Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Sheehan Story, Week Three

The Sheehan story now looks to run on as long as the Iranian hostage crisis. No doubt CBS News will soon end its broadcast with a signoff line inspired by Cronkite’s "That;’s the way it is, on Day 325 of the Iranian hostage crisis."

Here’s today’s Sheehan commentary roundup, courtesy of realclearpolitics:

David Gelernter doesn’t care for Sheehan (LA Times). In the Wall Street Journal, Dan Henninger compares the media fascsination with Sheehan to their similar fascination with Natalee Holloway’s mom in the Aruba case. (By the way, hasn’t the media solved that case yet?) Finally, for liberals who are on decaf and blood pressure meds, there’s Ann Coulter’s take on the story.

One of the more interesting commentaries out is from Patti Davis, President Reagan’s rebellious daughter who has blossomed into a first class writer. In this piece, she offers a poignant personal reflection: "During the course of my life, I have accumulated a lengthy list of regrets that I seem incapable of editing down, but this regret remains perhaps the most prominent. It was so immature, so disrespectful, to essentially say to someone—in this case, my father—no, I have no interest in listening to what you want to say to me."

But then she goes on to show that she hasn’t quite learned her lesson, though. She thinks Bush should see Sheehan again. She should ponder Edmund Morris’s reflections on this question, with reminiscences about Patti’s own father.   

Discussions - 63 Comments


What distorted logic.

It is one thing to continue on the legacy of ones deceased child by supporting things that mattered to that child -- sports (fund a Little League team)? education (fund a scholarship)?

But to purposely seek to denigrate the very thing that meant the most to that child is the weirdest envoking of a "moral claim" that I’ve ever heard.

As you’ve noted already:

"Remember: Casey did not just volunteer, he re-upped after the war started."

Have we come to the place that each one must prepare a "living will" stating how the person wishes to be memorialized>

CT...the Left couldn’t care less about honor or about our soldiers. Winning at the political "game" is all they care about...if it’s bad for the country but good for them you can bet your bottom dollar on their self-interest.

As a liberal who supported the war (and still supports it but not without criticisms of how it has been waged), I of course find Sheehan an embarassment.

But she will have close to zero effect even on the views of liberals who opposed the war. Many liberals who were against the war invoked international law. One can argue about the legalities of going in. But international law definitely suggests that if you do go into a place and fight a war and then occupy it, you have some responsibilities not to leave it a total mess. My own view is that those responsibilities don’t end with the formal passing over of power from the occupier to the new local government. Anyhow, many of my fellow liberals who were against the war realize that we have some responsibilities to the Iraqis, and we can’t just leave on a whim. Sheehan’ message may fill the airwaves in the dead of August, but no reasonable person, whether left or right, could take her position seriously. But there are lots of ideological noisemakers willing to celebrate her. It is just that they are marginal to mainstream opinion.

Much more than Sheehan, I am upset at the almost overwhelming focus in media coverage on the fatalities inflicted by the insurgency. What about the extraordinary fact that they did NOT derail the election, and the equally extraordinary fact that all the main groups, including Sunnis, are making heroic efforts to write a constitution, and the insurgency hasn’t halted that either? The fatalities are awful. But these lives are sacrificed in a situation of hope for a better future; let’s say Saddam were still in power--to be crude about it, would the daily fatalities attributable to the oppressiveness of his regime be any lower? Probably higher. And what would eventually have happened when Saddam died or whatever? A peaceful transition. Hardly likely. A bloodbath, probably--all out civil war.

I have stated a similar view on another post, but there may be readers here who have not read that.

Basically, I reject the notion that CS denigrates her son’s memory by questionning the morality of this war. It is a parent’s ongoing job to question a child’s choices, and the forces arrayed behind those choices. Mothers Against Drunk Driving mourn their children, their victims, and their choices. Mothers and fathers who hate drug addiction and misuse do the same. This does NOT dishonor their children, but rather represents an effort to find some meaning in their deaths. For some of us, that means sharing with others the cost of bad choices.

Cindy Sheehan believes that her son died because he was misled by the Bush administration. I agree.

Another service that she provides this country is forcing all of us, but most notably Bush and his group, to openly and honestly confront the human cost of war, whether it is a just war or not. In the early days, we rode along with embedded reporters in tanks and Bradley vehicles, and we watched the smart bombs explode on a dime, and we were expected to treat the Iraq invasion as theater, or a big Playstation game.

Cindy’s message is that there are more than 1800 families in mourning right now, and that is if we fail to count the innocent Iraqis killed as "collateral damage."

When the flag-waving, the posturing, and the hand-clapping and flight-suit wearing (talk about denigration!) are all over, mothers are left staring at the empty room, the empty place at the table, and an empty place in the heart.

Bush owes this country the respect of acknowledging that pain, and the sacrifice that he initiated, but never participated in himself. Instead, he enforces a ban on publicized images of the dead, of coffins coming home. Why? Because he is protecting himself from the valid, inevitable, and human response to the war that he, himself, will never feel.

