The Romney Five Brothers

September 22, 2007 at 7:46 am | Posted in Mit Romney, Mitt Romney | 24 Comments

Ah, true service for your country…

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  1. And you? In which branch of the armed services did you serve?

  2. heh, Brian. I did not serve in any branch of the military. But I don’t go around marching my country to war without myself willing to sacrifice for it. It’s not the lack of service that I criticize in both Romney and his sons. It is that hypocrisy, calling on others to serve in a war he doesn’t have his sons fighting in. Sorry, but that is a standard I do have. When I have a son, and there is a war on that I feel my country should fight in, I will do my best to convince him to serve to protect our nation.

  3. So, if I understand you correctly, Mitt should be pushing his sons to enlist in a volunteer army? The same way that Bill and Hillary encouraged Chelsea to enlist in the military?

    Oh, but don’t worry, Romney’s five sons will not be missed by the military if the Dream Act passes. Yes, the Democrats are pushing for illegal aliens to enlist in the armed services as a pathway to citizenship. Nothing like pressing the poor to fight the rich mans war, eh? Didn’t the Democrats speak out against that?

    My point is this: Military service is _voluntary_ and it ought to remain that way.

  4. Is it ethically correct, however, to press others into service when you yourself don’t? Is it ethically correct to ask others to sacrifice their sons for a war you don’t ask your sons to sacrifice for?

  5. True leaders lead by example. It’s hard to be inspired by a “leader” who’s message is “do as I say, not as I do”.

  6. You’re right, Mark. Leaders should lead by example. Which is why I have such a profound respect for Bill Clinton’s military service…er, did he serve? Wait! No! He didn’t…did he? He dodged the draft. 🙂

  7. Ah but Brian, did Bill Clinton implore others to fight in a war he wouldn’t fight?

  8. Daniel, Bill Clinton dodged the draft and abandoned his country (he fled to England). True, Clinton’s avoidance of the draft was not out of the ordinary for the time–a lot of Americans did not want to fight in Vietnam. The distinction between Clinton and that of the others who did not want to serve is that Clinton benefited from the help of family, friends and political influence in his continued avoidance of the draft.

    Today, military service is voluntary…there is no draft. While Romney may advocate staying in Iraq to ensure a positive resolution to the current conflict, that does not place any obligation on his adult sons to serve in the military. I would hazard to guess that Mitt had a conversation with his sons about the war and he probably asked if they wanted to serve. You may see their lack of service as a negative against Romney; so be it. We will have to agree to disagree on that point.

    Having said that, I have yet to find a Clinton apologist who can adequately explain how Clinton miraculously avoided induction into the military or explain the constant intervention by draft board members, family, friends and politicians on behalf of Bill Clinton.

  9. Brian,

    This isn’t about Clinton. Besides which, Clinton’s past failures are no excuse for Romney’s or his sons.

  10. Ummm, ok, I think Romney’s xenophobia and war-mongering are about as disgusting as can be and I’m totally with you Daniel on his utter hypocrisy here (the commercial was hilarious). But come on, there’s no point in defending Clinton on this one either. He did ask people to go fight his wars (Kosovo, Haiti, Somalia, etc.) despite not having served. It might not be so bad except for the way he didn’t serve – he didn’t stand up and publicly burn his draft notice or formally seek political asylum in Canada or some other form of open protest against the illegal war that was Vietnam. If he had done so and made a cogent argument for why the wars he led were legal, or even just publicly apologized, then that would be one thing. But he didn’t, he weaseled like a lot of other people did and never really fessed up publicly to it and then he went on to say others should fight.

    My point is just that it doesn’t make sense to get so caught up in defending someone just because they’re on your team. Admitting Clinton was wrong doesn’t make Romney any less wrong. And in fact I think Romney is far more so, he’s so brazen about pushing not just the limited wars Clinton did but a bone-dead-stupid war like Iraq and then saying his sons are the bomb (pun intended) because they’re running around Iowa with him instead of shooting up women and children (terrorists all of course) in Ramadi.

  11. Who is pressing people’s sons into fighting a war? The United States has a voluntary army. The people in a voluntary army are there because they chose to go into the army. If someone’s father, mother, or both “pressed” that person into joining the military, then that is a problem at the family level, and not to be laid at the feet of political leaders.

    If the United States had a draft army, then there might be some valigity to the arguments that you are making. Because the United States does not have a draft army, these arguments have no substantive value and only reveal rancor and ill-will that you harbor against Mitt Romney and his sons personally, because those sons did not volunteer to go into the army.

    As for your statement that you would press your son to go into a voluntary military if the country were engaged in a war that you agree with, well, that’s just sick. Hopefully even you would view participation in a voluntary army as, well, voluntary (on the part of the individual recruit, and not that recruit’s Romney-hating father).

  12. Roper, correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t Clinton go to Oxford as a Rhodes scholar in lieu of fighting in the Vietnam war? I’m not sure that counts as “weasling” out of the war. The selection process for becoming a Rhodes scholar is highly competitive — people don’t just decide one day to become a Rhodes scholar; rather, it is the culmination of a lengthy application and vetting process and selection is not something that any applicant could ever imagine counting on as an escape from fighting in a draft army.

