“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, October 08, 2007

Non- Veteran Rights

He bitched and moaned when he was in and has loved every minute since.

Kevin, over at the Belmont Club made a comment that caught my attention. Hugh Hewitt had a similar conversation a few days ago as to what rights non vets have to express opinions on subjects that concern the military, wars and foreign policy. I am more interested in the general sentiment than the greater discussion.

As a veteran, I find the argument amusing. Obviously citizenship is inclusive and there are no distinctions made under law or in the Constitution. You are a citizen or you are not. The argument also misses an important point about military service. For men my age, it was an obligation. It was the law but it was also a right of passage. If you did not get killed or maimed, it was exciting and fun. It was a life experience that gets better with memory and time. At some stage you realize that it was a privilege to have served and it defines many a veteran's later life.
I do not feel anger at those that did not serve , I feel sorry for those that did not get to enjoy the experience of military service. I fill with pride, joy and fraternity with the young men and woman I see in the airports that I travel and I would not  trade that connection for anything.

Here is Kevin's view:

...We are to believe that the reason certain people are not patriotic is that they were too afraid to serve in the military. Oh really? Let’s put this to the test. Let’s do a little thought experiment, I will put two names net to each other and let’s try to see who is more patriotic. If the premise is that cowards who refuse to serve in the military are not patriotic then surely we will see this from this list

Who is more patriotic?

Dick Cheney or John Kerry?
Rush Limbaugh or Wesley Clark?
Pat Buchanan or Ted Kennedy?
Mitch McConnell or James Webb?
Rudy Giuliani or Al Gore?
John Boehner or Richard Gephart?
Trent Lott or Jack Murtha?
Jonah Goldberg or Markos Moulitsas Zúniga
Jerry Falwell or Charles Rangel?
Mitt Romney or John McCain?
Bill Frist or John Daschle?
Fred Thompson or Chuck Hagel?
Karl Rove or George McGovern?
Joe Lieberman, Paul Wolfowitz, Eliot Abrams, Richard Perle, Newt Gingrish, Jeb Bush, Doug Feith or Jimmy Carter?"...

Kevin, you miss the point.


  1. We do not live in a Starship Trooper world.

    habu tried to make the point once, "tell that to a 'nam vet"
    to paraphrase his refrain.

    While the vets in public life, those who continue on in Federal Service, tend to be liberals.

    George McGovern, Wesley Clark,
    just two of many. Colin Powell, Chuck Hagel, James Webb, Bob Kerry.
    a few more.

    The vets returning from Iraq, those that were willing to stand for election, ran as Dems, for the most part.

    Veterans of the military, not a monolithic block by any means

  2. The 442nd came back to Run Hawaii.
    All Dems, 2 still serving!

  3. For many years, so the story goes, Filopinos were not welcomed into the teaching ranks.

  4. Is there such a thing as 'more' or 'less' patriotic? I mean if you're patriotic, you're patriotic. I look down Kevin's list and I don't see any differences with regard to their patriotism per se. Some of them have got some real fucked up domestic and foreign policy ideas but that's an entirely different issue altogether.

  5. I refuse to call John Kerry a Patriot!

  6. Course I might be a bit judgemental, cause when I think about it neither is W:
    Just an outlaw giving the country away.

  7. Can you believe those two Border Gaurds are still in prison?
    Families Bankrupted.
    Whata Guy!

  8. Sure, I can believe it.

    Why wouldn't we?

    GWBush and JFKerry, two peas in a pod.

    The full spectrum of Boner positions.

    My dad had a partner, years ago, a full bird Marine, retired.
    He said to me, once, that for many vets, the military was the "high point" of their lives.

    Rambo made the same point, towards the end of the first movie.

    Certainly is little in the "real world" to compare with the highpoints of military service, if a guy happened to get a chance to obtain some of the "high points".

  9. Stallone came back from Burma just before the S... really hit the fan.
    Claims it's pretty bad, piles of bodies w/o limbs and the like.

  10. A Revolutionary Icon, and Now, a Bikini

    Forty years after his death, Che Guevara is as much a marketing tool as he is an icon of socialist revolution.

  11. Che:
    “a flower that was plucked from his stem prematurely.”
    - Raúl Castro

  12. Anything To Win

    Election '08: What does the Clinton campaign's use of convicted and disgraced Sandy Berger as an adviser say about the judgment of someone who wants to be president of the United States?

    Read Full Article

  13. Targeting Che
    The big box retailer has jumped onto the Guevara bandwagon, selling the murderous revolutionary's image as if it had just turned its stores into Marxist rally stalls.

    What next? Hitler backpacks? Pol Pot cookware? Pinochet pantyhose? Target gives this monster a pass, while using common sense on almost everything else it sells.

    The firm is not immune to trendy leftism. In its Community Giving program, it has given cash to artist Rupert Garcia, whose claim to fame is glorifying Guevara, something noted on Target's Web site.

    All this reflects an indifference to history. For some real market research, Target ought to go to Miami, a shopper haven that is a place of exile for the 20% of Cubans who fled for their lives from Guevara's communist Cuba.

