What about Cheney

Kevin Drum has sort of thrown in the towel on the AWOL issue:

I’m saddened, of course, that my preoccupation with George Bush’s National Guard record has been brought to a halt by the lack of any solid evidence that he did anything wrong. Sigh. Needless to say, I keep hoping that our intrepid corps of investigative journalists is busily digging away and will eventually come up with something juicy.

One guesses they will keep digging, at any rate.

But hope springs eternal: Byron York reports,

“There’s going to be a massive attack on Dick Cheney soon,” says one source who keeps up with such matters. “The Cheney story of deferments makes Bush look like Audie Murphy.”

I would note, though, that Cheney was born in born in January 1941, so he was past his prime draft years by the time Vietnam got hot and heavy.

The bottom line on both Bush and Cheney–and countless others of their social class who went on to leadership in both parties–could have served in Vietnam had they wanted to and chose otherwise. Bush did what Christopher Hitchens dubbed “the gentleman’s minimum” in the Air Guard and Cheney did even less. But that’s what happens when you have an unpopular war combined with a conscription system that has loopholes to let the wealthy and/or talented avoid or postpone service.

The issue will soon be moot–if it isn’t already–given that we’ve had an all-volunteer force since 1973. The percentage of congressmen, governors, and the like who have served in the military, let alone combat, is dwindling quickly. We won’t have a debate in the 2028 campaign about who avoided service in Afghanistan after 9/11–a very popular war–since it is now just presumed that only the professionals fight nowadays.

FILED UNDER: Afghanistan War, Campaign 2004
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Paul says:

    Or to translate Kevin:

    “I went off on a left wing delusional bender with absolutely no facts. I never had any facts, all I could do is throw red meat to the tin foil hat crowd. But I’ll do it again in an instant for Cheney because I have no morals or ethics.”

  2. Am I the only one who can’t wait for the day when all presidential candidates are from the generation too young to have served in Vietnam so we never have to deal with this crap ever again?