OdysseusInRTP 03.16.04 at 12:23 am

My crystal ball says…

he had other things he wanted to do with his life…

is that so bad…

Maybe, you can tell me that YOU know why Bush didn’t fly after 1972.

In his annual fitness report, his home-field rating officer noted that “He cleared this base [Ellington AFB] on 15 May 1972 and has been performing equivalent training in a non flying status with the 187th Tac Recon Gp, Dannelly ANG Base, Alabama.”

25

OdysseusInRTP 03.16.04 at 12:35 am

Matt,

You said:

Are you saying that the casualty rate for National Guard F-102 pilots was as high as that of Vietnam draftees?

No, go read my posts. That would be completely and totally ignorant. But it seems to me that others have said Bush avoided danger by going into the NG. For someone to say that what Bush did was a cake walk is absurd. Anyone who has ever been around a jet knows that they are extremely dangerous.

You say:

If not, then it seems safe to say that Bush avoided danger by getting himself into the National Guard to avoid being drafted.

That’s doesn’t seem safe for me to say… maybe you. Jets are not safe. If you are going to use that logic then it is safe to say that John Kerry avoided danger by joining the Navy. There were much more dangerous jobs than the one he picked. BTW, I am not saying that. I am just extending your logic.

26

a different chris 03.16.04 at 12:35 am

Trying to drag this back OT: it’s funny that just yesterday I was rooting around in our (mostly) Lionel train collection and came across the paper trains of the WWII era.

You see, the National Government not only told Lionel that they couldn’t make metal trains for awhile- iron was too precious for toys- they actually had the factory make bombsights.

Those little pieces of folded-together cardboard were really a poignant reminder of what a serious Clash of Civilizations really means.

And I look around nowadays and see… what? Flags on SUVs? The Western World is going to fall to Osama. Right– and Osama should wish for a pony whilst he’s at it.

Of course, many families have made great sacrifices- to not see your kid or, as that kid, your parent for a year -that you’ll never get back- is a considerable sacrifice, even if they do come back in perfect mental and physical condition.

But 9/11 itself was not Pearl Harbor, or even a tiny shadow of it. People didn’t wake up with a powerful industrial nation threatening their very existence.

And unlike us, they weren’t wondering: “Where was our first line of defense?” They well knew: Unlike our shiny airplanes, mysteriously still on the tarmac but 100% functional, they had to contemplate the fact that a good chunk of the Navy was at the bottom of the fucking ocean.

27

nick 03.16.04 at 1:06 am

If some of you could do a little research before actually having an opinion:

Gosh, you have some front. Want to do your own research on just why G. W. Bush, having received a large amount of publically-funded flight training, was then removed from flight duty because he didn’t take his medical?

Then come back and amaze us, rather than hijacking this thread for your oh-so-smart and oh-so-irrelevant rejoinders.

28

nick 03.16.04 at 1:13 am

You see, the National Government not only told Lionel that they couldn’t make metal trains for awhile- iron was too precious for toys- they actually had the factory make bombsights.

A similar example: American fountain pen makers abandoned steel, copper and chrome in favour of precious metals during WWII. (German-made pens sacrificed their gold nibs for ones of steel. It’s a good indication of the different needs of both sides during the war.)

But yes, while there’s no real comparison, say, between the domestic experience of Americans and Brits during WW2 (let alone those from occupied countries), there’s even less to compare American domestic life during the early 40s and that during the ‘War on Terror’. The man really needs walloping with the perspective stick.

29

OdysseusInRTP 03.16.04 at 1:27 am

Nick,

Hi-jacking a thread… get a grip, buddy. Obviously others had thoughts about this subject or they wouldn’t have responded to me.

When someone says he flew and f-203, when he flew and f-102 it just seems that people need to think before they have an opinion.

As I have previously posted, I think this is a non-issue, but if someone is going to make it one then atleast they should get the “facts” straight.

You say:

Want to do your own research on just why G. W. Bush, having received a large amount of publically-funded flight training, was then removed from flight duty because he didn’t take his medical?

Never missed an appointment have you? I don’t know the actual reaason, but I do know this is very common on the military. Notice how in his NG records that he was listed as “crew member on flight status” after 1972. Must not have been a big deal to them either.

