The Burgh Correspondent asked me yesterday if I was going to say anything about Veterans Day. I took a pass; it was late to work up anything new, and I didn’t have anything old that either hadn’t been seen before, or was worthy of another airing. Plus, hard as this may be to believe, at times even I get tired of hearing myself rant. My Veterans Day contribution to the Internet’s Tower of Babel was a brief respite. You’re welcome.
Veterans Day is over, and something has come to mind. What follows isn’t anything new, we’ve all seen it before; thanks are due the Dialog Correspondent for refreshing my memory. Watching Dick “It’s Only Torture if the Other Guys Do It” Cheney place the wreath at Arlington Cemetery reminded me of this list, and of the sterling military careers of those who used whatever pretence to place, and keep, today’s future veterans in harm’s way.
My military “career” is hardly worth mentioning: three years in a band in Georgia, 1980–1983. Let it be noted that this was during a period of tension with the original Evil Empire™, Ronald Reagan’s Soviet Union. During my tenure at Fort McPherson, not a single Soviet military musical unit even got as far as Savannah, and I’m damn proud of that.
Silly, right? I’ll stack my record of military service up against any number of our current “leaders.” Look at a few prominent names on the list below. I can at least account for my years of service; George W. Bush can’t. That didn’t prevent him from allowing other to defame John McCain to Bush’s advantage in South Carolina in 2000. (The general gist of the comments was that McCain’s years in the Hanoi Hilton may have rendered him too unstable for the presidency.) Bush showed the same heroic spirit that kept him thousands of miles from Vietnam by his tepid condemnation of their actions, well after it made any difference.
Cheney? Paul Wolfowitz? Bill Frist? Rick Santorum? I’m Audie Murphy compared to these clowns. It’s an unfunny laugh to see those who found the time to serve celebrated by these “leaders,” who leveraged the service and sacrifice of others into the positions of power they have now.
Here’s the list. I make no representations for the complete accuracy, but nothing I could find in either Snopes or truthorfiction says it isn’t accurate. Remember, not serving is no dishonor. Profiting, financially or career-wise, by sending others into service you may have chosen to avoid, is. There’s a word for it. Cowardice. To paraphrase R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket, next time you decide who’s a real patriot, remember who was listening to Mick Jagger records and screwing college girls when some others were putting their asses on the line.
Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.
David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72.
Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.
Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan. 1971 as an army
journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade.
Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat
V, Purple Hearts.
Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star,
Vietnam. Paraplegic from war injuries. Served in Congress.
Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53.
Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91.
Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII; Bronze Star and seven campaign
Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze
Stars,and Soldier's Medal.
Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and
Legion of Merit.
Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart.
Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine in Vietnam; Bronze
Star with Combat V.
Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star.
Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57
Chuck Robb: Vietnam
Howell Heflin: Silver Star
George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.
Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but
Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and AirMedal with 18 Clusters.
Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul
Republicans -- and these are the guys sending people to war:
Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage.
Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
Tom Delay: did not serve.
Roy Blunt: did not serve.
Bill Frist: did not serve.
Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
Rick Santorum: did not serve.
Trent Lott: did not serve.
John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business.
Jeb Bush: did not serve.
Karl Rove: did not serve.
Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. "Bad knee." The man who attacked Max
Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
Vin Weber: did not serve.
Richard Perle: did not serve.
Douglas Feith: did not serve.
Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
Richard Shelby: did not serve.
Jon! Kyl: did not serve.
Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
Christopher Cox: did not serve.
Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor.
George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard; got
assigned to Alabama so he could campaign for family friend running for
U.S. Senate; failed to show up for required medical exam, disappeared from
Ronald Reagan: due to poor eyesight, served in a non- combat role
B-1 Bob Dornan: Consciously enlisted after fighting was over in
Phil Gramm: did not serve.
John McCain: Vietnam POW, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit,
Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.
John M. McHugh: did not serve.
JC Watts: did not serve.
Jack Kemp: did not serve. "Knee problem, " although continued in NFL
for 8 years as quarterback.
Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard.
Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
George Pataki: did not serve.
Spencer Abraham: did not serve.
John Engler: did not serve.
Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.
Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base.
Pundits & Preachers
Sean Hannity: did not serve.
Rush Limbaugh: did not serve (4-F with a 'pilonidal cyst.')
Bill O'Reilly: did not serve.
Michael Savage: did not serve.
George Will: did not serve.
Chris Matthews: did not serve.
Paul Gigot: did not serve.
Bill Bennett: did not serve.
Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
John Wayne: did not serve.
Bill Kristol: did not serve.
Kenneth Starr: did not serve.
Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
Clarence Thomas: did not serve.
Ralph Reed: did not serve.
Michael Medved: did not serve.
Charlie Daniels: did not serve.
Ted Nugent: did not serve. (He only shoots at things that don't shoot