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No Spine, No Service

August 15th, 2003

On these rainy days with not much to do, one has more time to surf and find some interesting information.

The web site AWOLBush.com has an interesting list of prominent Democrats and Republicans and what their military service records are. It has long been a widely-disseminated and yet little-known fact that Democratic politicians have far better record of serving their country than Republicans do. I haven’t done the research, but the list is certainly tilted towards showcasing Dems that served and Repubs that didn’t; still, when you look at it, a surprising number of Republicans have shirked their duty, including:

George W. Bush (joined celebrity unit of Texas National Guard, then went AWOL)
Dick Cheney (deferments, said he had “other priorities”)
John Ashcroft (seven deferments to teach business)
Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (avoided the draft)
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (college deferment)
Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (avoided the draft) … and many others

Democrats who did serve, on the other hand, include Tom Daschle, John Kerrey (Silver Star, Bronze Star, three Purple Hearts), Ted Kennedy (Korea), Daniel Inouye (Medal of Honor), Charles Rangel (Bronze Star), Al Gore (served as journalist in Vietnam), Tom Harkin, and let’s not forget Gray Davis (Army Captain in Vietnam; received Bronze Star).

Republican pundits are also listed, including non-servers George Will, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Bennett, Pat Buchanan, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Pat Robertson, Bill Kristol, Kenneth Starr, and so on.

The point, of course, is that conservatives are usually very hawkish when it comes to sending the youth of our country off to fight foreign wars, but chicken when it comes to signing up themselves–thus the term “chickenhawks.”

Does the president, who dodged the draft and went AWOL when drug tests were instituted, for whom someone else served and perhaps died, have the right to spend one million taxpayer dollars to slow the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln down and delay the homecoming of 4,000 men and women who are serving so that he can have a government-paid photo-op for re-election in which he declared victory in Iraq, even though 60 soldiers and counting have died since then? A convoluted question, but well worth asking.

Imagine if Clinton had done something similar. Republicans would have impeached him just for that.

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