Posts Tagged Vietnam
Spineless & Reckless ~ A Dangerous Combination for America
SUFFERING & “SERVING” IN FRANCE
Susan Cardoza makes some important points in her article today about the presumptive republican nominee, Willard Mitt Romney. She writes today about how he is re-coloring the fact that he used his daddy’s money, political power and religion to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam war while simultaneously recklessly poking the stick in the eye of potential conflict for Americans.
Given that he now feigns regret over not being able to go to Vietnam because he was forced to hang in France and serve his faith instead. Imagine- enduring the hardships of the french mansion and peddling his legs off in his position as missionary for the Church of Latter Day Saints while young men like my uncle were returned home in a box that we were told contained pieces of what was left of his body. Or my cousin who suffered such unfathomable nightmares from what he did and saw in Vietnam that he used his gun one last time to take his own life stateside.
Like others in his war hawk clubhouse photo above, this ass has the unconscionable audacity to make light of his conscientious objector behaviour and insult those who gave their lives, limbs and mental health to a war that should never have been fought. A war that this jackass supported – for everyone else that is. He had more important things to do, a higher calling. After all, it is established over and over that Mitt really is just not like the rest of America.
So when you hear him spout off like some tough guy, remember that this spineless amoeba is in good company when it comes to republican war hawks who talk big – but cowered when it really counted. Pathetic. This all gets summed up for me in the added “Romney liked to dress up and play Trooper” story. I will admit, so did I – but my brother and I were 4 and 6 respectively when we did it and my mom was making our uniforms out of my father’s worn out ones because he was a real trooper – an Alaskan State Trooper.
My father saw many like Romney. Big talk and even bigger cowards. In later years my father wrote many regulations for the Department of Public Safety, including screening and hiring practices. Guys like Romney like to wear a badge and carry a gun on their hip, but wash out of the psych evaluations before ever being fitted for a uniform, thank god! What he did, pretending to be a Michigan State Trooper, was illegal. And not only illegal, but to actually go out and pull people over was illegal, dangerous and a complete demonstration of total disregard for the Rule of Law and the impact his behaviour had on others. It is this type of blowhard fake that can stand before us and invite war.
So, vote for this disrespectful coward you hypocrites! As you sit there clinging to your guns and your bibles drooling over the prospect of unseating our first African-America president remember that it is your children and grandchildren that this puke will be sending off to war – certainly not his own. It is your Medicare and Social Security that he will destroy – not his own. It is your descendants that will suffer a lack of access to quality healthcare and education – not his. It is your families that will see their paychecks reduced and benefits cut – not his. It is you who will pay higher grocery prices as federal welfare dries up to farmers across America so that the tax benefits will remain in place to those poor oil companies and the wealthy.
So…go ahead…vote for this fraud! After all, the ReBiblican machine has apparently convinced a huge bloc of you to vote with enthusiasm against your own self-interests and those of your fellow Americans – all so you can feel the satisfaction of getting your spineless white boy in the White House to do the bidding of people that will happily walk all over you and yours. VERY patriotic!
by Susan Cardoza
Recently on a stage with war heroes Mitt Romney praised the sacrifice of the great men and women of every generation who have served in our armed forces. One thing he ommitted is that not only did he not serve when his time came, he received several deferments despite the fact he marched in support of the war in Vietnam. As a matter of fact, the Mormon church as a whole supported the Vietnam war and I imagine there were many who served from the Church – just not the war hawk Willard.
The son of George Romney, then Michigan’s governor, was one of a limited number of Mormon youth chosen as missionaries — a status that protected him from the draft between July 1966 and February 1969 as a “minister of religion or divinity student.” Essentially, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints re-routed Romney from Vietnam to the south of France, where he served as a missionary. Mitt Romney spent a significant portion of his 30-month mission in a Paris mansion described by fellow American missionaries to The Daily Telegraph as a “palace”. It featured stained glass windows, chandeliers, and an extensive art collection. It was staffed by two servants — a Spanish chef and a houseboy.
