This Vet Not For Romney

This Vet Not For Romney

1915
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Vietnam was Romney’s war and mine.  Over 58,200 American men and women died there, and another 304,000 were wounded.  I went and experienced firsthand the sobering reality of combat.    I’m contemptuous of those who sat out Vietnam, but now find the backbone to urge U.S. military entanglements and war at the expense of others’ sons and daughters.  Among these “Chickenhawks” is Mitt Romney.

Twenty-seven million were eligible for military service between 1964 and 1973; 8.4 million served on active duty, and 2.6 million served in Vietnam.  1.8 million were drafted into active Army or Marine Corps duty.

Roughly half all eligible men, including Mitt, avoided military service through college draft deferments.  Many men now aged 58-71 with advanced degrees sat out the war.  That they could was deemed acceptable by a horribly unfair draft law designed to disadvantage poorer Americans. What made Mitt’s draft avoidance remarkable was that he publicly picketed against anti-war protesters in May 1966, while on his first college deferment.

Three months later he was in France doing Mormon missionary work and avoiding the draft through a controversial interpretation of a “minister of religion” deferment granted only to Mormons.  Mitt said his 30 months in France were rough duty, but had time to send an extraordinary Valentine in 1968, a year in which 16,592 Americans — an average of 47 per day — died.

33,888 Americans died during the 1966-1968 period encompassing Mitt’s stay in France.

Mitt finished college using two additional deferments, for a total of four, allowing him to avoid the most dangerous 5½ years of Vietnam.  He never served a day, in keeping with an unbroken Romney family tradition spanning six generations and 171 years of, mostly continuous, U.S. residence.

Most of the 15 million who avoided military service through deferments were understandably afraid of dying or being maimed.  But Mitt later attempted to convince the American electorate that he wished he had served.  During his 2007 presidential run, Mitt claimed that while he was in France, “I was supportive of my country, I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there, and in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam.”  Trust me, he could have gone.

While I believe Romney’s history marks him as a hypocrite, my greatest fear is the damage he could inflict as a Chickenhawk commander-in-chief.

“Chickenhawks” avoid military service, and then later talk tough about the necessity of using military force.  The truly dangerous among them are those in positions of power.  Think Bush and Cheney, who, relying on “bad intelligence” invaded Iraq at a cost of 4,409 American lives and 32,000 wounded.

Romney, who has surrounded himself with Bush’s Neoconservative, draft-avoiding advisors, has said taking our troops from Iraq was “tragic” (4,409 dead Americans not enough?) and wants to leave them in Afghanistan indefinitely (2,100 Americans killed, 17,600 wounded!).  He wants to be tougher than Obama with Libya, Syria, Russia and China and would outsource the decision for a U.S. attack on Iran to the Israelis.  Dangerous talk by a man who ran from his war and whose five sons, he believes, “serve” by trying to get him in the White House.

Obama was 11 when we pulled out of Vietnam and had no draft or war to avoid.  He ordered the gutsy mission that killed Bin Laden, eliminated most Al-Qaida leadership (our initial goal), timely removed our combat forces from Iraq, is withdrawing our over-extended forces from Afghanistan and is conservative, yet forceful in his dealings with other nations.  He has been CINC for almost four years and is unlikely to engage us in warfare when negotiations will suffice.  And, unlike Romney, he has no need to compensate for an ignominious past.

 

 

Twomey, a 64-year old Tallahassee lawyer, served four years on active duty, including commanding an artillery battery in Vietnam.  He retired from the Army Reserves as a Lieutenant Colonel.  His awards include the Bronze Star Medal with “V” Device.  He has two sons in active Navy service, the elder who has served combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I was under the impression that one who shows shameful, disgraceful fear; a person who lacks courage in facing danger, difficulty, opposition or pain; a timid or easily intimidated person, is the definition of a “coward”. How enlightened I have become, after reading this article, that this is actually the definition of a “minister of religion”. Mitt Romney exemplifies all of these traits. A spineless man who would not serve his country and yet seeks (and has tried to buy) the highest position in this country. Doesn’t really make sense, does it? This is what is most troubling, while he was lollygagging around France this country lost close to 34,000 brave young men and women. Any of whom may have gone on to be President of the United States with the experience and knowledge that comes from seeing the devastation and destruction of a war first hand. And, I daresay, would restrain from whimsically sending any child to their death, for their own self-serving reasons and not in the interest of our Country or its Citizens.

    Mitt Romney has shown us time and again that he has no allegiance to the United States. His allegiance is to himself, his family, and his mockery of a church. The 34,000 that paid the highest price were of no consequence to him. And if elected President, would still have the same idea that people are dispensable as long as he and his cronies are lining their pocketbooks. The proof in this is the fact that in all his attempts in trying to obtain a higher rank in a political office, he has never once visited troops overseas. He has never visited a Veteran’s hospital. On the other hand, President Obama spent time and put his life at risk visiting these troops while he was still a U. S. Senator and has visited Troops in hospitals here in the U.S. and abroad. He was one of only two Democrat Senators that voted against sending Troops into Iraq. This action proved that he would not lightly send our young people to a war unless it was a last resort. And he surely would not send them unless our Country or Citizens were threatened. This was not the case in Iraq. President Obama had the foresight and knowledge to vote “nay” to a war he knew was going to be nothing more than a slaughter of innocent people on both sides. And the payoff, nothing more than financially aiding George Bush and Dick Cheney. Like Bush and Cheney, Troops are nothing but a means to an end for Mitt Romney. The means being people’s lives. The end, adding to Romney’s already obscene amount of wealth.