Many people get trained by the military and then leave. It happens every day.

30

doghouse riley 03.16.04 at 2:50 am

You are right that Vietnam was an unjust war unjustly waged. The North had no business invading the South.

The Viet Minh gave the Japanese hell in the War, with our support. At its end Truman reneiged on the promise of an independent Indochina. The Allies created a temporary partition between North and South in 1945. After Dien Bien Phu the Geneva Conference again set a temporary line of demarcation and provided that elections be held within two years. When it became obvious that Diem could not win, he declared South Vietnam a republic with the backing of Eisenhower. The elections were never held.

Vietnam was never two countries, except for that brief period when we tried to reassert French colonial control and shamelessly broke our word to an ally.

31

David W. 03.16.04 at 3:11 am

Ruben Navarette reaches for an analogy and falls flat on his face in doing so out of his own ignorance about WWII, IMO. I wouldn’t make more of it than that, unless he claims otherwise himself. Let that be a lesson to like-minded pundits everywhere… ;-)

32

st 03.16.04 at 4:27 am

nels nelson:
Amen. Nothing to say about the same-argument-as-last-week/month/whatever going on upthread, just saying that I wouldn’t advise telling my uncle that he was just a war tourist and that the friends he saw die didn’t count because it happened in Vietnam, and their kids didn’t really grow up lonely because their dad was blown up in Vietnam, instead of New York or Hawaii. Jesus, the shameful, petty quest for dramatic new spotlights of glory to shed on 9/11 just makes me sick. Can’t anything just be remembered anymore? Wasn’t it horrible and affecting enough without this papier-mache context and backlighting? Do we really need to be instructed on how to feel about it? Does it all just have to be framed, stage-managed and segued into some politicized slander or superficial, self-serving call to arms?

33

st 03.16.04 at 5:08 am

gah…sorry…I know that’s all been said before…sorry…it just makes me so angry…

34

David Tiley 03.16.04 at 7:36 am

“both our generations, unlike the boomer generation between, have experienced the tragedy of American lives being lost on American soil.”

Weird facts department: how many US civilians lost their lives in WW2 on US soil? Six. They were killed in the fire balloon attack on Oregon. The only military deaths were at Pearl Harbour, if you assume that Hawaia is the US.

I think this strange fact does suggest the US has a very different experience of modern war than anyone else…

35

Walt Pohl 03.16.04 at 7:49 am

st: That was pretty eloquent.

odysseusinrtp: You mean to tell me that if the National Guard offered to train you on how to be fighter pilot for free, and you could basically quit whenever you wanted, you would turn it down? I hope you’re not a Gen Xer, ’cause otherwise you’re proving Harry’s point that we’re a bunch of pussies.

36

Robin Green 03.16.04 at 8:22 am

odysseusinrtp: I think the facts show that [link=http://www.awolbush.com/]Bush was AWOL[/link].

37

Michael R. H. Swanson, Ph. D. 03.16.04 at 1:11 pm

It strikes me that what this debate is really about it whether history itself counts for anything. Being old enough to remember straining bacon grease and flattening tin cans to help the war effort in the early 40s and young enough to remember national guard troops encamped in parking lots on my campus in Cleveland during graduate school days, and involved enough to watch an assassination “live” on television, and countless replays of bodies floating through the air on September 11, I’ve experience all the histories this string is squabbling over, and none of it has left me unaffected. I have to say that I’ve also taught generation X since someone or other invented that term and if generations have icons, I think Narcissus would be utterly appropriate. I’m reminded of the old wheeze “Enough about me, let’s talk about you. What do you think about me?” This certainly was my first reaction hearing the Navarette commentary. Doesn’t it all boil down to if I don’t feel it it has no importance?

38

OdysseusInRTP 03.16.04 at 2:58 pm

Walt,

Read my post:

Many people get trained by the military and then leave. It happens every day.

When did I say that they walk out the next day. They have a commitment they have to keep.

Btw, I am older than a X’er. Are you aware of the all the military people that got paid to leave the military after Clinton got elected. I am not being critical of Clinton’s policy, but that kind of stuff happens. If you feel your organization is a little bloated then you give people incentives to leave.