As a matter of fact he received three more deferments over the next few years and did not stop applying until he figured out his number was too high to be drafted to serve.
So what he claims to revere now is, in fact, a sacrifice the Republican presidential candidate did not himself make. This was a time where we did not have an all volunteer military like we have today. The draft left absolutely no way out – except for fleeing – of being shipped into the horrors of war for the majority of those who set foot on the ground then known as Vietnam.
Those that high-tailed it across the American border into Canada or to other unknown destinations were sentenced to serve time if caught for draft-dodging. Unless, of course, you were uniquely privilege like one Willard Mitt Romney and others like him. George W. Bush comes to mind. No, George didn’t go abroad as a Mormon missionary, but he was able to avoid the draft nonetheless. Massive wealth and political influence buys that type of protection.
President Barack Obama, Romney’s opponent in this year’s campaign, did not serve in the military either, but the Democrat, 50, was a child during the Vietnam conflict and as an adult did not enlist in the voluntary armed forces where the draft had been done away with.
But because Romney, now 65, was of draft age during Vietnam, his military background — or, rather, his lack of one — is facing new scrutiny. Perhaps if he had been against the war his lack of service would be understandable however when you hawk for a war then refuse to serve yourself, people are going to question your ethics. Yes, they are going to question your ethics when you are so eager to send others off to die for their country, a sacrifice you refused to make in a war you supported. A look at Romney’s actions with regard to Vietnam offers a window into a 1960s world that allowed him to avoid combat as fighting peaked.
From the Political Carnival:
May 20, 1966, a 19-year old Romney, whose father was at the time Michigan’s governor, standing with pro-war University President Wallace Sterling. To the young Romney, anti-war activists hoping to end the draft — and the senseless deaths of nearly 60,000 young American men — should not sit-in, they should sit down and shut up in preparation for potential deployment.
In 1994, when he was running for Senate, Willard told The Boston Herald, “I was not planning on signing up for the military. It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam, but nor did I take any actions to remove myself from the pool of young men who were eligible for the draft.”
He makes reckless and irresponsible statements about his eagerness to confront Iran or “Russia”, our “geopolitical enemy” (in his words) and other potential conflicts. And while carelessly threatening to take this country into another war we can ill afford, in lives and dollars, think back to how he evaded the sacrifice when it was his turn to serve and step onto a battlefield. He is joined by a plethora of neo-con war mongers who are on his current staff who themselves have never seen war. According to Romney today, his own words make it impossible to discern whether or not he is now saying that he would or would not have gone to Vietnam. Isn’t that convenient now that it is history?
In 2007 he said this about serving in Vietnam:
that he had “longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam.”
Sure. Right. The reality of the situation is that he didn’t have the courage to go. He didn’t feel it was important enough to him to serve his country at a time of war… Vietnam was a war that the poor and the people who couldn’t afford to go to college served in while people like Mitt holed up in a mansion in France.
It seems that he also liked to impersonate Michigan State Troopers in his youth and, in fact, a few of his staffers in 2007 left the campaign after it was learned they, too, impersonated Massachusetts State Police.
From the National Memo:
When Mitt Romney was a college freshman, he told fellow residents of his Stanford University dormitory that he sometimes disguised himself as a police officer – a crime in many states, including Michigan and California, where he then lived. And he had the uniform on display as proof.
So recalls Robin Madden, who had also just arrived as a freshman, the startling incident began when Romney called him and two or three other residents into his room, saying, “Come up, I want to show you something.” When they entered Romney’s room, “and laid out on his bed was a Michigan State Trooper’s uniform.”
Madden, a native Texan who graduated from Stanford in 1970 and went on to become a successful television producer and writer, has never forgotten that strange moment, which he has recounted to friends over the years as he observed his former classmate’s political ascent. The National Memo learned of the incident from a longtime Madden friend to whom he had mentioned it years ago.
Said Madden in a recent interview, “He told us that he had gotten the uniform from his father,” George Romney, then the Governor of Michigan, whose security detail was staffed by uniformed troopers. “He told us that he was using it to pull over drivers on the road. He also had a red flashing light that he would attach to the top of his white Rambler.”……..
