Saturday, July 25, 2015

Does Draft Dodging Trump Trump's Presidential Bid with Veterans - It Does with This Vet!

Unfortunately, much of what the Donald says I like but also unfortunately he has completely disqualified himself as Commander-in-Chief material by his disgraceful McCain remarks and the disrespect he has shown for all Vets. I don’t speak for all Vets but I’m pretty well connected with the Military and most everyone I know feel the same as I do.  We feel that if “The Donald” had a little more self respect, he would just come clean about his Draft Dodging and confess he was just a coward and did everything short of maiming himself (which he didn’t have the guts to do) to avoid military service and danger rather than spinning yarns Ripley wouldn’t believe about “bone spurs but can’t remember where?”  Hence, using “Guts” to describe Trump would be a gross misnomer.  Bill Clinton is still excoriated as a Draft Dodger, isn’t “The Donald” every bit as worthy of the title?

Active military service was an absolute certainty for any male born between 1941 and 1950 unless he was morally, mentally or medically unfit, or took some overt action to "dodge" the draft.  THAT IS A FACT.  Draft dodging does not necessarily mean “illegal” as the 1968 Webster’s Dictionary defined a “Draft Dodger” simply as “a person who avoids military service.”  Applying for student or occupational deferments, leaving the country, hiring a sympathetic doctor to “discover” a disqualifying ailment or signing up for ROTC without any intentions of participating were all things people did, legally and illegally, to avoid performing their duty.  One thing is certain, when someone like Trump Dodged the Draft, someone less eligible (and usually less educated or affluent) had to take his place.

As someone actually drafted from Joe Biden’s hometown of Scranton, PA and after graduating from OCS (still carrying a US serial number) went to Vietnam as a 2nd Lieutenant not yet old enough to drink and extending to come home an older and wiser Captain with a CIB, I know a little about how the draft worked.  When I took my physical the Doctor actually pulled my left knee out of the socket from where it had been dislocated playing football.  Although a disqualifying item, when I got to the end of the physical the clerk stamped “waiver” on my physical form and I was inducted that evening.  Hence, I learned that if you didn’t have a disqualifying feature a doctor could see with his own eyes like missing an arm or a leg, you were going to pass the physical.  The only way to “beat it” was to fight induction by hiring a sympathetic doctor to “discover” a disqualifying ailment and then a lawyer – which I suspect is what The Donald did.

I suspect Shakespeare’s St. Crispin's Day Speech delivered by Henry V before the Battle of Agincourt (Act IV Scene iii) best describes “The Donald’s” problem:

From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered,
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition.
And gentlemen in England now abed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,

And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's Day.

If “The Donald” was not fit to serve when his Country needed him during Vietnam, what makes him fit to serve now?  I wonder if he still "holds his manhood cheap?"

To be fair, Vietnam-era Draft Dodging was a bi-partisan character flaw that afflicts politicians at a much higher rate than the rest of the general population and included most of the present Members of Congress that come from that 1941-1950 cohort, the prime draft age during the war.  There are still 27 Senators from that age cohort of which only three (3) saw active military duty and only one sports a Vietnam Service Ribbon.  In the House there are still 99 from that cohort with ten (10) having seen active duty but only four (4) Vietnam Vets.  Then there’s Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) who claimed to be a Vietnam Vet but was really a reservist whose only active duty was a short stint for training.  In his defense, he had seen a HBO rerun of the Oliver Stone movie Platoon.  Now contrast that to Gov Perry’s service.  Commissioned out of Texas A&M ROTC in 1972, he completed pilot training and flew C-130s all over the World until leaving the Air Force after 5 years in 1977as a Captain.

To be completely fair, both Dick Cheney and Joe Biden also did everything short of maiming themselves (neither had the guts) to dodge the draft during Vietnam.  By comparison, those cowards make "W" look like a war hero! (Bush flying antique Air National Guard Convair F-102s was probably in more danger than I was during my CIB-earning tours in Vietnam!).  As long as we’re naming Vietnam era Draft Dodgers, let’s not forget Bill Clinton and Mitt Romney. 

