Thursday, July 21, 2016

"Wrong War" Conservatives: “Patriots” Who Dodged the Draft

Just 99 years ago, this was America's view of draft dodgers. 

Many strange things make America unique in the history of the world.  One of the strangest to me is that Draft Dodgers can let another man serve and maybe die in his place, and yet they can be “Patriots” later in life.  And more ironic than that, they can be patriots in the conservative party.

I know a guy who is a life-long conservative, is three years older than I am, and never served in the military.  He said the Vietnam War was the “Wrong War.”  (Really?  Who decides what is the "Right War?" You?) In his mind, those who have the means to avoid the war are free to do that.  So he went to college and got four deferments that got him through the effective end of the draft in 1973.  He considers himself a true conservative and a patriot and has no lingering guilt about avoiding the Vietnam War.

More importantly, he believes if it was the "Right War" he would have served.  Usually with this kind of assertion, there is no way to test if it is true.  But in America, we have so many wars we can  validate the experiment. America was attacked on September 11, 2001.  America invaded Afghanistan within a month and was making plans to invade Iraq within a year.  In the USA where  upwards of 100 million people claim to be conservative, the government had trouble maintaining a force of just two million.  By 2007, the Army National Guard let me re-enlist at 54 years old.  The Army, in a failed three-year experiment, raised the enlistment age to 42.  I got in with 11 years of prior service and a waiver. Where were all those conservatives?  Was Iraq another "Wrong War?"

In most any country in the world through most of history, dodging the draft was treated as treason. The draft dodger went through life known as a coward. 

Yet in modern America, the party that wants to “Make America Great Again” does not want any part of the real path to greatness, which involves suffering and sacrifice. 

With the glaring exception of John McCain, every nominee of the Republican Party in this century has avoided combat service while blaming the Democrats for the ills of the nation.  A nation that is looking back to the what they consider the best days of America, would not nominate, let alone elect, a draft dodger to be commander in chief.  There is a moral dimension to greatness.  The sort of man who will let another serve in his place as a young man will not suddenly become a brave leader as an old man. 

When Donald Trump addresses the Republic Convention tonight he will stand in front of the largest gathering of rich draft dodgers in America: the coward in chief telling thousands of other cowards how he is going to “Make America Great Again.” 

I wish I was making this up.




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