Thursday, October 6, 2016

Quote of the day: Dodging versus deferment

(Also known as the First Law of Conservation of Schmuckiness.)
If Trump is a draft-dodger for having taken a II-S (or four of them), he is among millions of "draft dodgers" and so you need to STFU because you're outnumbered.

The heel spurs letter is more interesting, mostly because of the timing.

Spurs are not permanent and, had the lottery not made it irrelevant, he'd have had to go back to confirm that they were still an issue, but, yes, he dodged the draft, based on one medical deferment. And, as Chris Britt notes, it puts him in no position to comment on other people's service.

Here's the thing: You don't have to lie to make this guy look like a schmuck, and you don't even have to lie to make him look like a draft dodger.

And you sure as hell don't have to slander the millions of us who took student deferments.

That's Mike Peterson, known to loyal p3 readers for his blog Comic Strip of the Day, clarifying an important legal and ethical distinction that seems poorly (sometimes, I suspect, willfully) misunderstood in the age of the all-volunteer army.

Eleven years ago, I found myself in the wretched position of having to defend the bloodthirsty likes of John Bolton and Dick “five deferments – count 'em, five!” Cheney, in defense of a larger principle. Or at least to make sure that they were damned for what they really are. As I wrote at the time:
Claiming a legal deferment instead of enlisting is no more "draft dodging" than taking the standard exemption on your 1040 form is "tax evasion."

On the subject of "dodging" the draft: If you don't want people to have legal ways of getting out of military service, don't create legal ways for them to get out of military service. If they avoided service legally, and you still don't like it, then your problem is with the law, not the person.

And--here's where the trouble lives--a law that's administered unequally, depending on how wealthy and connected you are, is a law worth having a problem with.

Legal ways to avoid service have always existed, often but not always tied to how much disposable income you have. The thing about Trump is that he thinks anything that doesn't benefit him first, most, and – ideally – alone, is for chumps. If, instead of a military draft, we'd had a Clinton-style national service program at the time, he'd have pulled whatever strings he could to get out of that, too. It's of a piece with his stated belief that not paying taxes makes him “smart” – he believes the opposite, that the idea of a commonwealth is stupid.

(And no one asked me, but I have to say that giving Ann Telnaes a live target would almost -- not quite, but almost -- be worth having Cheney back in the public light again.)

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