If your Rep or Senator is from the Vietnam generation and you’re curious what he did during that War, check out my Blog article at:  http://old-soldier-colonel.blogspot.com/2015/05/what-did-vietnam-era-age-members-of.html

Both The State Dept & Director of National Intelligence Inspectors General (IGs) in Essence Are Calling Hillary Clinton a Liar: Her Private Emails Did Contain Classified Information!



Did Hillary Clinton lie about her private emails containing Classified information?  Don’t take my word for it but just read the statement signed and released on 24 July 2015 by both IGs to see what they say in their own words.  In my previous Blog article I highlighted how the Washington Post Fact checker had already discredited Hillary’s declaration that “Everything I Did on Email Was Permitted” (http://old-soldier-colonel.blogspot.com/2015/07/hillary-clinton-cheated-out-of-4th.html) and now these brave and totally independent IGs totally contradiction her accretion that she had “followed appropriate practices in dealing with classified materials.”  The question for the American public is: can a person that handles the Nation’s most sensitive classified information in such a cavalier fashion be trusted to run the entire Government? 
On Friday/24 July, the same day that the IGs released their public statement, the Justice Department issued their own statement that they had received a “referral” by the ODNI IG of the potential compromise of classified information in connection with the private e-mail account that Hillary Rodham Clinton used while she was the secretary of state.

You’ll notice that in the above statement signed by both I. Charles McCullough III, The ODNI IG, and Steve A. Linick, the State Department’s IG, they found four (4) SECRET Classified emails in the “limited sample” of just 40 emails they reviewed so were required by Federal Law to make a referral to they FBI.  Extrapolating using simple math would mean that Ten Per Cent (10%) of Hillary’s emails contained classified information so thousands of her messages contained information at the SECRET or above levels.

Executive Order (EO) 12356, The U.S. Classification of Information System, defines the three classification levels:

(1) "Top Secret" shall be applied to information, the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.
(2) "Secret" shall be applied to information, the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage to the national security.
(3) "Confidential" shall be applied to information, the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause damage to the national security.

Hence, as a minimum thousands of her emails sent and maintained on her personal server in the basement of her unsecured residence in New York and transmitted in the clear over the public internet contained information that “could be expected to cause serious damage to the national security.”

When Hillary stated at her 10 March 2015 New York City Press Conference that: "I Did Not Email Any Classified Material To Anyone On My Email. There Is No Classified Material." she was once again lying through her teeth but I do believe her when she went on to say that: “So I'm certainly well-aware of the classification requirements ….” If you take her at her word that she was “aware of the classification requirements” than the logical conclusion can only be that she felt they did not apply to her when she sent those thousands of emails that contained classified information “which reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage to the national security.”

Worse yet, that classified information “which reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage to the national security” may “still exist on at least one private server and thumb drive that are not in the government’s possession,” according to the 24 July statement issued by both IGs.  Clinton’s private server and the thumb drive containing 30,000 e-mails she turned over to the State Department are in the possession of her attorney, David Kendall.

One thing that Hillary did get right was who she selected when she “lawyered-up” to avoid jail time for her compromise of classified information.  Remember David Kendall is the same attorney that represented GEN David Petraeus in his legal proceedings concerning his unauthorized release of classified information.  Even though Petraeus released the information to his biographer/mistress who possessed a Top Secret security clearance, she did not have a “need to know” and none of the information made it into the public domain but the release to her was still a security breach for which he was punished.  Although the Obama Administration has been really tough on criminals convicted of disclosing classified information, the General was sentenced to just two (2) years probation and a $100,000 fine.

Hillary’s breach was far more damaging in that Intelligence Community professionals are confident that the Chinese and Russian government cyber professionals thoroughly compromised Hillary's home-grown server in the basement of her New York house. They are also confident that at least three other governments successfully hacker her. Not only was her clintonemail.com domain name a little obvious but they were also tracking all her key subordinates that also exclusively used their clintonemail.com accounts to communicated with her through her private server. In that Hillary’s breach was far more serious but using the same Obama Administration’s lenient treatment for his appointed minions, one would expect her to get off with just a fine and probation but no jail time. 

