Monday, September 13, 2004

A Brief Debate on CBS and The Vietnam-Era Service Discussion

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Someone actually posted a comment below, and I am so delighted that I am posting the comment and my response here. Thanks to Anonymous, who has given me a chance to add some discussion to this site.

This exchange began as a response to the post below entitled "Update to The RatherGate Update:"

Anonymous said...

I didn't read your link. Didn't want to get angry. I would like to pose a question, however. If it was discovered some 30 years after the fact that a senior partner in your firm failed the bar exam but some backroom dealings got him admitted anyway would that change your opinion of the person? Would you consider it fair to comment on the incident? Would you find it relevant to the senior partner's future decision making? Take a trip down to the litigation part of your firm and ask them if they ask during depositions of former military personnel what type of discharge they received. I'm pretty sure you'll find they ask every time. Why do they do that? Because honoring your committment says something about a person. If the President was not entitled to an honorable discharge but received one anyway do you find that to be an admirable event? If the President claimed in recent years that he was proud of his service and stated he served when in reality he didn't do you find that to be a sign of his "strong leadership". Do you believe that if he really served in Alabama it is just some weird coincidence that not a single other guardsman serving there remembers him showing up? I suspect the reason you focus on Dan Blather is you don't want to admit that your man in the white house has routinely ignored his obligations, used his family connections, and lied repeatedly to get what he wants.
10:49 AM

The Hedgehog said...

Dear Anonymous:Thanks for the comment. I hardly know where to begin.First, the focus of my posts is not on how well Bush served, but on the clear likelihood that outright forgeries have been successfully pawned off on a major news media organization with the intent of influencing a presidential election.

Second, as to Bush's National Guard past, I think it is very hard to make any judgments about such matters 35 years later. I feel the same way about Kerry's service records. Both men were honorably discharged, and you're right, that is a question litigators ask in deposition. But once the answer is given, "Yes, I was honorably discharged," that is the end of that line of questioning.

I don't know if you were around and of draftable age during the Vietnam War (I was), but there was a lot of behavior that went in that era that is impossible to understand unless you "were there." Most of us who faced those issues have a kind of pact among ourselves that whatever decisions people made then about serving are now part of the past. (Heck, even the guys who broke the law and went to Canada got amnesty.)

The only, and I emphasize only, reason any of this has become such a hot issue is that Senator Kerry, with his very complex Vietnam service history, put Vietnam-era service at the center of his campaign, almost ridiculously so. I think you'll agree that his doing so has not worked out well for him, for President Bush, or the public.
2:59 PM

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