So, the right vilifies Cindy Sheehan, because that is easier, and more rewarding than expecting Bush to act like a man and a leader, to acknowledge his fundamental responsibility for this needless human tragedy.

Oh, puhleeze, Fung...what nonsense. Under what circumstances will dwelling on our sacrifice further the war effort? I’ll tell you...under no circumstances. Taking pics of the war dead is just an old Lefty trick to undermine the political will of the people. Please don’t make it sound like it’s our "duty" to be confronted with the war dead. Conservatives honor these men (and women), and we do it in a way that is consistent with their worldview and the goal/purpose of their service. Cindy Sheehan (and you) are using them as meat puppets to further a political agenda.

As for the morality of confronting Bush with his "lies" and "mistakes," I’m wondering if you’d say the same about FDR? Would it have been appropriate to confront FDR with the many, many stupid (and bloody) errors made in WWII? In short, Fung, we have a Commander in Chief...you got to vote on who that should be. Sorry you lost, but there is no Constitutional duty (nor any moral duty, except in your head) for a President to accept public pillory for his legal actions as a war POTUS.

Cindy Sheehan can do as she likes, but most people understand that acting in ways that dishonor or negate a soldier’s service is disrespectful and damaging. And excusing her behavior on the grounds that she believes that her son was "misled" is a deep insult to the young man’s intellect. He made his decision as an adult...we should respect that if nothing else.

Oh come on, now. Bush interrupted a Crawford vacation to go sign paperwork to "save" the unsaveable Terri Schiavo as political theatre to please the hardcore right of his base. Can’t this "compassionate conservative" just walk - or take his beloved bicycle - to the end of his driveway to meet the grieving mother of a soldier who died in a war that Bush initiated?? His refusal to do so is making this much more of a harmful, divisive political struggle than it needs to be! It could have been defused so quickly, and it would have made him look like he was a dignified statesman who was keeping on the moral high road.

Fyi, Jamie...Bush met with her before. Most families who have lost someone in Iraq haven’t even had one meeting with Bush. This woman wants two...and not to understand his decisions, but to castigate him. I wouldn’t meet with her either...how you can call Terry Schiavo "political theater" but not THIS is beyond me.

Dain-- You said:

"Please don’t make it sound like it’s our "duty" to be confronted with the war dead. Conservatives honor these men (and women), and we do it in a way that is consistent with their worldview and the goal/purpose of their service. Cindy Sheehan (and you) are using them as meat puppets to further a political agenda."

Are you kidding? It’s not our (if "we" are Bush??!!)duty to be confronted with the fact and the impact of death? You think that it is responsible to gloss over the sacrifices that families make, just so that Bush can keep recruiting kids, asking parents to send their kids on to the big adventure? That is the old Vietnam ruse: sending more kids to die so that their predecessors will not have died in vain. If you ever get the chance, please don’t honor me, okay? No wonder you can’t see Bush for the liar that he is!

As for your lame FDR reference. The HUGE difference is that WWII was a just war. Parents who lost their children in that war had available the solace that comes from knowing that their sons and daughters had contributed to a necessary and very real cause. Cindy Sheehan, and the rest of us who can see Bush for the liar that he is know that 1800 lives have been lost due to a lie. That is the difference. Apparently, you don’t see the lie, and so I am describing colors to a blind person.

Bush met with her before??? Therefore, he cannot meet with her, again. Better tell that to his hand-holding buddies in Saudi Arabia and to the Chinese leaders, to the North Koreans, and to his pal Karl Rove. Only one meeting per person.

And Jamie has a great point! Bush has the time and energy to get between a husband and wife’s most intense, emotional decision ever (in the name of family values?) and to get between the decision of the court and its actualization. That’s how much he values "life."

But, your best argument is that you wouldn’t meet with Cindy Sheehan, either. Oh. Well, if that is the case, then I guess there is no reason to expect Bush to act like a man. Maybe he could wear his flight suit, and that would deflect some of her anger!

Fung, you betray yourself. What you are saying is that Bush has a duty to undermine his own authority and scuttle his foreign policy. WRONG. Moreover, you keep using the word "liar" like Lawrence O’Donnell screaming at John O’Neill (of Swiftvets fame). It makes you look unhinged, particularly since you can’t really demonstrate that Bush lied at any time. Being wrong and lying aren’t the same thing, and saying they are makes YOU the liar (a role I’m certain you are comfortable with).

A "just" war...hmm. Could you define that, please? When did Germany ever attack us? Indeed, FDR wanted to get the Germans before the Japanese, even though they had not directly attacked us. Fact is, WWII was often run incompetently (starting with sending the San Diego fleet to Hawaii...like putting out a sign "bomb us."). And yet FDR is a hero.