(Maybe Congress should subpoena the Chinese and Russian intelligence agencies for Hillary’s emails including the 30,000 missing ones? This might even reveal what the ones she turned over actually contained before she edited them to remove anything embarrassing or criminal!)

Although the Statement from the ODNI and State Dept IGs is posted above, below I’ve posted the ODNI IG 23 July 15 Memo to the chairmen and ranking minority-party members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees which complains that his request for State to give the intelligence community a copy of all the e-mails had been rejected ….

One thing for certain is that polling shows that Clinton’s favorability ratings and her marks for trustworthiness have plummeted since this controversy began in April and one can only imagine how the bottom might fall out of her ratings if she has to campaign from jail!


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Hillary Clinton Cheated Out of a 4th Pinocchio by Washington Post Fact Checker for her Bogus Claim That “everything I did on e-mails was permitted”



During a 7 July 2015 CNN interview Former secretary of state and presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton made this ridiculously BOGUS and untruthful accretion that:

“Everything I did was permitted. There was no law. There was no regulation. There was nothing that did not give me the full authority to decide how I was going to communicate. Previous secretaries of state have said they did the same thing…. Everything I did was permitted by law and regulation. I had one device. When I mailed anybody in the government, it would go into the government system.”

Hillary’s BS accretion was so outlandish that it prompted Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post Fact Checker, to “examine” the veracity of her claim about her “e-mail practices,” which led him to conclude that it reminded him of then-Vice President Al Gore’s statement in 1997 that there was “no controlling legal authority” concerning his phone calls from the White House seeking Democratic campaign contributions.  Hillary claimed that “everything I did was permitted” because “there was no law … there was no regulation.” but the WaPo Fact Checker doubted that.

When Hillary was secretary of state there were already in place State Department rules on how to handle e-mails and whether to use a personal e-mail account.  Hillary said that other secretaries “did the same thing” which was untrue because only Colin L. Powell sent e-mails from a personal account and NO previous secretary had gone so far to conceal their official communications as to set up an exclusive and private e-mail server in the basement of their personal residence to handle all of their departmental communications.

In 2009, eight months after Clinton became secretary of state the rules on handling electronic records were clarified in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) update which stated: “Agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that Federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency record-keeping system… The responsibility for making and preserving the records is assigned to the head of each federal agency.”

As a result of this CFR update, Secretary Clinton sent out a personal cable under her own signature warning employees to “avoid conducting official Department business from your personal e-mail accounts.”  Too bad Hillary didn’t follow her own warning but was her actions were in keeping with her “do as I say, not as I do” and “rules don’t apply to me” philosophy.

What is indisputable is that Hillary flaunted the spirit of the laws and rules in place at the time she was in office.   Although she suggests that “when I mailed anybody in the government, it would go into the government system” and so that signified compliance with the requirement to maintain federal records, is bogus in so many ways.  Not only did her practice make it difficult to locate records in response to specific requests as her e-mail would be in another official’s inbox and would not exist in the federal system as part of Clinton’s outbox, but because most of her close inner circle communicated exclusively on her private Clintonmail.com email system, those official communications never even entered the government system.  An official’s government outbox would be the first place that people seeking records would look and recall that the State Department contacted Clinton, seeking copies of her e-mails, precisely because officials were unable to locate e-mails in response to queries from a House committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

One other important detail missed by the WaPo Fact Checker which might have persuaded him to award Hillary that coveted 4th Pinocchio was that when several of the emails Hillary eventually did turn over (under duress) were compared with ones obtained from other sources it was noticed that she had altered several of her emails to edit out passages that she probably felt would be unflattering to her. I suspect one the real reason she provided hard copies rather than the electronic files, in addition to the hard copies were much harder to review, was that experts would have been able to detect her edits from the electronic versions. I would add that altering "official records" is a federal offense but I’m confident that Obama's Dept of Justice would never pursue a Democrat for a violation of Federal Law.