This habit of lying or flip flopping or even some of the actions that he ruthlessly recalls as “practical jokes” and thought were funny – are all part of a very disturbing pathological pattern. Not only was he cruel in his pranks, he has never, to this day, given a heartfelt apology.
We all do silly things as young people but I would hope at some point in our lives we show sincere misgivings about such actions. Romney is clearly not capable of understanding that these actions even require an apology or re-thinking. We all have changes of heart, but how many times in a lifetime do you change your core values? Apparently the answer is – as many times as you want. For Romney, his ‘values’ appear to remold with each run for public office rather than ever experiencing a sincere epiphany.
So, as it is with most of Romney’s core beliefs, it is not surprising that he has told different stories regarding this time in his life. His recollection of those days and the decisions he made have evolved as well, all in relation to whatever office he is running for at any given time.
The Etch-a-Sketch does not work in real life. In fact, we all know etch-a-sketch is by design – not permanent. All you have to do is turn it over, shake it a bit and you have a clean slate. Yet Republicans are lining up in a row to vote for this man. Have they jumped the shark as well? It would seem so – especially when we are still recovering from the other Frat Boy they elected and gave carte blanche, simply because he claimed he was a born again Christian.
In the real world people who think their values can be changed like an etch-a-sketch have no business leading our country.
- It Is Infuriating That I Can’t Vote For A Fiscal Conservative Without Also Supporting Religious Aggressives (businessinsider.com)
- Cher: I’d ‘kill myself after 1 verse of America the Beautiful!’ (twitchy.com)
- Cher: Romney is ‘spineless racist,’ ‘cretin’; Must fight ‘T-Baggies’ Bachmann and Palin (twitchy.com)
- Michael Tomasky on Mitt Romney the Race Baiter at the NAACP (kaystreet.wordpress.com)
- Romney the Race Baiter (thedailybeast.com)
- Modern conservatives: Spineless capitulators (twtface.com)
- Mitt’s No Racist (thedailybeast.com)
- The Making of America’s Vietnam (wnyc.org)
- Quote of the Day: Did Romney Want to be Booed by the NAACP? (themoderatevoice.com)
- Making a Pitch to the Tea Party in Indiana (nytimes.com)
U.S. eyes return to some Southeast Asia military bases
Jim Watson/AP - U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, left, receives a photo album of his visit to Vietnam from Gen. Vu Chien Thang upon his departure at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam Tuesday, June 5, 2012.
In recent weeks, the Pentagon has intensified discussions with Thailand about creating a regional disaster-relief hub at an American-built airfield that housed B-52 bombers during the 1960s and 1970s. U.S. officials said they are also interested in more naval visits to Thai ports and joint surveillance flights to monitor trade routes and military movements.
In next-door Vietnam, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta this month became the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the naval and air base at Cam Ranh Bay since the end of the war. Citing the “tremendous potential here,” Panetta enthused about the prospect of U.S. ships again becoming a common sight at the deep-water port.
The Pentagon is also seeking greater accommodations in the Philippines, including at the Subic Bay naval base and the former Clark Air Base, once the largest U.S. military installations in Asia as well as key repair and supply hubs during the Vietnam War.
The U.S. military either abandoned or was evicted from its Southeast Asian bases decades ago. Amid concerns about China’s growing military power and its claims to disputed territories, however, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines have cautiously put out the welcome mat for the Americans again.
In response, Pentagon leaders have flocked to the region to speed up negotiations and fortify relations. The rapprochements so far have focused on limited steps, such as port visits and joint exercises, but the administration hopes they will lead to a more extensive and persistent U.S. military presence.
“Symbolically, those places are really attached to a very recent history,” said a senior U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the deliberations. “Part of moving forward with a lot of these nations is making amends with those symbols.”
U.S. officials said they have no desire to re-occupy any of the massive Southeast Asian bases from last century. Nor do they have the money to create new ones. So they’re looking for permission to operate from the old installations as guests, mostly on a temporary basis.
