What's the Real Issue Again?
Mrs. Duf and I just finished watching “The War at Home (1979)” a documentary focusing on Vietnam-era protests in Madison, Wisconsin*.
The film touches very briefly on the impact that was felt on campuses all over the country when the draft reached college students. Before the draft, college kids just protested the war, they didn’t fight in it. To avoid the draft, students were given a test. If they scored above a certain number, then they were exempt from military service.
The students, many of whom also burned their draft cards, protested the unfairness of allowing them an out (the test), but not allowing that same out in “Harlem and Watts.”
So, I place John Kerry’s “controversial” comment and Bush’s response in that context.
Throughout this war against Iraq (or is it a liberation?) there have been jokes about 20-year old Republican patriots who talk tough, but aren’t exactly signing up for military service.
The point is that those hypocrites don’t have any skin in the game.
Behind the jokes is the same point that Kerry was trying to make: middle-class kids whose parents can afford college tuition are not as invested (proportionately) in this war as kids from less affluent backgrounds who are persuaded to military service by hefty financial incentives offered to them by Uncle Sam.
This war, like all modern wars, disproportionately impacts the less fortunate.
I think that what Kerry meant was that if Republicans retain control of all four estates, then the war will likely expand to impact those of us who have avoided the impact up to this point.
To take on Iran, we’ll either need a draft or we’ll need cloning technology.
And yes, I’ll admit that Kerry is not the most articulate fellow of all time. His remarks were vulnerable to misinterpretation, and they are being misinterpreted by a newly desperate Republican majority that is desperate to retain its advantage, and very, very adept and the politics of ridicule, slander and misdirection.
So, I will not express surprise that Republicans, rather than limiting their remarks to Kerry’s assertion, are addressing their remarks only at Kerry himself.
Let’s not discuss the statement, let’s discuss the man who made it.
UPDATE: Apparently, Kerry botched the joke. He said: "Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up stuck in a war in Iraq."
He meant to say: "Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq."
*worth seeing if only for the interview with Allen Ginsberg looking squeaky clean in a professorial coat and tie.