Before Hillary even joined the Obama administration — the Foreign Affairs Manual made it clear that before a senior official (such as a Senate-confirmed presidential appointee) departed government service, he or she must prepare an inventory of personal papers that are proposed for removal. The manual states that “correspondence or e-mail received or sent in an employee’s capacity as a Department official is not personal.”  Hillary certainly failed to live up to that requirement, as she had retained those e-mail records for nearly two years after she left office before returning them to the State Department.

Hence, when Hillary’s campaign erroneously suggests she could determine what actually was a federal record, her State Department-related emails were obviously official records and it would be disingenuous for anyone to argue otherwise.

So how did the WaPo Fact Checker conclude Hillary’s whopper was only worthy of three Pinocchios?  He found that she had argued her case on narrow, technical grounds, but had not actually complied with existing rules as virtually everyone else understood them.  Her decision to use a private e-mail system for official business was highly unusual and flouted State Department procedures and while she claimed “everything I did was permitted,” she certainly DID NOT comply with the requirement to turn over her business-related e-mails before she left government service. That’s a major failure that she continues to lie about.  The Fact Checker concluded Hillary went too far in suggesting her actions were ordinary – -and she stretched the limits of existing laws and regulations.


Although the WaPo Fact Checker Awarded only 3 Pinocchios


Given he failed to recognize Hillary had gone so far as to edit and alter some of the emails she eventually did turn over thus falsifying them, this should have justified award of that coveted 4th Pinocchio.


One final observation concerning Hillary’s emails, the Intelligence Community professionals are confident that the Chinese and Russian government cyber professionals thoroughly compromised Hillary's home-grown server in the basement of her New York house. They are also confident that at least three other governments successfully hacker her. Not only was her clintonemail.com domain name a little obvious but they were also tracking all her key subordinates that also exclusively used their clintonemail.com accounts to communicated with her through her private server. I suspect one of the reasons she did not want to turn over her server was because US government cyber forensic professionals would have verified the compromise.

Maybe Congress should subpoena the Chinese and Russians for Hillary’s emails including the 30,000 missing ones? This might even reveal what the ones she turned over actually contained before her minions edited them!

For those of you interested in reading the WaPo Fact Checkers 9 July 2015 article, here it is:

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Mr. President, Who YOU Appoint to Be the Next Secretary of the Army Will Clearly Demonstrate If YOU Truly Care about the Army and Our Soldiers! Make the Right Choice!



Mr. President, Who YOU Appoint to Be the Next Secretary of the Army Will Clearly Demonstrate If YOU Truly Care about the Army and Our Soldiers!  Make the Right Choice!

As the son of a career military man, birthed by a military doctor and the first time I moved off a military base was when I got drafted, I thought I knew all there was to know about the military.  To my surprise, I learned more about what it meant to be a Soldier during my first 24 hours IN the military then I did being AROUND the military for my first 19 years!

With this experience, I have to ask the President to find someone who has donned a uniform in defense of this Nation to be our next Secretary of the Army, to lead our Army that has endured over a decade of sustained combat.  John McHugh, the present secretary, has announced he is leaving.

In my opinion there are several former Soldiers that meet that criterion but none better qualified than former Army Chief of Staff and current President & CEO of the Association of the US Army (AUSA), Retired General Gordon R. Sullivan.  Although 77 years old, the General is in excellent health and as AUSA president is intimately familiar with all the challenges facing the service.  A two tour Vietnam Vet with multiple other tours in Europe and Korea, he has never been political although In August 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed him Acting Secretary of the Army while he continued to serve as Army Chief of Staff so he has previous experience in the job.

True, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter never served in uniform but he did have 7 years in the Department of Defense prior to his nomination as SECDEF and he was smart enough to get retired Marine Colonel Bob Work, a combat veteran with over 27 years of active duty, to be his Deputy. Work also had four years as Under Secretary of the Navy.  Also true, outgoing Army Secretary John McHugh never served but it shows.  His seven years as secretary have been marked by reduced morale, increased suicides, declining readiness and a hollowing of the force not seen since the Carter Administration.  Although his deputy, Under Secretary Brad Carson, spent some time in Iraq as a Navy Intelligence officer after being turned out of Congress, he received his Direct Commission at age 42 to polish up his resume so he is hardly an experienced military man so will have little practical Army experience to help the next Secretary deal with the myriad of challenges he will face.

With all this said, rumors abound that President Obama intends to nominate Political Hack Eric Fanning to replace McHugh although he is definitely NOT what we need as our next Secretary.  Granted he is a seasoned community organizer having been a leader of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund helping Democrats get elected but this hardly qualifies him to lead our Nation’s Army in the final year and a half of the Obama Administration.  The next few years promises to be challenging as the Army deals with considerable force reductions and refitting from a decade of War.  The next Secretary needs to be able to hit the ground running with a deep understanding of not only how the Army runs but also has the deep respect of serving members -- Someone like General Sullivan.

Mr. President, this is another opportunity for you to secure your legacy.  Are you going to saddle the Army with a political hack who knows nothing about the Army, strategically, tactically or culturally, for your final time in office or will you appoint a “Gordon Sullivan” type that actually can do something to rebuild the Army after a decade of War.  This is your chance to demonstrate you really care about Soldiers and match your rhetoric with actions.  Appoint Gordon Sullivan NOW!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Why the Republican National Committee (RNC) Needs to STOP Having John Bolton Send Out Solicitation Letters and E-Mails!



Today I received the below E-Mail from John Bolton soliciting contributions for the RNC and became so incensed that I fired back the below response explaining why Draft Dodging Chicken Hawk Bolton was the wrong person to use for fund raising and why he was the wrong messenger for talking about why the Democrats and especially Hillary Clinton are soft on National Defense.  Here is that exchange.


Sent: Saturday, June 27, 2015 1:20 PM
To: 'John Bolton'
Subject: RE: Act now before it’s too late

Sir,
To be equally blunt, I am a retired Army Colonel Vietnam Vet and life long Republican so please DO NOT insult me by sending me an appeal for a donation from a self described Vietnam Draft Dodger and Chicken-Hawk like John Bolton!
            It’s a little difficult for us real Vet to take Uber-Chicken-Hawks like John Bolton seriously when he discusses today’s conflicts although I must admit he did demonstrate a certain “Military expertise” by his uncanny ability to “avoid armed conflicts” in his youth by doing everything short of maiming himself (which he didn’t have the guts to do) to avoid any brush with danger when his Country needed him during the Vietnam War.
            Born in 1948, John-Boy Bolton reached draft age in 1966 at the beginning of the real US involvement in Vietnam and when the War was still very popular but instead of subjecting himself to the draft, he enrolled at Yale.  Over the next four years while the fighting raged, John-Boy was the campus big advocate of Vietnam engagement while enjoying four years of uninterrupted student deferments.  In 1970 when his deferments ran out, he drew a low draft number but wanted to go to law school so John-Boy was sufficiently connected politically to get a highly a coveted position in the Maryland National Guard thus ensuring he would never be exposed to danger.  Now Reservists and Guardsmen are likely to be called up and serve in a war zone but during Vietnam, they had about as much chance of going to Vietnam as being struck by lightning.
            John-Boy wrote in his Yale 25th reunion book "I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy. I considered the war in Vietnam already lost."  He later explained that he decided to avoid service in Vietnam because "by the time I was about to graduate in 1970, it was clear to me that opponents of the Vietnam War had made it certain we could not prevail, and that I had no great interest in going there to have Teddy Kennedy give it back to the people I might die to take it away from."  Of course John-Boy could have gotten in on the ground-floor of the conflict in 1966 and anytime before 1970 to help ensure a different outcome.
            I would add that I went to Vietnam as a young second lieutenant in 1968 and extended there to come home a rather older and wiser Captain in 1970 and I can assure John-Boy that the War had NOT been lost by 1970 when he refused to serve.  Rather the Vietnamese were beginning to hold their own with reducing American direct combat support and it was not until the Democrat Congress completely cut off support to the South Vietnamese Army in 1974 while Soviet and Chinese increased their support to the North that the ARVN began losing ground.
            Hence, if even today John-Boy is still so misinformed about Vietnam and is not even ashamed of his deplorable personal conduct during that War even to the point of slurring those of us still serving in 1970, why should I believe anything he says today.
            Please NEVER again send me anything signed by John Bolton or any other draft dodging chicken hawk of his ilk!
COLONEL, US Army Retired