“I don’t carry around a backpack with American flags and run around the world planting them,” Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters after returning from a visit this month to Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore. “We want to be out there partnered with nations and have a rotational presence that would allow us to build up common capabilities for common interests.”
The U.S. armed forces have been allowed, to varying degrees, to visit or conduct training exercises at its old bases for several years. But talks about expanding access have taken on a new urgency since January, when President Obama announced that the United States was making a strategic “pivot” to Asia after a decade in which it was preoccupied with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The administration has denied that its resurgent interest is designed to contain China, which has alarmed many neighbors by making expansive territorial claims in the resource-rich South China and East China seas. U.S. officials said their primary goal in Asia is to maintain stability by ensuring freedom of navigation and free trade with the world’s fastest-growing economies, including China.
But analysts said the U.S. strategic pivot and fresh basing arrangements are necessary to reassure allies that Washington will maintain its Asian security commitments and remain an effective counterweight to China, despite looming defense cutbacks at home.
“This is a long game and a long-term trend,” said Patrick M. Cronin, senior director of the Asia-Pacific security program at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington think tank with close ties to the administration. “They’re doing the best they can with what they have, and what they have is considerable. The problem is whether it is sustainable, and that’s what everybody in the region is asking.”
After years of paying little attention to Thailand, which was rattled by a coup in 2006, senior Pentagon leaders have rediscovered Bangkok. Dempsey’s visit was the first by a chairman of the Joint Chiefs in more than a decade.
Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is scheduled to make a trip next month. And Thailand has extended a formal invitation to Panetta, who also met with the Thai minister of defense at a conference in Singapore this month.
The two countries are discussing whether to run a joint military hub for responding to the devastating cyclones, tsunamis and other natural disasters that frequently strike the region. The center would be located at the Royal Thai Navy Air Field at U-Tapao, about 90 miles south of Bangkok.
The U.S. military is well-acquainted with U-Tapao (OOH-ta-pow), where it built the two-mile-long runway — one of the longest in Asia — in the 1960s. The Pentagon relied on the airfield as a major staging and refueling base during the Vietnam War, but withdrew its forces from the country in 1976 at the direction of the Thai government.
In the 1980s, the United States and Thailand resumed gradual military cooperation. The Thai government has allowed the U.S. Air Force to use U-Tapao as a stopover for troop transit flights to the Middle East. The base is also the center for the annual Cobra Gold military exercises, which started out as a U.S.-Thai training program but now involves more than 20 countries.
U.S. officials have been vague in public about how many troops they might send to U-Tapao or what missions they might perform if the disaster-relief center comes to fruition.
The lack of information has bred suspicion in the Thai media and among opposition lawmakers, who have held up a separate project that would allow NASA to operate climate-change surveillance flights from U-Tapao this fall. Chinese officials have also expressed skepticism about an expanded U.S. military presence.
Catharin Dalpino, a former State Department official and Southeast Asia expert, said any new U.S.-Thai military accords were likely to be “modest.” She noted that Thailand has a history of working closely with both superpowers and would be unlikely to sign any agreements that would alienate either Washington or Beijing.
“The Thais have a long relationship with China and a positive relationship with China, but they do not see this as contradictory with maintaining a treaty alliance with the United States and a strong economic relationship with the United States,” she said.
Some U.S. military officials said they also would like to upgrade naval access to Thai ports. The U.S. Navy is preparing to base four of its newest warships — known as Littoral Combat Ships — in Singapore and would like to rotate them periodically to Thailand and other southeast Asian countries.
The Navy is also pursuing options to conduct joint airborne surveillance missions from Thailand, the Philippines and Australia, officials said. Pentagon leaders said one of their highest strategic priorities is to improve their surveillance of shipping traffic and military movements throughout Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean, home to some of the busiest trade routes in the world.
In 2014, for instance, the Navy is scheduled to begin deploying new P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance and anti-submarine aircraft to the Pacific, replacing the Cold War-era P-3C Orion surveillance planes.