    That being said, I applaud you, sir. You are among the bravest. Consider yourself a man with character, integrity, compassion and patriotism. These are traits that Mitt Romney will never possess for they are traits that hold no dollar value but are worth much more because of their moral value. You are the true hero. Let’s do everything we can to keep this “coward” or “minister of religion”, whichever you prefer, out of the White House. It is more deserving of a person like Obama, a man with values and like you sir, a true patriot of these United States.

  2. Good morning as I read this article my eyes are fill with tears and my heart with sorrow.. My name is Willie D. Montgomery. I seved with the the 101st Airborne Divison, Charlie Company 2nd 501st. I serve during the Tet offense of 1968. I was in Hue when it came under attack from the NVA. Our cause was just. The 2nd Brigade had 551 good men killed in action. It is my opinion that every male born in this great country The United States of America should be obligated to serve and defend this great Country. As a 19 year old young man I accepted my oportunity to serve and defend. I served with honor and dignity. At 19 I was a squad leader and later served as acting platoon sergeant of 3 platoon. I had ten men killied under my direct command. It is 44 years later and I see their faces everyday I still wonder if I made the right decision that lead to their death. I do know one thing we all had a purpose and that was to serve and defend this Great Country. As I write this it has nothing to do with party affiliation. I have great respect for Congressman Nugent who served his Country well. Congressman Nugent also have three boys that who are currently in the Military. Congressman Nugent has the best interest at heart of the brave men that serve this Country and communicate with the Veatrans regardless of their party affliiation. I say this because Congressman Nugent is a Republican. I also voted for the Bush and will vote for Jeb is he elect to run for President in 2016. it has nothing to do with the party but the man in which we think is best to serve this Great Country.
    I have absolutely have no respect for Draft Dodgers. Ali was a great fighter but and that he was a draft dodger I don’t think he is a great American. I have No Respect for Mitt Romney. I often wonder how would Mitt feel greeting a fallen solider as his casket is being taken off a plane when he avoided his obligation to serve. How would he feel going to the battlefield to salute the men of battle when he has no idea of the pains of war. Mitt is a politician that speak out of both side of his head. I hope that America is listen.
    I served with the greatest of the great. I had the pleasure of serving with two recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. The recipient were Sgt Hooper and Sgt. Simms and I know their service were not in vain. I was awarded 5 Bronze Stars for Valor, the Purple Heart and was verbal awarded the DSC in which I never received. I suffer from Chronic PTSD, still have nightmares and flashback. My family have sufer due to my illness. My point is with all the pain and suffering I would do it again. God Bless those that gave their all. My Prayers are continuous with their families. My grandson Willie Searcy has just returned from his second deployment I am proud of him. I wonder if any of Mitt five sons have seved.

    This Vet is not for Mitt Romney. It is my hope that we will continue to pray for our Troops. God Bless these United States of America. As we use to say in the Geronimo Battalion Follow me. Lets go forward America. Follow and support President Obama for four more years. Airborne and God Bless.

    This Vet is not for Mitt Romney.

  3. Not everyone went to Vietnam by choice, I was drafted and sent there.

    My opinions of the war really didn’t matter once I was in-country. Some of my friends avoided military service via exemptions to the draft, or other means. I bear them no ill will.

    On the other hand to take multiple deferments to avoid any national service, and THEN years later to become a proponent of military solutions–employing those who serve–to a variety of problems is beyond disingenuous. It is the moral equivalent of a hemophiliac screaming for blood at a football game.

    How can he not feel shame in the presence of those who did what he would not?

  4. Dear Colonel Twomey,

    My son Zachary Fini, who serves in the Navy with your son, just sent me your Op Ed about our still potential CINC Mitt Romney.

    Just a bit younger than you, I served in the US Army as an Artillery Officer from 1973-to 1982. I was in the first military lottery and my number was 331, so the probability of me getting drafted was very low. Instead I opted to sign my ROTC contract regardless, and serve proudly, with the potential of going to Viet Nam. While I didn’t go there, I have two dear friends whose names are on the VietNam Memorial Wall in Washington, and I weep every time I go to see their names.

    I agree 100% with your OpEd, and I believe our military has suffered greatly as a result of repealing the draft. When I served,, enlisted as well as officer ranks were a great cross section of educated, worldly and competent people from all over the US. Today, most are recruited from the poorest areas of the country and don’t seem to be as qualified as those under the prior draft conditions. We also don’t provice any reasons for our offspring to serve their country, which I think is a necessity. Serving as a missionary in France for the Mormon Religion is hardly a way of serving our country.

    My son Zachary is currently and 0-2 flight officer at Whidbey Island Washington, and his older brother Jonathan is an E6 in the Navy with a rate of Master at Arms currently serving in Guam. My oldest son Matthew has never been in the Military.

    Thank you for your service, and for eloquently writing the OpEd that clearly presents the facts and the ignorance of those in charge or potentially in charge. I hope to shake your hand in person someday.

    Sincerely,
    Harry Fini
    HarryFini@aol.com

  5. May I just say what a relief to find somebody that actually understands
    what they are talking about on the web. You actually know how to bring an issue to light and make it important.

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