There are even people who say that Harry Truman didn’t need to use the A-bomb to save lives. Had he waited just a few month, Japan might have copitulated (Eisenhower thought this). Truman did it to end the war quickly and to keep the Russians out of Asia...it is said. My point? Whether a President is a hero or a lying war-monger is a matter of perception and politics, not objective facts. Given that, no President has an obligation to side with his critics...let Cindy wait until Hell freezes over.

I suspect Bush has more courage in his little finger than you do in your entire body. He is afraid of Cindy...he’s just too smart to let her score points on him.

He isn’t afraid of Cindy, I meant to say. Don’t go making a big deal out of that...I was distracted by a technician there at the end.

Don’t sweat it, Dain. We’ve grown accustomed to your "typos" and that’s why pretty much everything you write is seen as basically meaningless.

Dain said,"

"Whether a President is a hero or a lying war-monger is a matter of perception and politics, not objective facts."

While I heartily disagree, I am surprised that you support this notion. If this is true, there is no ultimate difference between Lincoln, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Nixon, etc.. The only difference is perception? Dain, have you become a postmodernist? A social constructionist? What would Doctor James Dobson think? I may have to tell him, and then he might have to spank you, which will make Julie P. happy!

As for the reasons that justify WWII, I won’t even comment on that. If you want to be associated with the drivel that you have posted here, good for you. Mistakes in a war are inevitable. But, lies to justify the war itself are another matter entirely.

As for where Bush keeps his courage, I think you are right. When we were searching his National Guard records for some evidence of courage, no one thought to look in his little finger. Maybe the Cuticle Clippers for Truth have some falsifed documents that show what a lion-heart he was. Gag me with a silver spoon.

He is scared to death of Cindy Sheehan, and he has avoided her to the point where he cannot look good, no matter what he does.

Hmm, MES, I thought I smelled something, and then you posted! Might I suggest a little mental soap and water...you are in dire need, pal.

Regarding Dain’s obnoxious comments in #5, here’s a great Babs Bush quote that shows why Dain is such a big fan of that clan:

Barbara Bush, on Good Morning America in March 2003:

"Why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it’s gonna happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Oh, I mean, it’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"

No, Fung, I haven’t become a post-modernist. I’m just telling it like it is...one man’s hero is another’s war monger because both terms are value judgments. Except in extreme cases (e.g., Hitler) or when the person in question leaves a diary documenting inner motivations, such judgments aren’t empirically verifiable, which means they are typically used as political rhetoric/ammunition (just as you are using them).

I’m glad you think WWII is so open-and-shut. So do I, but I also think that the War on Terror is the same. You don’t, but I don’t think I understand why. And I don’t think you do either...you’re a knee-jerk Moveon.org hater (despite what you’d like us to believe) and nothing Bush does will ever gain your approval.

As for courage, did YOU serve in the military? We know from his commander that he volunteered to go to VietNam but that they already had lots of pilots (and he lacked skills in the most up-to-date fighters). Pointless to argue about this anyway...as the last election proved (and many before that), people don’t equate personal courage/military experience with competence as a war commander...just as John McCain, Bob Dole or John Kerry.

Chris L. -- I’ll defend what Barbara Bush said (if indeed she said that...news to me, and can you prove it?) if you’ll defend everything that Hillary Clinton has said. Deal?

Dain, I have a very low opinion of you from your posts. I think you just disgust me. I would not want to meet you in real life. You are the most unpleasant person on this blog. And, yes, if you are pro-war, it is your moral duty to be confronted with the victims of that war.


You don’t want to confront them because you are a coward. Just like your beloved President.

Well, I volunteered to serve in the military, but they had lots of soldiers. Pretty courageous, huh?

But, I made up for it by not starting any unjust wars, and by not sending anyone else to fight.

While it appears you would disagree, with all of your bluster and aggressive talk, courage has nothing to do with violent words and rigid mindsets. And there are plenty of ways to have and demonstrate courage without a gun or a joystick in your hand. Dr. King, Ghandhi, Jesus, and maybe even Cindy Sheehan (remember her?) have all demonstrated a great deal of courage. Bush might show a little bit by confronting, in person, actual human beings, instead of handpicking his "audiences" for his pr "talks.

Anna...I think you’ve confused me with someone who values your opinion. Since I’m inevitably unpopular with liberal whiners and holier-than-thou types, your opinion here concerns me no more than a small pile of bird droppings on my windshield...a nuisance, easily remedied. If you have something substantive to say, say it. If not, take your medication and go away.

Fung, you have one of the most procrustean minds I’ve ever encountered...about as bad as an old Marxist roommate of mine. Cindy Sheehan is a proven liar (compare her original impressions of her meeting with Bush with those impressions now...not just a change of mind...a pack of lies), and it takes no courage you stand on a roadside shouting "woe is me." Beggars and lunatics have been doing that for centuries. On the other hand, I do think it takes courage to make political decisions that will get you crucified in the press, yet Bush has done that over and over. One man like Bush is worth any number of the little tin (would-be) dictators the Left runs as "candidates."