The Navy is preparing to deploy new high-altitude surveillance drones to the Asia-Pacific region around the same time. Under current plans, the drones will be based on Guam, but U.S. officials are also searching for Asian partners willing to host the aircraft.
- Former Enemies Vietnam, US Ramp Up Defense Ties (hawaiireporter.com)
- Panetta Travels to Asia to Discuss Refocus on Region (defense.gov)
- The Looming U.S. Return to Cam Ranh Bay (nationalinterest.org)
- Panetta to Visit American Ship in Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay (defense.gov)
- Panetta arrives at former US base in Vietnam (kansascity.com)
- Vietnam-us Defense Cooperation to Increase (socyberty.com)
- Panetta’s Pacific Vision (counterpunch.org)
- War Letters Delivered After 43 Years (huffingtonpost.com)
- US plotting a military return to Vietnam (fromthetrenchesworldreport.com)
- Panetta first top US official since war to visit old Vietnam Navy base (stripes.com)
Mitt Romney: “I was too important to go to Vietnam”
June 7, 2012
By Sarah Wood
Monday, at a press event in California before the GOP primary in that state, former Gov. Mitt Romney was asked about his support of United States military involvement overseas. He was pleased to answer the question, however after his response, his answer to a follow-up question regarding his four deferments from the Vietnam War did not please onlookers, especially veterans.
Romney responded to the question regarding US military involvement by stating, “We are the most powerful nation in the world, and it is our responsibility to make sure we protect all of our interests both here and abroad. This helps protect each and every freedom that has been fought for and won over the centuries of our nation’s existence. We will do what we have to in regard to strengthening our allied relationships, as well as letting our enemies know we do not intend to back down. We will stay the course of freedom at all costs. That is what our founders would have wanted.”
This very rehearsed answer to a scripted question was followed by a question that the former governor was not prepared to answer, or so it seemed by his response.
The next question asked went as follows, “Governor Romney, it is true, is it not that you had four deferments from the Vietnam War… You have said before that you support war and the efforts of US military involvement overseas at all costs, yet you made sure you would never go to war yourself. What makes you think that veterans and those currently serving in the military think that you have their best interests at heart when you yourself weren’t even interested in sacrificing your time, energy, or life for your nation at a time when it seemed most crucial?”
“That’s a good question, young man, and I would be happy to answer it. The Vietnam War came at a time in my life when I had other plans. I knew in my heart of hearts that I would one day serve my nation. That I would one day hold an office that would help not only our nation, but also the world. So I did what I could to make sure that I would be around to serve my nation, as well as serving God by teaching very important religious principles to a broader audience overseas. My father did not want me serving, and he convinced me that yes, I was too important to go to Vietnam. I had a greater purpose in life. I wasn’t neglecting my nation, but rather preparing myself for a future of service.”
An onlooker that seemingly was a Vietnam veteran shouted, “Fuck you, Romney! You wouldn’t know service if it bit you on your well manicured ass.” To which Romney responded, “Please don’t be testy, my friend. I did what I did for you, and I thank you for your service as well.” That same veteran responded, “You only served yourself, you jackass. You could’ve served your nation even if your draft number wasn’t called… but you didn’t… you chose to serve yourself instead. Thanks for revealing your true colors.”
The questioning was quickly ushered to the next topics of education and the environment. This apparent gaffe was too honest to appear to be a mistaken answer. We will have to wait and see if this topic gets brought up again in future interviews and possibly the presidential debates this fall.