I am not even saying that happened with Bush, I am just saying things like that happen all of the time. I have watched it with my own eyes.

Robin,

http://www.awolbush.com

Is that were you go for unbiased information? LOL! Who in the military has ever accused Bush of being AWOL? Document a charge? Do you not know that is a crime and a very serious charge.

They got their definitions a little screwed up:

AWOL—-absent for 30 days or less.

AWOL is an unauthorized absence from duty. Employees who are charged Absent Without Approved Leave (AWOL) are in a non-pay status for that period of time. Taking leave without approval may result in a disciplinary action — possibly removal.

Show me the proof of disciplinary action.

39

OdysseusInRTP 03.16.04 at 3:04 pm

Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for
authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in
place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room;
they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.

(Socrates, 5th Century BC)

40

Rajeev Advani 03.16.04 at 4:50 pm

Harry:
It did not occur to me until yesterday that so many “Timberites” take the line that the Iraq war had nothing to do with the WoT. I don’t want to spit out the whole “drain the swamp” argument again, but am curious to know your response to say, Fareed Zakaria’s Slate post that made the case nicely here.

41

Phillip J. Birmingham 03.16.04 at 6:48 pm

When someone says he flew and f-203, when he flew and f-102 it just seems that people need to think before they have an opinion.

Says the guy who seems to think the F-102 was designed to intercept missiles:

Yes, the F-102 was safer than some other planes to fly. If you consider getting into a miliary aircraft and intercepting missles a safe way to live.

That beam in your eye — does it hurt?

42

OdysseusInRTP 03.16.04 at 7:22 pm

Phillip,

The difference would be I admit when I misspoke.

What I meant to say was:

If you consider getting into a miliary aircraft and intercepting bombers and firing air to air missles as a safe way to live.

So, yes my eyes are fine…

Thanks for helping me to get the facts straight. I guess I just typed a little to fast for myself.

43

Another Damned Medievalist feeds the trolls 03.16.04 at 9:25 pm

Odysseus,

please note that my statement makes it very clear I was reaching for a plane number off the top of my head, which is why I made the more pertinent point that it was a plane being phased out.

My point on the war records, which I thought was pretty damned clear, was that, if war records were fair game, then they were fair game. The right were happy to bring up Clinton’s war record and try to crucify him with it, although only a fool would think this was the first time that such records had been debated in either a positive or negative light — Teddy Roosevelt, Ike, JFK, Bush 41 — all have used their service records. Don’t blame the voters for looking at a tried-and-true standard of judgement that is actually important to many citizens. It’s not their fault that Bush’s going into an NG unit pales next to the record of someone who actually fought in the same war.

As for the rest of your comments and Chris’s, I don’t really know what to say except that they are particularly nasty and don’t show a lot of thought or a broad understanding of US and/or Western Civ. I’m aging, I suppose, but that’s generally considered to be a good thing, as it means I’ still alive. I am not now, nor have I ever been a hippie — my father was a fireman and my mother is a postal worker. One look at my home would tell you that I have no problem being a consumer, but that doesn’t mean that it’s inconsistent to say that I live in a country that could stand to go on a possessions diet. I never said I wasn’t willing to do my share, either.

Sorry, but we can’t have it all. The world doesn’t work that way. Anyone who tells you different (and hence my complaint with Bush and the war bill) is lying. Everything has a price — it’s just that we as Americans have helped to create a world where, on a large scale, other countries often pay the price for our lifestyle, and on a small scale, people down the ladder do the same. I suppose it’s some consolation, though, that folks like you and chris will have to pay for my SSI and Medicaid.

Oh — and Chris, try really reading Adam Smith sometime, rather than the Neocon abridged version. You’ll find that he believed very much in society and the social obligations of being human.

44

Odysseus 03.16.04 at 10:00 pm

Another,

My point, which I thought was pretty clear is not the same as your point. I never even addressed your point, because I accepted it. (However, I will in a minute.) I only used the f-203 as a point that many people slam Bush without knowing all of the facts or doing the work to get all the facts. I still stand by that statement.