And tell the truth, Fung. You never volunteered for the military. Indeed, you despise the military, as you despise the "white man’s" Amerika.

Anna- Don’t take it personally. Dain only values the opinions of those that he already agrees with, and, of course, his own opinion.

In addition, the more offensive he gets, the more threatened and challenged he feels. It is not your fault. He knows not what he does.....

Dain, as for the military, how about you? Have they named any hills or weapons after you? For the record, I admire and and respect the sacrifices that all American soldiers have made. I have never been anti-soldier. Only anti waste-- especially when it comes to human life.

Fung, you’re just sore than I know what you are...a mediocrity teaching at a mediocre school who isn’t really able to defend his own PC pieties. Nothing on this thread challenges me in the least...indeed, it gets wearisome to counter your silly ideas as well as the simple emotive sniping of people like Anna.

As for being anti-waste, nonsense. If you don’t like white people or the America they have built (not alone, granted) then why would you like/respect the predominantly white soldiers that protect it and further its global agenda? I was correct in the first analysis, and you know it.

If being a grieving mom of a fallen soldier gives you unimpeachable moral authority, then perhaps we should take time out from the wall-to-wall Cindy Sheehan coverage to consider what another grieving mom who SUPPORTS the war had to say at her son’s memorial service this past week:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8989871/

Dain- Like your buddy Rumsfeld, you use the term "nonsense" with increasing frequency, as though the mere act of using that label makes it so. It doesn’t. And, once again, you waste your time and everyone else’s pretending to know what liberals think, and what they REALLY think. What do I have to gain by getting on this blog full of political adversaries, and using a pseudonym, and then lying?

The very reason for a pseudonym is because it allows me to be frank without undue concern about reprisal from crazies. And, before you talk about courage again (you still haven’t told us about your military record?) I am not concerned for myself, but rather for my family (a wonderful family!) and the institution (the very fine institution!) where I teach (perhaps approaching mediocrity, but you are no judge, and you exceed your already limited authority to suppose that you are.

As for people, soldiers of any color, and my country, you may have some love in you -- though your language projects an angry, bitter, miserable person full of hate -- perhaps we love our country in different ways. I have said it before -- a person can disagree with you, with Bush, with Rumsfeld and STILL love this country without deserving any question of patriotism.

The days in which anyone falls for THAT particular red herring are soon over.

Anyone wishing to cut through the b.s. that’s being dished up here by the NLT crew like it’s going out of style should check out Frank Rich’s latest column, "The Swift Boating of Cindy Sheehan."

And wow, Dain, what’s up with your caling Dain "a mediocrity teaching at a mediocre school"?? Are you privy to some info. about "Fung" that the rest of us are not? I sense that you’re just bitter because you had to drop out of that particular mediocre school because you couldn’t get a degree in "Rush Limbaugh listening" and you had failing grades in all of your non-phys. ed. classes. Please tell us all about the prestigious teaching position you hold at which top-rate university!! I can see you submitting printed copies of your blog comments when you applied for the teaching job and saying "I think this should show beyond a doubt that I’m a fully qualified and brilliant scholar who, if anything, is overqualified for teaching at any of the world’s finest universities."

I make it a habit not to tell anyone ANY personal information on blogs, for much the same reason. I understand that all too well. But since you admit to using a pseudonym, etc., shouldn’t you shut up about courage. You are the one that brought it up..."Bush is a coward, an idiot, and evil war-monger, a liar..." and so on.

As for being a judge of institutional and academic quality, I think I’m exceptionally well-qualified. Tell me something...do you actively publish? If you do, I would appreciate more of that kind of logic in your posts. All we tend to get from YOU is racist dogma and a deep, abiding hatred of whites, conservatives, and Bush and co.

I’m not an especially bitter person. Maybe I save what little I generate for people like you? My experience has been that liberals love to snipe and, not being accustomed to being BESTED on their own turf (social issues), they grow exceptionally angry and project a great number of negative emotions.

As for understanding you and knowing what your are thinking, I’ve always been an exceptional judge of human character. No brag, just fact.

Hey, Novoselic, I think you’d be shocked to find out who I am. Say what you like...I know who I am, and I wouldn’t talk to Fung the way I do unless I had the bona fides to make it stick.

So, SAY, and shock everyone!

Also, Dain, regarding comment 15, where you casually declared that Bush "volunteered to go to VietNam," please take a look at his May 1968 application to the Air Nat’l Guard. On the final, signature page of the document (page 22 of the PDF) you’ll see the line "Area Assignment Preferences" where the applicant would check "I do/do not volunteer for overseas." The "do not" box is checked.

You assert that "his commander" is the source by which we know that he volunteered. Well, it gets a bit odd when even Bush is contradicting that and admitting that he did not volunteer to go to Vietnam. Here’s the relevant part of the transcript that I just linked to, from a tv interview that Bush did with Tim Russert on Meet the Press, Feb. 8, 2004:

Russert: Were you favor of the war in Vietnam?