From: John Bolton [mailto:volunteer@action.gop.com]
Sent: Saturday, June 27, 2015 11:04 AM
Subject: Act now before it’s too late

I’ll be blunt: we’re heading down a dark and dangerous path. The 2016 election is the make-it or break-it point for our nation’s future. It’s critical to reversing the failures of the Obama presidency and preventing a repeat in another Clinton White House.

GOP

I'll be blunt: we're heading down a dark and dangerous path.

The 2016 election is the make-it or break-it point for our nation's future. It's critical to reversing the failures of the Obama presidency and preventing a repeat in another Clinton White House.

That's why it is urgent you help the RNC meet their critical end of quarter goal before midnight on June 30.

The Obama-Clinton rudderless foreign policy has weakened our national defense, leaving us susceptible to our enemies. And it has diminished our standing on the global stage, causing America to lead from behind.

What we've seen time and time again under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is this pattern of indecision, and worse, inaction. They have been so blinded by their own radical ideology that they can't even formulate a real strategy for taking on the world's enemies.

What this world needs now more than ever is American leadership. But to restore American leadership, we must elect a Republican to the White House.

We need a president who will defend the country. We need a president who will defend our core values. And we need a president who puts our national security at the center of every policy decision.

To make this happen, we need you to step up and act before Tuesday's deadline.

We must fuse our intense desire to win the White House with our need to keep House and Senate majorities that can support our conservative policies.

Act before it's too late: contribute to the RNC today.

Thanks,

Ambassador John Bolton

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

What Did Vietnam Generation Members of Congress Do in the War or More Appropriately, How Did Most Politicians Manage to Dodge the Draft?



SOMETHING TO CONSIDER ON MEMORIAL DAY!


Memorial Day and Veterans Day used to be my favorite holidays because it was the time when most of the Vietnam-era aged politicians would be polishing up their "why I couldn't serve" excuses.  With the passage of time, memories fade and people forget those tumultuous times when brave men and women answered the call when their country needed them while others founds way to avoid their responsibilities and let other serve in their place.  What used to gall me wasn't that I had to listen to such dribble from politicians but rather that they really expected me to believe them!  My last name might be ethnic but I didn't just roll off the boat last night!

Also, with the passing of time, fewer and fewer Members of Congress come from the 1941-1950 cohort, the prime draft age during that war.  There are still 27 Senators from that age cohort of which only three (3) saw active military duty but only one sports a Vietnam Service Ribbon.  In the House there are still 99 from that cohort with ten (10) having seen active duty but only four (4) are Vietnam Vets.  Then there’s Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) who claimed to be a Vietnam Vet but was really only a reservist whose only active duty was a short stint for training.  In his defense, he had seen a HBO rerun of the Oliver Stone movie Platoon.

Here is a graphic listing all the Vietnam generation Congress members that shows what they “did during the War.”


