Lock and load. And I do mean load.
Okay, so my first inclination was to write "John Kerry is an asshole" a half dozen times and be done with it. How does someone turn a one-liner into a paragraph? Why is Kerry even attempting jokes? Why hasn't he fired his staff? Better yet, why haven't they fired him?
Then I took a brief nap before dinner, and came back downstairs to find my wife had the "News" with Brian "Get the Hell Out of My Garbage Cans" Williams on, and I decided to write "John Kerry is an asshole, but why is this NBC's lead story?" eight or ten times and be done with it.
But I knew that wouldn't do, so after dinner and the Trick or Treaters were done I sat down to take a look at the Corner. And after all of about twenty seconds I made up my mind to write, "John Kerry's an asshole, this shouldn't be NBC's lead story, but what is the friggin' attraction of making a huge deal of your obviously ginned up outrage over your own willful misunderstanding of something somebody you don't like said? It's like they make no distinction over there between speaking to people and disciplining pets. But then I might have had to quote K-Lo, and I'm trying to quit.
I had pretty much decided that instead I was going to ask how it is that Laura Bush can say something she actually means (or, perhaps more accurately, that they've decided she means) which is in fact genuinely insulting and not be the lead story on NBC "News" with Rocky Raccoon, but something possessed me to check in with the Powerline Boys. And, of course, Hineyrocket never fails to disappoint:
It seems clear that the roots of Kerry's blunder--like so much else where Kerry is concerned--go back to Vietnam. It was an article of faith among liberals (and many others) at that time that the Army consisted largely of the poor--kids who couldn't get into college and thereby obtain a deferment. It was also an article of faith that non-white Americans died in disproportionate numbers in Vietnam. That turned out not to be true, and I confess that I was astonished to learn, only within recent years, that there was no such ethnic disproportion in the Vietnam dead.
Which idea gets the official Powerline Military Advisor Seal of Approval from Generalissimo Dafydd ab Hugh, the Audie Murphy of the PlayStation 2.
So, then, okay. I should have known. Let's try this again:
1. The closest either of you fucks ever got to military service was watching shit blow up at the local Googleplex. It doesn't require you to keep your opinions to yourselves. But coupled with your military jock sniffing it should at least require you to stop and think one minute before you slam those who actually served. (The Generalissimo throws in Jimmy Carter, John Murtha, and Max Cleland for good measure, and it probably just didn't occur to him to suggest that John Glenn's spaceflights were faked.)
2. You don't know shit about Vietnam, and my suspicion is you care even less, except when it's time to trot out any of several volumes of Right Wing Vietnam myths. And this is one of them. From HistoryNet.com:
CASUALTIES BY RACE: ENLISTED MEN
Of all enlisted men who died in Vietnam, blacks made up 14.1 percent of the total. This came at a time when blacks made up 11 percent of the male population nationwide. However, if officer casualties are added to the total, then this overrepresentation is reduced to 12.5 percent of all casualties. Of the 7,262 blacks who died, 6,955, or 96 percent, were Army and Marine enlisted men. The combination of the selective service policies with the skills and aptitude testing of both volunteers and draftees (in which blacks scored noticeably lower) conspired to assign blacks in greater numbers to the combat units of the Army and Marine Corps. Early in the war (1965 and 1966) when blacks made up about 11 percent of our Vietnam force, black casualties soared to more than 20 percent of the total. Black leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., protested, and President Johnson ordered black participation in combat units cut back. As a result, the black casualty rate was reduced to 11.5 percent by 1969.
CASUALTIES BY RACE: OFFICERS
During the Vietnam War, the Navy and Air Force became substantially white enclaves - enlisted and officer casualties were 96 percent white. Indeed, officer casualties of all branches were overwhelmingly white. Of the 7,877 officer casualties, 7,595, or 96.4 percent, were white; 147, or 1.8 percent, were black; 24, or 0.3 percent, were Asian; 7, or .08 percent, were Native American; 104, or 1.3 percent, were unidentified by race.
We get all that, did we? It wasn't "an article of faith" that African-Americans died in disproportionate numbers. It was a fact. A fact that shamed President Johnson so much that he took action. Blacks still died in higher proportion to their percentage in the population, even when we add in the officer corps to which they were basically excluded. It was a war which made extensive use of helicopters and of bombs and defoliants dropped from planes. And the ARNV had the ability to shoot them down. And the pilots who died were white, because all officers were white. For the terms of the argument it gives an entirely false picture to dilute the number of African-American causalities that way, but even so, blacks died in greater proportion than their percentage of the population.
And which, one is tempted to say, demonstrates again the real commitment to Our Troops among the White Cavaliers of the 101st Keyboarders™.
And again, if you knew anything about it you'd know this. College deferments were ended in 1968, because of the unfairness of the system. That's why George W. Bush ended up at the front of the TANG line, and why Danny Quayle pushed a typewriter in the Indiana Guard. Because they couldn't just keep taking classes.
Really, boys. You got a mulligan. You didn't deserve one, but you got it. You got an opportunity to watch someone else do your fighting again with the same lousy result. It's way past time you stop lecturing people who know more than you do. And it's time to admit to yourselves that making shit up is just increasing the amount of shit you find yourselves in.
OH YEAH, I FORGOT: If Mr. Hineyrocker had dropped by Memorial Hall at Harvard he might have noticed that of the 407,000 US military deaths in WWII, 697 were Harvard students. Of the 58,000 dead in Vietnam? Twenty-two.