As you can read in my post I am not particularly interested in what happened 30 years ago unless it is going to be distorted…which I thought was obvious and did not relate to your point about people attacking Clinton’s lack of military service which I thought was obvious.

I will be the last to belittle duty in the Guard and the first to admit that Vietnam was an extremely dangerous place to go during the 60’s. I don’t think they are comparable, but I don’t think there is shame in either one.

I personally never criticized Clinton for not serving in the military. Nor do I think that is a qualification for being a leader. Some of our greatest have had little on no military experience. So it seems we are in agreement about a few things.

Now this is a nasty statement:

As for the rest of your comments and Chris’s, I don’t really know what to say except that they are particularly nasty and don’t show a lot of thought or a broad understanding of US and/or Western Civ.

And I would gladly debate history, politics U.S. and/or Western Civilization and for fun lets throw in the Crusades, Physics, Aeronautical Engieering, owning your own business and the impressionist movement.

And their is no doubt that my hard work is paying for your SS/Medicare. But, that is another issue.

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brian gue 03.16.04 at 10:01 pm

Wow! Seriously Chris I’d loosen up a little. I thought Harry’s “scornful” comments were sincere even if the ideas were a bit scattered- and a few well made points too. And it is different for GenXers than baby boomers in terms of WW2 v Vietnam v 9/11. Although I think its the generation after the Xers (what are they called Gen Y?) that will be affected as well in that when coming into adulthood 9/11 was a historical event, not to say others are unaffected.

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magpie mackerel 03.16.04 at 11:26 pm

Odysseus:

If I’m not mistaken, you’ve failed to respond to this argument, raised earlier:

Should GWB have supported the war in Vietnam after using Daddy’s connections to get out of the draft?

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magpie mackerel 03.16.04 at 11:26 pm

Odysseus:

If I’m not mistaken, you’ve failed to respond to this argument, raised earlier:

Should GWB have supported the war in Vietnam after using Daddy’s connections to get out of the draft?

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Chris 03.17.04 at 3:58 am

Another damned…

Two things:

1) Contrary to what you may believe, I am very familiar with Adam Smith. You are most likely referring to his famous book, The Wealth of Nations, which was published in 1776. As for your swipe at me, I have no problem with ‘society and the social obligations of being human’. I am not sure what you were getting at, but I think you are mistaken in your labeling.

2) Not exactly sure what point you are trying to get at with, ‘Everything has a price — it’s just that we as Americans have helped to create a world where, on a large scale, other countries often pay the price for our lifestyle, and on a small scale, people down the ladder do the same.’ What is your point? That we have a trade deficit? That we have a budget deficit? What? I am sure you will disagree, but neither of the two above are bad. The trade deficit simply means that we are a country that has relatively high labor rates for manufacturing related jobs (thank the Unions for that one) and a good amount of disposable income to spend on said items (obviouly I am dramatically oversimplifying for the sake of space and time). The budget deficit isn’t all that complicated either. During boom times (like those during the 90’s) we are able to pay down debt (if we can have Congress and the WH be fiscally responsible or gridlock) and during slower economic times we rack up big bills because we are unwilling to cut spending to certian social programs (again I am dramatically oversimplifying for the sake of space and time).

Either way, folks who claim that the sky is falling due to either the trade or budget deficit are the same ones who said that during the Reagan years. Once we had the WH and Congress deadlock on spending (the Clinton years) we were able to actively reduce the deficit. It isn’t as though the deficit has a specific finite life. It isn’t a 30 year fixed rate mortgage! So, what is your point?

One final point. Democrats (and specifically liberal Democrats) are always interested in root causes. Here is the root cause of my angst with your post (and others). I have a problem with ideologs (and academics) who not only don’t know what they are talking about, but seem to have such a warped (and out of touch) sense of reality – that they view all problems as hypothesis as opposed to real world problems that need to be solved using solutions based upon realities of the day. Arnold Kling has written two great articles that cover this area:

http://www.techcentralstation.com/021704B.html

http://www.techcentralstation.com/082903A.html

Please read the Kling article. If you do, I will promise to go back and read Adam Smith extra slowly.

