Monday, May 12, 2008

Jeralyn's point?

Let me state this: I love Jeralyn Merritt. However, she is just about the most, um, devoted Hillary followers I read often. Today, though, I don't get most of what she's chastising Obama for.

You see, Obama today said this:
One of the saddest episodes in our history was the degree to which returning vets from Vietnam were shunned, demonized and neglected by some because they served in an unpopular war. Too many of those who opposed the war in Vietnam chose to blame not only the leaders who ordered the mission, but the young men who simply answered their country’s call. Four decades later, the sting of that injustice is a wound that has never fully healed, and one that should never be repeated.
In her initial post, Jeralyn makes no argument but takes Jonathan Martin's point (never a good idea, per the previous post) and says that Obama will throw "us under the bus."

In an update, she then complains about his use of the phrase "the degree to which," extrapolating his point to suggest he's talking only about spitting and then calling it all a myth. So she's arguing against something he never said and saying that thing he didn't mention wasn't as widespread as he said it was. Got it?

But here's the part that ticks me off and makes me have to post about this. Her second update in full:
This really gets me too:
"The young men who simply answered their country’s call."
They were drafted, they had no choice. Many fought tooth and nail not to go, including those I knew. The saddest part of the history of the Vietnam war is that our young men died in it. Another war that never should have been fought. Like Iraq. And what does Obama do? Rather than drawing that connection, he calls out the poor actions of a minority of war protesters 40 years ago in his effort to score political points as a patriot with W. Va. voters, much like John McCain.
The truth is, about two-thirds of the soldiers who fought in Vietnam enlisted. Certainly some enlisted when they saw their draft number was going to come due, but that's far from fighting "tooth and nail" not to go. During World War II, over sixty percent of those who fought were draftees. Jeralyn can argue all she wants, but to suggest that Vietnam was particularly bad because those who fought it "had no choice" is ahistorical nonsense.


Blogger Kevin Hayden said...

That's another good point I'd forgotten. I made a few others at my blog that should be weighed as well.

I yearn for the day when the Vietnam War can be fully discussed without 34 years of lingering resentments.

Otherwise the important lessons will continue to be discarded by political opportunists and overlooked by those who weren't there.

5:46 PM  

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