Sunday, August 28, 2005

Mass. Gov. Romney (R): "No, I have not urged my own children to enlist."

(Boston Herald) Gov. Mitt Romney, who has comforted the grieving loved ones of soldiers killed in Iraq and promoted National Guard recruitment, yesterday said he has not urged his own sons to enlist - and isn't sure whether they would.

The Herald posed the question as Romney - a potential 2008 White House contender and backer of President Bush's Iraq policy - was honored by the Massachusetts National Guard after he signed a bill extending pay for state workers on active duty.

"No, I have not urged my own children to enlist. I don't know the status of my childrens' potentially enlisting in the Guard and Reserve," Romney said, his voice tinged with anger.

Massachusetts residents can enlist in the National Guard up to age 39. Romney's five sons range in age from 24 to 35. Neither the Romney children nor the governor have served in the military, Romney spokeswoman Julie Teer said.
Well, Governor, somebody's kids are going to have to go fight this war. I understand that people like you, your kids, Jenna & Barbara Bush, and Dick Cheney have "other priorities", but until we see some prominent Republican's kids among the roll-call of the 139,500 American soldiers in harm's way, then maybe you can see why we think you tend to like to fight wars so long as you're not actually fighting.

I'm not the only one thinking that, either:
"I don't think you should be so 'rah-rah' for a war that you aren't willing to send your own family members to," said Rose Gonzalez, 30, of Somerville, whose mother, a state employee, was deployed to Iraq in January. "If he thinks the war is so just and so important and we shouldn't pull out, then he should encourage his own sons to go."

Nancy Lessin, a spokeswoman for Military Families Speak Out, said if Romney aspires to be president he should consider the sacrifice made by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the father of four sons all of whom enlisted in World War II.

"This is just one more politician who is willing to risk the lives of our loved ones and celebrate sending them off into a war that we never should have in," Lessin said.
Of course, there are many differing opinions about this war, and of this Operation Yellow Elephant movement. Other Massachusetts residents praised Romney for his attendance and warm condolences at their son's funeral, one of 28 such funerals of Massachusetts boys -- something the president has yet to do for any fallen soldier, despite 1,875 opportunities to do so.
Alma Hart of Bedford, whose only son, Army Private First Class John D. Hart was killed in Iraq in 2003, said Romney is a "decent, sincere man" who truly cares about the Massachusetts troops.

"The governor shouldn't be so pro-war if his own boys haven't decided to go," she said. "... but you can't really say since his sons haven't enlisted he can't talk about the war, because he didn't start this war. This isn't his headache."
This is an interesting point, taken at the individual level. Should a person have had personal military experience in order to support a war? Should a person's own children be enlisted in a war in order to have a valid opinion about it? Not necessarily. One person chided me with "well, do you have to have been a fighfighter or have had your house burn down in order to support the fire department?" Well, no, I answered, but if you voted for the arsonist who's running around setting fires, it makes your support of the fire department ring hollow.

It's not any one individual pro-Bush American, pro-war politician, or chickenhawk College Republican that proves the purpose of Operation Yellow Elephant; it is the aggregate collection of those three groups which are sorely underrepresented in our military. One hawkish governor with no military experience or sons fighting might be a case of personal convictions and "other priorities", but the following is a pattern:
Military Service Records, prominent Republicans
  • 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 Cleland's patriotism.
  • 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.
  • John 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 duty.
  • Ronald Reagan: due to poor eyesight, served in a non-combat role making movies.
  • B-1 Bob Dornan: Enlisted after fighting was over in Korea.
  • Phil Gramm: did not serve.
  • John McCain: 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.
  • 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 back.)
And, on the other hand...
Military Service Records, prominent Democrats:
  • 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.
  • 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 ribbons.
  • 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 received #311.
  • Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
  • Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
  • John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and Air Medal with 18 Clusters.
  • Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul Wallenberg.
I don't know, it just feels like a pattern to me.

[Cross-posted at Radical Writ. Major hat-tip to Pam's House Blend.]

Here's the challenge recruiters face: The limits of parents' support to our troops.



At 28 August, 2005 15:00, Blogger thehim said...

More fun with Yellow Elephants. Read through the comments.

At 29 August, 2005 10:36, Blogger Rejectionist said...

Press Wants to Know if Pro-War Officials Will Send Their Own Kids to War

By E&P Staff

Published: August 27, 2005 7:45 PM ET

NEW YORK It's a question from the press sure to be posed more and more as the months go on, directed at public officials who continue to support the Iraq war: If you believe in the cause so deeply, why aren't your own kids signing up? Most prominently, President Bush (through his press spokesmen) is now hearing it, but it's now trickling down to the congressional and state level.

Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, a strong backer of Bush policy in Iraq -- who has give sons age 24 to 35 -- heard the query yesterday, from a Boston Herald reporter. Romney, who has promoted National Guard recruitment, replied, a bit angrily, that he has not urged his own sons to enlist -- and isn't sure whether they would.

The Herald tossed the question as Romney as he was honored by the Massachusetts National Guard. "No, I have not urged my own children to enlist. I don't know the status of my childrens' potentially enlisting in the Guard and Reserve," Romney said, his voice tinged with anger, the Herald reported.

Neither the Romney children nor the governor have served in the military, a Romney spokeswoman said.


At 29 August, 2005 19:10, Blogger Princess Anastasia said...

Well, to be fair, Duncan Hunter (R-CA) The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has two sons, both of whom are officers in the Marine Corps. So there are at least a few of the hawks out there who aren't chickens. Wonder if he chastises his fellow Republicans to get there kids to join up.

At 03 December, 2006 16:37, Blogger Mrs. Tarquin Biscuitbarrel said...

Just a note that Dick Cheney's FIFTH deferment from service in Vietnam was not granted after marriage, but after married men without children were deemed draftable. He and Lynne got busy, and their elder daughter was born nine months and two days after the edict was handed down. Dick applied for a deferment when Lynne was ten weeks pregnant--still not out of the tricky first trimester.

At 22 April, 2007 12:43, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I realize this isn't meant to be a complete list but two you omiteed are very important players with gravitas in this debate, James Webb and Jack Murtha.

At 23 April, 2007 07:23, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From :

It was a large home in a well-to-do suburb north of the city. Two American flags adorned the yard. The prospect's mom greeted him wearing an American flag T-shirt.

"I want you to know we support you," she gushed.

Rivera soon reached the limits of her support.

"Military service isn't for our son. It isn't for our kind of people," she told him.


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