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OdysseusInRTP 03.17.04 at 2:53 pm

Magpie,

Don’t know why my response didn’t show up yesterday?

Bush’s commander, Colonel “Buck” and other NG said their were no favortism involved.

So I am going of the assumption that you assume they liars.

So my first point would be that your question is unfair.

But, to try and answer it.

Maybe, it depends on what he thought about the war at the time. I didn’t know that joining the guard was a dishonarable thing to do. You can reply with your “Daddy” comment, but then you have to call Colonel “Buck” a liar also.

And I do work for a living and can’t comment on everything… But, feel free to ask me any more direct questions and I will take the time to answer. But, please try to ask questions that aren’t already biased.

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OdysseusInRTP 03.17.04 at 3:05 pm

Just wrt… the daddys connection comments from a wapo article that isn’t pro-Bush:

Retired Col. Rufus G. Martin, then personnel officer in charge of the 147th Fighter Group, said the unit was short of its authorized strength, but still had a long waiting list, because of the difficulty getting slots in basic training for recruits at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Martin said four openings for pilots were available in the 147th in 1968, and that Bush got the last one.

Martin and others said Bush was quickly accepted because he was willing to sign up for the intensive training and six years of service required of fighter pilots. “It was very difficult to find someone who would commit himself to the rigorous training that was required,” says Martin.

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OdysseusInRTP 03.17.04 at 3:07 pm

From the same article:

Seems like Bush was very honest about his Vietname thought process…

In discussing his own decision, he has always said his main consideration was that he wanted to be a pilot, and the National Guard gave him a chance to do that. In 1989 he tried to describe his own thought process to a Texas interviewer. “I’m saying to myself, ‘What do I want to do?’ I think I don’t want to be an infantry guy as a private in Vietnam. What I do decide to want to do is learn to fly.”

Asked in a recent interview whether he was avoiding the draft, Bush said, “No, I was becoming a pilot.”

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james 03.18.04 at 5:16 pm

doghouse riley – The French attempted to reassert colonial control over Vietnam after WWII. They started by using non-repatraited Japanesse soldiers. The US and Britian put a stop to that. French action in the area only worsend.

The US actions in dividing Vietnam post WWII, represent a compromise between early US promisses and French colonial desires. The Vietnam war was a French creation, not a US one.

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mc 03.19.04 at 10:15 am

I don’t understand what made you so angry.

I think he has a point in saying what everyone did during the Vietnam period should not matter.

Any comparison on “who sacrificed most”, or between WWII and terrorism, is very offputting.

Besides, for the most part, earlier generations struck by war did not sacrifice anything by choice. They just had to suffer the consequences of war.

yes, people overall are generally wealthier today – so what?

But while my generation (W/X) cheerfully rides around in its SUVs, gorges itself on fast food

Clichés… sweeping generalisations…

sends a volunteer army to a war that has nothing to do with terrorism

…arguable at the very least…

and continues with life as normal (except in airports)

Sorry, but isn’t that a good thing, that we’re relatively unaffected by terrorism so far?

Isn’t it a good thing, for instance, that even in Jerusalem people go to work and to school like normal, and that in Tel Aviv kids keep going out clubbing and partying despite the even more constant threat of being blown up?

Or…?

it might do well to reflect on the real experience our grandparents faced in a society completely geared up to fight a war against the worst threat civilization has ever faced.

And that reflection would bring to what conclusions exactly? the classic grandma’s line “you don’t know how good you have it”? which translates into what kind of political conclusions exactly?

Sorry but I really don’t get it.

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harry 03.19.04 at 1:39 pm

mc, no I think its a good thing that we’re wealthy and relatively unaffected by terrorism. This makes our experience quite unlike that of the people who lived through WWII. No? Cheap rhetorical attempts to invoke their experience in defence of a presidential candidates are obnoxious. Narcissistic at best, as people have said. That’s all. And, as I said, I agreed with the central point.

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mc 03.19.04 at 4:38 pm

harry: yes of course the two situations can’t be compared. I just thought I was reading in your words a note of scorn for “how easy we have it” compared to our grandparents under the war. If that’s not what you implied, then sorry for inferring too much.

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