President Bush: I supported my government. I did. And would have gone had my unit been called up, by the way.

Russert: But you didn’t volunteer or enlist to go.

President Bush: No, I didn’t. You’re right...


The thing is Dain, you just spew too much garbage for anyone to keep up with - it could really be a full-time job!

Novoselic...you are the one who specializes in garbage, apparently. I was referring to Colonel William J. Campenni’s assertion that Bush (whom he served with in Virginia, I believe) had tried to volunteer for a program called "Palace Alert" whereby Air National Guard F-102 pilots rotated to Viet Nam. He was turned down, according to Campenni, because he did not have the requisite 500 hours of flight time.

I was not personally there, of course, but I tend to believe the retired colonel. As for Bush’s brief statement in the heat of an important national interview, I don’t take that as "proof" of anything (accept that Bush-haters like yourself are willing to use the smallest bits of ’evidence’ to hurt him). He answered truthfully, as far as I can tell...he didn’t volunteer because they didn’t accept him.

I really must get under your skin if you stoop to such nonsense!

Ah yes, the "swift-boating of Cindy Sheehan." That’s right. It’s all just a carefully orchestrated plot to destroy her, perpetrated by the Sith Lord Karl Rove himself. Never mind that her current position is totally at odds with her own prior assessment of her first meeting with Bush. Ignore her pre-war left-wing politics and her threat to Casey that she would run him over with her car if he joined the military. Forget about the laughable assertion that we have turned Iraq into a nuclear wasteland and her deplorable "the Jews are behind it" conspiracy theories. None of these things matter, because Karl Rove tricked her into saying it all in an attempt to smear her.

Sorry, but I prefer the simpler conclusions: that she is (1) a left-wing hack, as she has always been, and (2) other left-wing ghouls are preying upon her grief in order to score some cheap political points.

Dain, you have no point where you reach embarrassment, do you? Now your hair-splitting is welly beyond Clintonian. It’s quite possible that a Col. Campenni witnessed this, since he did "volunteer" for this, but volunteering to do something which you are a) not qualified for and b) when you know your offer will not be accepted, is not very meaningful, is it?. As this Post article explains, Bush was turned down on the spot, apparently because he had nowhere near the required hours. Additionally, had he been accepted into the program which he didn’t qualify for, it wouldn’t have guaranteed he would have spent time in/over Vietnam, as the program dispatched pilots "...to the Europe and the Far East, occasionally to Vietnam..." Further the program was halted less than six months after Bush’s meaningless volunteer. Perhaps he was even aware of this (I’ve heard he had some connections in high places!)??

I would be willing to monitor communications among radical Muslim groups to pick up any plans they might have for terrorist attacks. Now, sure, I don’t speak or understand a single word in Arabic, but hey, the important thing is that I’m VOLUNTEERING. I’ve even e-mailed the CIA and the DOD with my request to do this. I expect you’ll give me some credit for my offer to help.

Had Bush truly, meaningfully volunteered to go to Vietnam, that’s precisely where he would have ended up. I’m sure he could have gone there if that was his desire, to serve his country in that capacity.

Your dismissal of what Bush said during a nationally televised interview is also laughable. What are you saying, that Russert was just putting so much heat on him that he meant to say yes, he did volunteer, and it was just a slip of his nervous tongue that he told what was, according to the paperwork and the evidence, the truth - that he didn’t volunteer? I saw the interview, Dain (and please, read the transcript yourself), and it was hardly akin to an interrogation under the lamps. It appeared pretty relaxed. You’re so eager to believe the mythology that you’ll accept some nonsense about a meaningless, undocumented "volunteer" that you won’t take the word of the man who is himself at issue. Amazing.

Hey, Novoselic, nice WaPo hit piece during the 2000 Presidential election. Absolutely slanted to paint Bush in the worst possible light, even down to the photo of him blowing bubblegum! Hey, mate, didn’t work then, doesn’t work now...and totally irrelevant. Now let me repeat this VERY SLLLOOOOOWWWWWLLLLLYYYYYYY. YOUR BOYS GORE AND KERRY LOST THEIR ELECTIONS. BUSH BEAT THEM...PRETTY GOOD FOR A DUMMY.

Most of what the piece says is speculation about Bush’s motivations...stuff I’m sure you’d never entertain about Kerry, even though he also DIDN’T VOLUNTEER FOR VIETNAM.

Even though I’m sure somewhere in your pointed head you’ll think this is a copitulation, the fact is I argued about this stuff all through the 2004 election. I’m tired of discussing this. It’s over, it’s irrelevant. Bush is our POTUS, and what he did or didn’t do 30+ years ago matters now NOT AT ALL. His policies today are what matter, and while you think it somehow benefits the Left to undermine his "moral authority" by questioning his past, most people don’t see it that way. So, just keep on hatin’ on "Shrub" and frittering away precious political time...we’ll be working on 2006 and 2008.

