I think it is cute that Mitt Romney drew a giant valentine on a French beach in 1968 and had someone take a picture of it to send to his sweetheart and future wife, Ann Romney. At the same time, I understand why Senator Jim Webb is so incensed with Mitt Romney’s avoidance of mentioning our combat soldiers during his convention speech. While Mitt Romney was sprawled out on a French beach, Jim Webb was serving in Vietnam, where he was wounded, and where he earned a Navy Cross, a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart. Whether someone served in Vietnam or not is not something I get hung up about. I respect the people who went when their country asked them to go. I also respect the people who looked at the situation and decided that it would be immoral to fight in that war. I am not going to judge people who had to make difficult decisions based on imperfect information. But Romney showed up at rallies favoring the war even though neither he nor anyone in his extended family served a day in the military. I don’t understand that. To me, that makes you a chickenhawk. And I don’t like it when chickenhawks talk all tough about defense and war. Dick Cheney’s five deferments made me sick every time I saw him snarl. George W. Bush going AWOL during the Vietnam War made me sick when he put on a flight suit and strutted around on an aircraft carrier. These men didn’t oppose the Vietnam War at all; they were just afraid to fight in it. At least with Mitt Romney’s father, he worked hard during World War Two to make sure our troops had the vehicles and other materials they needed.
Sen. Webb isn’t a partisan guy, but I can see why Mitt Romney disgusts him.
“If nothing else, at least mention some word of thanks and respect when a presidential candidate who is their generational peer makes a speech,” said Webb, a former Navy secretary and decorated Marine who served in Vietnam. Romney was exempted from the draft, first as a student and then as a missionary.
“This was a time when every American male was eligible to be drafted. People made choices,” Webb said. “Those among us who stepped forward to face the harsh unknowns did so with the belief that their service would be honored.”
But that’s the pattern with Romney. Ann Richards said that George W. Bush was born on third base and thought he hit a triple. Mitt Romney was born at home base and thought he hit a grand slam. He never thought twice about guys like Jim Webb who were fighting and dying in a war that Romney supported, even as he lounged on French beaches daydreaming about his sweetheart back home.
Missionary work has its place, but you don’t get to be a hawk when you chose to opt out of a war you wanted your classmates to fight.