- Romney dodged the draft (salon.com)
- Did Mitt Romney ‘Long’ To Serve In Vietnam? (thinkprogress.org)
- Lawrence O’Donnell Hits Mitt Romney for His Evolving Comments on the Vietnam War (crooksandliars.com)
- Romney “longed” to serve in Vietnam, but took four draft deferments (skydancingblog.com)
- The war Romney ‘longed’ for (maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com)
- Puzzling AP story cites Romney’s ‘military background’ (grumpyeditor.typepad.com)
- Romney the Draft Dodger (turcopolier.typepad.com)
- Will the MSM continue to cover for Willard’s LIES about the Vietnam War? (3chicspolitico.com)
- Romney In 2007: “I Longed to Serve In Vietnam;” In 1994: “It Was Not My Desire To…Serve In Vietnam” (alan.com)
- ‘Nam Qualm: What Mitt Romney Thought Was ‘Tough’ About His Vietnam-Era ‘Missionary Work’ (mediaite.com)
Posted on November 21, 2011
There was a time when protesters were called un-American, dirty, drug addled hippies. They were pepper sprayed and billy clubbed into submission. They were scapegoated and demonized as troublemakers and rabble-rousers with nothing better to do than make life difficult for true Americans who would never question their government. They were thrown in jail and railroaded in court. They were treated like criminals.
Does the above sound familiar? It should, because the current crop of Occupy protesters are being treated in the same fashion as previous protesters were in the Vietnam era. History is repeating itself because we learned nothing from it the first time around. Those with the temerity to question the powers that be are being clubbed and maced every day on the news, right before our eyes.
The Vietnam protesters were derided and ridiculed by the government and media – take note, those who consider the media totally liberal – just as todays protesters are facing the same taunts. But remember, history has proven those previous protesters right in the long run, as the containment policies used to justify Vietnam have been shown to be folly, and the lives lost in that unjust war went for naught.
Todays protesters have been portrayed as drunks, druggies, lawbreakers, pigs, slothful leeches and idiots too stupid to know any better. Police in riot gear have been shown pepper spraying passive protesters and using billy clubs on unarmed protesters. But here’s a story you may not know.
Robert Haas, former poet laureate of the United States, and a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, ventured out to see for himself just what was going on around his campus, and he got more than he bargained for. He and his wife, Brenda, found themselves in a large group standing face to face with police in riot gear, billy clubs at the ready. When his wife tried to engage one of the officers in a discussion about nonviolence, the officer reached out and shoved her to the ground. Mr. Haas tried to come to her defense, but at that moment the police surged forward and began battering the protesters. No warning was given.
Mr Haas was clubbed about the ribs and arms, and received minor injuries, but others weren’t so fortunate. Fellow poet Geoffrey O’Brien suffered a broken rib, and another professor, Celeste Langan, was dragged by her hair when she presented herself for arrest. Was use of force against these passive protesters justified? Just how dangerous is a former Poet Laureate of the United States? Or poets in general?
Our nation was founded on dissent, something people are prone to forget. If we take away the rights of one group, even if we disagree with their cause, we hurt the rights of all individuals in our society. Civil disobedience is a right of all Americans, and, in my opinion, a duty where injustice is concerned. Watching protesters getting pepper sprayed and clubbed into submission should anger all Americans, not just the left. We are witnessing a repeat of history every night on the six o’clock news. When are we going to learn?
“Those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Eventually, the use of force against the Vietnam era protesters resulted in deaths, most notably at Kent State. Is that what it will take to stem the tide of abuse we have witnessed of late? Among those injured so far we have poets, professors and Iraq war veterans, among others. There goes the idea that the protesters are the scum of society, which the media has perpetuated. These people are protesting for each and every American, and even if you don’t agree with what they are saying, you have to agree with their right to say it.
- Occupy Wall Street | breezespeaks (mbcalyn.wordpress.com)
- Occupy Oakland Protesters Gassed | breezespeaks (mbcalyn.com)
- Occupy Wall St. and Other Fodder | breezespeaks (mbcalyn.com)
- Alabama Immigration Law | breezespeaks (mbcalyn.com)
- Why Republicans Hate Bill Clinton | breezespeaks (mbcalyn.wordpress.com)
- Wealth Distribution In America | breezespeaks (mbcalyn.wordpress.com)
- Why America Is Failing | breezespeaks (mbcalyn.com)
- breezespeaks | The Awful Truth (mbcalyn.com)
- Herman Cain, Contender or Pretender? | breezespeaks (mbcalyn.com)
- breezespeaks | The Awful Truth (mbcalyn.com)