  13. John, here is a good link with a letter from Colonel Eugene Holmes who discusses Clinton’s efforts to avoid the draft and induction into the US military: http://www.1stcavmedic.com/bill-clinton-draft.htm

  14. Brian, if a possibility of attending Oxford stood on your horizon, wouldn’t you try to do anything to qualify for whatever shield from the draft that might possibly apply to you, and to seek out loopholes and have any acquiantance with influence pull strings?

  15. Brian, from the website you linked, I must say that this stuff is unconvincing to paint a picture of a malicious draft-dodger (a kid with an Oxford future, perhaps). From the “outline” presented at that website, the mundane entries include this one:

    July 11, 1969 – Clinton’s friend at Oxford, Cliff Jackson, writes, “Clinton is feverishly trying to find a way to avoid entering the Army as a drafted private. I have had several of my friends in influential positions trying to pull strings on Bill’s behalf.”

    This just doesn’t seem out of the ordinary or malicious or anything like that. And it certainly isn’t really “hypocritical” because there was no draft by the time Clinton was President.

    At any rate, my guess is that nearly every student who faced the draft was “feverishly trying to find a way to avoid entering the Army as a drafted private”. This is human nature and entirely logical. There just isn’t any conspiracy here to emphasize.

  16. Roper,

    But come on, there’s no point in defending Clinton on this one either.

    I’m not actually defending Clinton. I’m saying that Clinton is a red herring by those who support Romney. They wish to change the subject instead of talking about Romney. This is a Rovian tactic and beneath the standards one like Romney should have.

  17. John,

    I stand by my comment that I would do anything possible to convince my sons to go fight in a war I believe in. Notice though that there are very few wars that I believe in. 😉 You think I would send them to Iraq? Hah! Never.

  18. Well, whatever works for you. I would think that convincing sons to join a volunteer army is not a typical course of action. As long as you didn’t “pressure” them to join the army as you are accusing Mitt Romney of doing, then it might be eccentric but is not probably intrinsically morally wrong. The purpose of a volunteer army, however, is so that people who want to go can choose to go. For better or worse, the people in the army now are people who chose to join the army and other branches of the military; they were not drafted into the armed forces.

  19. so John, would that mean then that if you do not support a particular war, you don’t support the troops?

    I mean what better way to support the troops than to have your sons join them in the great fight against dastardly evil. I’m just trying to pin down conservative thinking these days. We so idolize “the troops” that I’m afraid we’re not really thinking clearly when it comes to what “the troops” mean to our country.

  20. would that mean then that if you do not support a particular war, you don’t support the troops?

    I don’t know what this means. Who is talking about supporting a particular war or troops? This discussion is about a country that has a volunteer army; thus, Mitt Romney is not pressuring anyone’s sons to join the army and the fact that his sons were not in the army is completely irrelevant. Even if America had a draft army, it is highly unlikely that the draft would reach men with families already.

  21. like I said, I’m just trying to get a sense of what conservatives think (then again they aren’t monolithic, and your perspective is your own). I’ve heard too often that if I speak out against the war, or criticize our leaders, I’m somehow against the troops. Heck, even President Hinckley said:

    It may even be that He will hold us responsible if we try to impede or hedge up the way of those who are involved in a contest with forces of evil and repression.

    I don’t know if he really wants to take those words back now…

  22. Hmm, Red Herring or Ad-hominem? Neither side on this debate on this post really has much footing to stand on.

  23. Exactly. Daniel is basing an ad hominem attack on Mitt Romney and his family based on a red herring. This is otherwise known as straw man argumentation.

    The red herring is that Romney’s sons did not serve in the military and yet Romney supports staying in Iraq until the country is stabilized. Romney’s sons’ lack of military service is a red herring because America has a volunteer army, and no draft, and therefore neither Romney nor anybody else can “pressure” anybody to go into the military, except through glossy T.V. commercials.

    Then the red herring becomes the premise for the ad hominem on Mitt Romney that he lacks integrity or courage etc.

    It is a very interesting case study.

  24. Romney misspoke when he said the words that have led to this particular video. He was asked by a woman who probably had a son in Iraq, what Romney did to get his sons to go fight in Iraq. As John says, that’s not an appropriate question to ask in an all-volunteer army.

    However, Mitt Romney gaffed and said that his sons are serving the country (akin to the woman’s son serving in Iraq) by helping him get elected. Now that’s pretty offensive, frankly, to compare their “service to their country” by helping a politician get elected, to soldiers who go off and sacrifice their lives.

    However, unfortunately, as a politician, you cannot make that kind of mistake. It will be used against him now until he no longer is candidate, whether he meant it or not. His sons will be criticized from that moment on until he is no longer a candidate. It’s the way of politics. George Allen had his Macaca moment. Dukakis had his tank moment. Kerry had his “I voted for the war before I voted against it.”

    We’re going to keep going using this against Romney, because it sticks and it will help bring him down. That is one of my purposes on this blog, at least until he recants his earlier support of torture and Guantanamo Bay Camp X-ray. It’s up to him, really. As long as he continues to support torture, I will do what I can to undermine his candidacy. He is not fit for president.


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