Dain, I’m still unclear on this subject, so could you clear it up for me once and for all? Did you ever serve in the military (voluntarily or otherwise)?

And whether or not you want to admit that it’s capitulation, you pretty much got smacked down by C. Novoselic. It’s just amazing how you’ll argue to the bitter end, even when you’re clearly wrong and that fact is painfully, embarrassingly obvious.

1. Not sure what you mean by telling me that "(my) boys Gore and Kerry lost their elections." I’m a registered Independent. I voted for Nader in 2000 and I didn’t vote in the last election at all (didn’t care for any candidate, and was out of the country from Sept.-Dec. and didn’t wanna hassle with the absentee thing). Do you really think in such simple terms that if one loathes Bush -which I do- that person must automatically be a fan of Kerry, Gore or any Democrat? My loathing of him aside, there are still plenty of facts to demonstrate that Bush did not volunteer to serve in Vietnam, probably the most obvious being his own admission of the fact.

2. I really couldn’t care less if Kerry volunteered for Vietnam or not. You made a false claim about Bush, and that’s the claim I addressed.

3. You said the following: "I’m tired of discussing this. It’s over, it’s irrelevant. Bush is our POTUS, and what he did or didn’t do 30+ years ago matters now NOT AT ALL." Okay, now while I disagree that Bush’s past is completely irrelevant and unimportant for what is happening today, I will let that slide, but I must ask, if it’s so irrelevant and it doesn’t matter whether he volunteered or not, then why did you bring it up? In any case, the argument wasn’t whether his military service is relevant to the present, the argument was whether he volunteered or not. You are trying to slither out from your original claim.

4. The Post article obviously contains both facts and interpretations of those facts. I clearly referred to simple facts contained in the article. Bush did not volunteer to serve in Vietnam and any interpretation of his request to join the "Palace Alert" program as a real, meaningful volunteering is disingenous.

5. "I’m sure somewhere in your pointed head you’ll think this is a copitulation..." Copitulation? Dain, if I didn’t know your reputation for typos, I’d say you were sexually harassing me! (It’s spelled cApitulation, pal.)

C Novoselic and Phil- I think you two are being unreasonable. You forget two basic facts: (1) Dain knows what you think (and vote, and do, and really mean) far better than you do. (2) Nothing that makes Bush look bad is relevant or true -- even if the source is Bush, himself.

In another discussion, Dain has stated that facts are not relevant to him, and that perception is all, which I am sure, has caused some concern among his absolutist heroes. But, as Ronald Reagan said long ago: "Facts are stupid things." Dain, apparently, agrees.

but I must ask, if it’s so irrelevant and it doesn’t matter whether he volunteered or not, then why did you bring it up?.

Novoselic, I didn’t bring it up...Fung did...the whole tired Air National Guard thing in comment #13. It would be nice if you’d actually read things before you emote.

As far as I know I’ve been completely truthful, Novoselic, and I never slither out of things, although I knew you would accuse me of it. And you voted for Nadar! Man, what a sad joke you are.

Phil...I don’t think I’ve lost a single argument to you Lefties. Bush’s "past" is hard to defend if you supported someone like McCain, but I think he did more than Clinton and ... Kerry, what a joke. As for my own military background, I don’t answer personal questions. Neither does Fung (does he publish, I asked in #24 -- I asked him if he whole-heartedly supported the war in Afghanistan)...no answer. Go fish.

And Fung, you are misrepresenting what I said about relativism...but why should that surprise me?

So, Dain, if what someone "did or didn’t do 30+ years ago matters now NOT AT ALL," then why do you feel it’s necessary to say that Kerry "also DIDN’T VOLUNTEER FOR VIETNAM"? And is your use of the word "also" a concession to Novoselic’s well-made point?

Oh, now in comment 35 it’s "As far as I know I’ve been completely truthful." Yes, exactly, Dain. As far as you know.

Looked at comment 13, and Fung made no reference to Bush volunteering for ’Nam or not. As I said, you were the first to mention it, and as I’ve thoroughly established (here), Bush didn’t volunteer. But clearly you’ll believe whatever you want to.

As for your secret, super-impressive identity, chock full of "bona fides" (comment 25), I’d love to hear others’ suggestions as to who "Dain" really is. I’m picturing a curmudgeonly school bus driver... Bye now.

Phil - I strongly suspect Dain hasn’t served in the military. When pressed about signing up to serve in the present War Against Bad Things in some earlier thread, I believe he said that they wouldn’t take him now, something about how he’s too old and such. I can hardly imagine him restraining himself from boasting about it if he had served at any time in the past, and talking about it like he was G.I. Joe or something, offing Gooks and whatnot. I could be wrong of course; it’s just my suspicion.
Maybe a wartime head injury could explain some of his behavior.

Gee, everyone decides to gang up on poor Dain again, what a surprise. Why don’t you Lefties go find your own page to comment on? No one invited you here and you’re really beginning to wear out your welcome.