Active military service was an absolute certainty for any male born between 1941 and the end of 1950 unless he was morally, mentally or medically unfit, or took some overt action to "dodge" the draft.  THAT IS A FACT.  Draft dodging does not necessarily mean “illegal” as the Webster’s Dictionary of the time defined a “Draft Dodger” simply as “a person who avoids military service.”  Applying for student or occupational deferments, leaving the country, feigning homosexuality, hiring a sympathetic doctor to “discover” a disqualifying ailment or signing up for ROTC without any intentions of participating were all things people did, legally and illegally, to avoid performing their duty. Also, as Dan Rather reported in his discredited documentary on Bush 43’s National Guard service, Reserve and National Guard membership during Vietnam and present day service is much different.  Now Reservists and Guardsmen are likely to be called up and serve in a war zone but during Vietnam, they had about as much chance of going to Vietnam as being struck by lightning.  Slots in Reserve and Guard units were highly sought after and were normally reserved for the well off and politically connected.  Hence, I don't care if your name is Clinton, Cheney, Biden, Romney or a host of other politicians, I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t insult my intelligence with lame excuses.

President Bill Clinton, after receiving a host of deferments and two draft notices, finally received his notice to report for induction into the Army.  “Slick Willie” quickly sent a sworn affidavit to his draft board stating he was enrolling in ROTC at the University of Arkansas although he had no intention of ever enrolling at Arkansas let alone in ROTC.  He just needed to delay his induction long enough for the lottery to go into effect in hopes he would draw a high number.  He did and his unethical behavior resulted in someone less eligible and definitely less educated serving in his place.  He probably learned the wrong lesson from that experience of not being prosecuted for perjury as it possibly led to his later similar misconduct which resulted in his perjury conviction in the Monica Lewinski case.  Luck can only last so long!

Vice President Dick Cheney was equally diligent in his draft dodging efforts.  His claim that "If called, I would have been happy to serve" was a little disingenuous when in fact he did everything short of maiming himself (which he didn’t have the guts to do) to make sure he was unavailable to be called. When Cheney became Vietnam draft eligible, he applied for and received five draft deferments. During his 1989 Secretary of Defense confirmation hearings he testified that he “had other priorities in the '60s than military service” and that he received multiple deferments to finish a college career that lasted six years rather than four, “owing to sub-par academic performance.”  He then received a fifth "hardship" exemption when his wife was pregnant. Hence, he successfully “waited out” his draft board until he turned 26 and was no longer draft eligible!

Draft dodging must have been a plus in selecting vice presidents.  Joe Biden went through so many obscene machinations to dodge the Vietnam draft it was breathtaking.  After his fifth deferment ran out he actually received his Induction Notice and was unfortunate enough to pass his draft physical.  Undeterred by that small setback, Joe shopped around for a sympathetic doctor who successfully "discovered" an undetected childhood disqualification so Joe could send a less qualified (and definitely poorer and less educated) replacement in his stead.   I remember how Senator (and Medal of Honor recipient) Bob Kerrey put it in 1992 when he said  about the Draft “as I remember it, at that time if you could walk and chew gum, the military would take you.”   I was drafted in Biden’s hometown of Scranton Pennsylvania and my first hand experience was that unless you had a disqualifying condition that a doctor could visually detect like missing an arm or a leg, you were going to pass your draft physical.

Now Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney was really creative. Romney started out with two Student Deferments and then left the U.S. for a thirty-month stay in France as a Mormon missionary for which he received a “ministerial deferment.”  When he returned he received another two student deferments. Like Clinton, Mitt just needed to delay his induction long enough for the lottery to go into effect in hopes he would draw a high number.  He did and his unethical behavior also resulted in someone less eligible and definitely less educated serving in his place.  Unlike Clinton, Mitt supported the War and even Nixon's Cambodian Incursion so he and Dick Cheney qualify as Chicken-Hawks; politicians that fully support wars, just so long as they don’t have to fight in them.

I used to view Bush 43 with the same disdain as Clinton, Cheney, Biden and Romney until my research revealed he actually served longer on active duty than Al Gore did and was probably in more danger flying antique Air National Guard Convair F-102s than Gore was during his 4 month stint in Vietnam as an Engineer Brigade newsletter journalist or maybe even I was during my extended CIB earning combat Infantry tour.

