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GOP Anti-Obamacare Agitators Now Compare Themselves To Vietnam War Protesters

A retired officer fumes over the insult to fellow veterans.
 
 
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The Washington Post is reporting that FreedomWorks is having younger people compare Obamacare to a military draft, and like the peaceniks they are (ahem), organizing them to burn “Obamacare Draft Cards.”

I admit that I am old, and oft-times cantankerous, but this nonsense angered me far more than the normal right-wing extremism. I know all about the Vietnam draft. Until the lottery, the wealthy preyed upon the poor to fight their wars. I was caught in the middle.

As a Vietnam War veteran and a retired Air Force aviator, I knew guys right here in my hometown that were draftees and died and more who enlisted and died. My co-host Geoff on our radio show,  “What Vets Need to Know,” was a draftee at the very end of the war, who can tell horror stories that won’t stop. For some pampered and endowed right-wing pseudo “draftee” group to compare being drafted to Obamacare is massively offensive to me.

Quoting the  Washington Post piece:

“Grimes was among a half-dozen conservative college activists, visiting Washington in late July for a Young Americans for Liberty convention, that FreedomWorks taped burning the mock draft cards. The footage will become an instructional video for other college activists who Freedom Works hopes will participate...”

Draftees made up 25 percent of those who fought in Vietnam— nearly 650,000 young Americans. They accounted for over 30 percent of the casualties—well over 17,000 who lost their lives. When young Americans burned their draft cards, it wasn't a selfish act. It was a protest against a war, and the policy that forced far too many young Americans, with no means to avoid it, to fight and very possibly die.

I remember when burning your draft card often meant instant incarceration or military service. In 1966, I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. I was very lucky. Competition was stiff. The well-connected went into the National Guard but we hoi polloi scrambled anyway we could. Supporting the war, at the time, I wound up in it. By the end of my tour, I was anti-war and wanted to stop it.

Back in the U.S., I became a policeman and a full-time student under the GI Bill. I stood up against the war, even as a policeman. What I found fascinating and strengthening was the huge surge of silent support from veterans of previous wars. The WWII, and even a WWI, vets pulled me aside to say the Vietnam War was "BS" (but, like the grizzled vets they were, actually said the R-rated version of the term, or worse). Tempers were fierce. My own brothers-in-arms divided over the right course of action. None were wrong; we were partaking in the great American blood-sport of politics.

For a right-wing group to use callow youth to make light of the horrendous sacrifices suffered by my generation, both for and against war, I find disgraceful and offensive.

Brave men and women stood tall for and against Vietnam. They all deserve respect and yes, admiration. Tens of thousands of draftees died in that far away land -- many of whom most definitely tried to stop the draft, before they, themselves, were called into service. They deserve our most sacred respect, not mocking through political theater.

The cause of healthcare for all is a far different prospect than my peers faced. A walk past a long, black memorial filled with names, on the National Mall, is stark evidence of that. Most of us would be astounded that their names and ours are being taken in vain, and our history callously perverted, to foster a parochial cause as weak as opposing health care for all.

 
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