I think Bush’s actions clearly demonstrate his courage- he acted a lot more swiftly than whiny Gore would have after 9/11. Tell the truth C. Nov and Fung- who would you rather have had in office on that day? If you say Gore your lying.

Thanks, Sandra. Always surprises me that there aren’t more conservatives on this blog...you’d think it was me that goes looking for trouble!

Eh, look how hard they bite, like carp in a tiny pond. What they are desperately afraid of is that I’ll shake their pathetic worldview...indeed I do, but they can’t admit that. And they want personal information for the same reason that Cindy Sheehan wants another meeting with Bush...political ammunition.

Oh, and Novoselic, why did Fung bring up the National Guard at all? I’ll tell you why...because George Bush ca. 2005 shows lots of courage, so folks like you have to dredge up his past (when he was a "kid") to denigrate him. More double-standards.

Dain- regarding your comment # 35: here is what you said in THIS discussion:

Whether a President is a hero or a lying war-monger is a matter of perception and politics, not objective facts."

That is from comment 9 above.

Tell me how I misrepresented that....

Sandra- Tell me, what kind of a man runs away from a grieving mother? If you say a real man, you are lying.

Dain said in comment 41 above:

"Eh, look how hard they bite, like carp in a tiny pond. What they are desperately afraid of is that I’ll shake their pathetic worldview.."

My sons used to watch a cartoon called "Pinky and the Brain." I used to watch Flash Gordon duel with the evil Emporor Ming.

What I am suggesting, Dain, is that it is time for them to "up your meds," or get that nice jacket with the looooong arms. Know what I’m sayin’?

Yea, I said that, and then when you accused me of being a post-modernist I said this in comment #15:

No, Fung, I haven’t become a post-modernist. I’m just telling it like it is...one man’s hero is another’s war monger because both terms are value judgments. Except in extreme cases (e.g., Hitler) or when the person in question leaves a diary documenting inner motivations, such judgments aren’t empirically verifiable, which means they are typically used as political rhetoric/ammunition (just as you are using them).

I admit, it’s a little subtle and it might be lost on you, but most people of average intelligence will, upon reflect, realize what I’m saying. Let me give you a challenge -- please define terrorism.

Hey Dain, I’m back! Don’t forget about our deal now, ok? Anyway, are you still standing by this "Bush volunteered for Vietnam" business? Just checking.

Yes, I am, Jmont, but I think it’s really pointless to argue about it. As I said in comment #31, discussing Viet Nam is pointless...what matters is policy in the here and now. Don’t you agree?

This argument would be a lot more interesting if Dain weren’t constantly defending himself against one guy masquerading as 5 or 6. (Yes, that means you, Chris/Anna/M.E.S. Your weak writing style and poor reasoning skills belie your many names.)

So, "Not Dain," is your problem with Dain (for constantly defending himself) or with this one guy who’s supposedly every liberal on here?

Dain -- regarding your challenge in comment 44:

I get this from http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/45313.pdf

page 1 gives us: " the term ’terror’ means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against concombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents."

You kill me: On the one hand, you claim and pretend to know that your fellow bloggers are lying, and yet, you claim that there is no litmus test for whether Bush is a liar or a hero.

No, Dain, I don’t agree. If Vietnam and one’s service there or avoidance of service there weren’t relevant or important, we probably never would have heard about Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Sure, I think the "here and now" and Bush’s current policies are extremely important, but that’s another thing entirely; they are two separate issues. He still shouldn’t be credited with volunteering to serve in Vietnam when in fact he didn’t. Sure, it was only a passing remark, but you did try to give Bush credit for that. I think Novoselic laid out the case pretty neatly that Bush didn’t volunteer at all.

J. Mont,

I am just jumping in here and make no pre-concived conclusion. Are you saying that Bush was drafted? I am not clear and would a clarification

So, Fung, do you think most Palestinians see Hamas as a "terrorist" organization? The funny thing about terror is that, when it succeeds in winning independence, we call those people "freedom fighters," or at least that’s what they are called in their own history books. My point was that some words (particularly the perjorative ones) are necessarily contentious and prone to interpretation. According to that definition, I guess national-states can’t engage in "terrorism." What a laugh!

Jmont...there is a credible source that states Bush tried to volunteer for a rotation in Viet Nam under a specific program. That’s what I stated and I don’t think anyone has disputed this with credible counter-evidence. Even if it weren’t true, how would it affect current policy? Lay that out for me...according to Fung I’m an idiot.

Dear ...,

Please read some of the comments that have already been posted. Bush volunteered to join the Air National Guard, but he explicitly did NOT volunteer for overseas duty. See Novoselic’s comment #27 - he gives a link to the pertinent document, where Bush signed up, with that one big qualification.