The fact that so many Democrat and Republican politicians were Draft Dodgers shows that it was a bi-partisan character flaw that seemed to afflict politicians at a much higher rate than the rest of the general population.  The draft dodging politicians serving in Congress today can certainly campaign on their “Military expertise” by pointing to their uncanny ability to “avoid armed conflicts” in their youth.   

When evaluating Vietnam generation politicians, consider draft quotas were assigned by draft board and when one man evaded, one of his neighbors, often less educated or advantaged and always less eligible, served in his place.  also, because many of the more capable natural leaders avoided service, we often had to settle for less capable leadership.  Think of how many American lives could have been saved if leaders with the potential of Clinton, Cheney, Biden, Romney or many of those still in Congress had only done their duty.  Isn't it ironic how correct Clinton was when he used to say that "it's the little guy who plays by the rules that always ends up taking it in the neck."

Although much of the “history” of that era has been re-written by Draft Dodgers, up until Tet of 1968 the overwhelming majority of Americans supported the war and only then did the mood begin to slowly shift. It is arguable that the anti‑war movement never really enjoyed the support of a majority of the country as evidenced by the fact that Nixon won by a landslide in ’72 over a George McGovern who would have had us cut and run out of Vietnam before the end of his inaugural speech!

Despite the efforts of revisionist historians and Hollywood producers to ascribe only the highest of moral ideals to draft resisters while assigning the most sinister of motives to those of us who served, the truth is that the vast majority of draft avoiders were just plain "chicken."  So when you ask your Vietnam generation politicians “What did you do during the War?” these are the only three truthful responses they can give you:
  • When called, I responded and served.  Sometimes reluctantly but I did the right thing.
  • I was a quiet Draft Dodger!  I kept my head down; applied for all the deferments I could find, legal or illegal; and if my draft board finally found me, I did everything I could to make myself ineligible.  As a last resort if I just couldn’t beat the draft and my family was politically connected, I secured one of the coveted spots in the Reserves or National Guard so at least it was guaranteed that I would never be in danger of seeing Vietnam.
  • I was an obnoxious Draft Dodger!  I spent my time with flowers in my hair protesting the war and burning my draft while smoking pot and doing other drugs.  Unlike the quite Draft Dodgers, if my draft board caught up with me I went underground and often fled the country for Canada or Sweden.
Just one final thought, if the Clintons, Cheneys, Bidens, Romneys or many other Vietnam generation politicians were "unfit" to serve in their youth when their country needed them badly, what makes them any more fit to serve now?  At least they can begin on their way to redemption by being honest.  Instead of continually spinning yarns that "Ripley wouldn't believe" about why they didn’t serve, can't they just come clean and confess "I was scared, I didn't want to go, and I found a way to avoid it."  Then and only then can they begin regaining a little self-respect and the respect of the rest of us.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Price of Clintons! Going Up, Up, Up!



Times have really changed for the Clintons!  As Secretary of State, Hillary demanded hundreds of millions of dollars in exchange for “Official favors” but back when she was First Lady you could “buy the Clintons” for much less.  For instance, back in 1996, the Clintons’ price for a plot in Arlington National Cemetery for former Ambassador M. Larry Lawrence was a mere $200,000.  Of course that one didn’t work out so great because Veterans Groups made such a stink about this lying non-vet being buried in the company of brave Service Members that the Clintons were forced to have him dug up and removed.

Another good deal was the Clintons rented out the White House Lincoln Bedroom for a mere $100,000 contribution. A bit more expensive than the Hyatt, but it included a breakfast buffet.

Then there was the Marc Rich pardon that Clinton did on his last day in office.  That one was a bargain at just over $1 million including more than $100,000 to Hillary’s Senate campaign and another $450,000 to the Clinton Library.

Now days a million bucks won’t buy you a burrito with Hillary at Chipotle let alone a ride in the Secret Service chauffeured Scooby Van with her!

Can’t imagine what her (and Bill’s) price would be if American voters were ever to be so stupid as to elect her President!