  14. Trade Victory Against All Odds

    Trade: In Sunday's happiest event, Costa Rica's voters gave a big yes for free trade in a cliffhanger referendum. It was a remarkable victory, given the odds against it. Democracy does that.

    Read Full Article

  15. Jose Miguel Insulza, secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), praised Costa Ricans on Monday for their civic spirit demonstrated in their calm and mass participation in Sunday's referendum on a free trade agreement.


    The statement also called on all Costa Ricans to respect the result.

    The Costa Rican government signed the treaty in 2004, but the nation's legislature voted for a referendum because of political controversy over the issue.

    Referendum on FTA

  16. Good points, all around.

    I emphatically agree with the notion that Patriotism, however one decides to define it, is neither guaranteed by nor proven by one's service in umiform. There are, as Belmont commenter Kevin said, people in the Uniform just marking time and drawing a paycheck. The same can be said for all professions, I would wager.

    How should a patriot, one who believes in the goodness and the potential of this country, approach the military? Another good question

    I would argue that a patriot should value the service of another individual to his or her country. And I would question the patriotism of those who denigrate the military, or demean military service.

    One should never be afraid to cast a critical eye at all things in an open society, but my own critical eye takes with a grain of salt those who would cast aspersions at uniformed service from one corner of their mouth, while speaking of their patriotism from another.

    Heroes rocked tonight, by the way; Sylar is still alive!!!

  17. I've always liked Mark Twain's "Patriotism is supporting your county all the time, and the government when it deserves it."

    Therefore, since people disagree about whether the government deserves support or not, we should give the other guy the benefit of the doubt, and not disparage the other person's patriotism.

    Up to a point, of course :)

  18. country, but you should support your county too...

  19. but not necessarily the county commissioners...

  20. Doug, the answer to your question might be hire the criminal you know and trust rather than one of unknown quality. Which shows good judgement!

  21. If a person is not willing to fight and die for his country, s/he should not be allowed citizenship. This is THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL criterion for citizenship, in my view. Military service should be mandatory for everybody everywhere.

  22. Chowing down some fried-chicken tenders at Skip's Restaurant on Chelmsford Street, Republican congressional candidate Jim Ogonowski explains why his party lost control of Congress in 2006. "We just had more bums," he says in his Boston accent, speaking almost as quickly as he does bluntly.


    Most commentators now see the close 2005 special election in a heavily Republican Ohio congressional district--in which Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett, the Democrat, lost to Republican Jean Schmidt by 3,000 votes--as a harbinger of the 2006 Republican defeat. But perhaps the right conclusion to be drawn from Hackett's close loss is that voters were not simply fed up with Bush and the Republican party, but with Washington and politicians in general.

    Perhaps swing voters wanted to send a hometown boy to Congress, someone who served in the military, someone who shoots straight even if he's shooting from the hip.

    Someone just like Jim Ogonowski.

    Hint of Red

  23. metuselah: If a person is not willing to fight and die for his country, s/he should not be allowed citizenship.

    #1: Everyone is willing to fight and die for the United States. Not everyone is willing to fight and die for the Sunnis, Shi'ites, or South Vietnamese.

    #2: All new citizens swear they will accept military service if asked, or serve in a civilian capacity as determined by law.

  24. Your wife will love that one, AlBobAl!
    ...but you like camping out in the barn anyhows.

  25. Problem is, with dual citizenship, all a La Raza type new citizen has to do to stay honest is join the Mexican Army!

  26. Unbelievable:
    The one and only industry where Mexican workers are a NECESSITY, and we crack down on farmers, not crack runners!
    ...why not a temporary temporary farm worker program?

    Breaking Point in Immigration Debate

  27. US Farmers farming in Mexico.
    Viva Reverse Reconquista! 'Rat:
    You should move up that scheduled move!

  28. BOB W: And I would question the patriotism of those who denigrate the military, or demean military service.

    Agreed. And speaking of denigrating and demeaning the military, now the GAO reports there has been little progress in rectifying staffing shortfalls at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Processing disability payments still takes an average of 177 days. Only 6 of the Army's 32 Warrior Transition Units have completed training for all staff.

  29. stepped-up enforcement that has reduced the number of illegal planters, pickers and ***middle managers*** crossing the border.

  30. Luckily, we don't have to worry about the longest serving National Gaurd guys, since they served 1 day less than 18 months in Iraq.
    Class act writing that one.
    Fiscally Responsible Orders, indeed.

  31. "And I would question the patriotism of those who denigrate the military, or demean military service."
    JFK2 and Murtha filled that bill.

  32. #1: Everyone is willing to fight and die for the United States. Not everyone is willing to fight and die for the Sunnis, Shi'ites, or South Vietnamese.

    When the President's son and down, all serve in the military with the common folk, idiotic statements like the one above, will be seen for what they are -- idiotic statements.

    #2: All new citizens swear they will accept military service if asked, or serve in a civilian capacity as determined by law.

    People swear to all kind of things. And all too often we find that those pledges are worthless.