Didn’t comment #30 cover that about his volunteering? He didn’t meet the minimum qualifications to participate, so he wasn’t really eligible to volunteer. The Post article explains that. Plus, if he really did volunteer to serve in Vietnam, why wouldn’t he have mentioned this when Russert interviewed him and asked him about his military service, and whether he volunteered or not? I think Bush’s enlistment documents and his own admission in that interview that he didn’t volunteer are "credible counter-evidence," aren’t they? Dain, you ought to just say "Ok, he didn’t volunteer for Vietnam." and then move on. That’s what I’m doing. See you in another thread!

"So, Fung, do you think most Palestinians see Hamas as a "terrorist" organization? The funny thing about terror is that, when it succeeds in winning independence, we call those people "freedom fighters," or at least that’s what they are called in their own history books. My point was that some words (particularly the perjorative ones) are necessarily contentious and prone to interpretation. According to that definition, I guess national-states can’t engage in "terrorism." What a laugh!"

This is pretty perspicacious stuff, Dain. The difference between your scenario and mine, however, is that GWB and I are supposed to be on the same side. So, a better example would be if two readers of Thomas paine’s "Common Sense" could agree that Benedict Arnold was a traitor.

There is a HUGE difference between rewriting history (lying is not lying) and winding up on opposite ends of it (we lost the War over States’ Rights vs we won the Civil War.)

And, if you don’t like the distinctions provided by U.S. State Department, then write to them and tell them how funny you think they are.

What I asked you, Jmont, was how this bit of history influences current policy. Why are you evading that question? Could it be because it’s utterly irrelevant (accept as a rather weak and ineffective way of undermining Bush’s foreign policy)? Why can’t you folks just admit that IT DOESN’T MATTER.

I think you miss my point altogether. Try again.

P.S. Since I don’t really think you and GWB are actually on the same side, then I think the example is a good one.

That’s right -- to dislike, or disagree with one’s president is to be unpatriotic. So, you were unpatriotic during the Clinton years?

I don’t miss your point, and it is not worth a second look.

Dain, I have not been "evading" your question that you repeated in #55. I addressed it in #50. I said, "Sure, I think the "here and now" and Bush’s current policies are extremely important, but that’s another thing entirely; they are two separate issues." And, just to be crystal clear, I meant that his current policies and his military service are two separate issues. I have not claimed that his military service (esp. the specific point that he didn’t volunteer to go to Vietnam) influences current policy. Dain, once again, the issue that has concerned me since I joined this thread was your claim that Bush volunteered to go to Vietnam (all the way back in comment 15). That’s a false claim.

In question #54, I asked you "Didn’t comment #30 cover that about his volunteering?" I’m not going to accuse you of evading that question, but I’d appreciate your answer.

Now, darnit Dain, you sucked me back onto this thread when I didn’t wanna come back. I still think you should ’fess up and admit that Bush never volunteered to go to Vietnam.

Sorry, it is always your choice to stay or go. You say he never volunteered to go to Viet Nam. Is Col. Campenni (Rt.) therefore a liar? According to Campenni (and Bush) at one point he was willing to go to Viet Nam under a specific program. I wasn’t there...neither were you. How do you KNOW that he didn’t? He volunteered, they turned him down. He didn’t make a big deal about it at the time, suggesting that this was sincere (why else do it?). But I can’t be proof positive about it, and neither can you or Fung.

Besides, it doesn’t matter. Really, it doesn’t. If he HAD gone to Viet Nam it wouldn’t matter in the current situation. Can ANY of you explain why anyone should care about what Bush did or didn’t do 30+ years ago from a policy point of view? As I recall, you folks were saying the same thing about Clinton and his capers...they didn’t matter. Remember?

I’m done here...not one of you is listening or willing to say anything that doesn’t follow the Moveon.org party line. You are wasting my time (and NLT’s archive space).

Comment 52 by J Montgomery

Dear ...,
Please read some of the comments that have already been posted. Bush volunteered to join the Air National Guard, but he explicitly did NOT volunteer for overseas duty. See Novoselic’s comment #27 - he gives a link to the pertinent document, where Bush signed up, with that one big qualification.

Thanks J. Mont. I just didn’t have the time to read them all.

All of the talk regarding Sheehan and the appropriateness of her anger reminded me of this old comment from David Frisk. He was talking about Sen. Durbin’s citing from an FBI report and declaring that some of the activities at Gitmo were beneath Americans, and calling for Durbin’s (political) head, but I think his concept can be applied more generally, especially since it’s becoming increasingly clear that the Bush White House is not part of the reality-based community:

"There are times when one cannot think coherently WITHOUT anger. Outrages like this MUST be met with anger, or our intellectual processes are out of touch with reality, and thus inadequate."

Of course, the comparison only goes so far, since no one died because of Durbin’s citation of the FBI report, but we have lost a lot of soldiers because of Saddam’s huge cache of WMDs...

He was talking about Sen. Durbin’s citing from an FBI report and declaring that some of the activities at Gitmo were beneath Americans,

Are you joking? I am pretty sure Durbin called American soldiers Nazis and compared our detention centers to gulags. And you have the gall the claim Bush is not part of the "reality-based community"?

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