Romney’s (non) military record faces new scrutiny
By STEVE PEOPLESOn a stage crowded with war heroes, Mitt Romney recently praised the sacrifice “of the great men and women of every generation who serve in our armed services.”It is a sacrifice the Republican presidential candidate did not make.Though an early supporter of the Vietnam War, Romney avoided military service at the height of the fighting after high school by seeking and receiving four draft deferments, according to Selective Service records. They included college deferments and a 31-month stretch as a “minister of religion” in France, a classification for Mormon missionaries that the church at the time feared was being overused. The country was cutting troop levels by the time he became eligible for the draft, and his lottery number was not called.President Barack Obama, Romney’s opponent in this year’s campaign, did not serve in the military either. The Democrat, 50, was a child during the Vietnam conflict and did not enlist when he was older.But because Romney, now 65, was of draft age during Vietnam, his military background — or, rather, his lack of one — is facing new scrutiny as he courts veterans and makes his case to the nation to be commander in chief. He’s also intensified his criticism lately of Obama’s plans to scale back the nation’s military commitments abroad, suggesting that Romney would pursue an aggressive foreign policy as president that could involve U.S. troops.A look at Romney’s relationship with Vietnam offers a window into a 1960s world that allowed him to avoid combat as fighting peaked. His story also demonstrates his commitment to the Mormon Church, which he rarely discusses publicly but which helped shape his life.Romney’s recollection of his Vietnam-era decisions has evolved in the decades since, particularly as his presidential ambitions became clear.He said in 2007 — his first White House bid under way — that he had “longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam.” But his actions, Selective Service records and previous statements show little interest in joining a conflict that ultimately claimed more than 58,000 American lives.
“He didn’t have the courage to go. He didn’t feel it was important enough to him to serve his country at a time of war,” said Jon Soltz, who served two Army tours in Iraq and is the chairman of the left-leaning veterans group VoteVets.org.Critics note that the candidate is among three generations of Romneys — including his father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, and five sons — who were of military age during armed conflicts but did not serve.
I love how when the remarks come out of WILLARD’S MOUTH, somehow, it’s taken out of context. No, his remarks are symptomatic of Willard’s sense of entitlement that reeks from the man at every pore.
Next, from Lawrence O’Donnell