August 9, 2007
Why Is Mitt Romney
‘Defending’ Sons’ Non-Enlistment?
The lead on the Associated Press story told us more about the Associated
Press than it did about the subject:
“BETTENDORF, Iowa - Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on
Wednesday defended his five sons' decision not to enlist in the military
. . .”
I’m sorry, he defended his sons’ decisions not to enlist in the
military? This needs defending?
Welcome to America 2007. If you are already in the military, you are an
occupier, an oppressor and probably committing atrocities at Abu Ghraib.
If you’re not in the military, someone is going to make your dad
OK. This doesn’t apply to everyone. If you’re opposed to the Iraq war
and actively rooting for America’s defeat, you’re exempt. If you’re the
offspring of a public official who doesn’t support the war, no problem –
enjoy your day working at the health food co-op.
But for supporters of Iraq’s liberation, as well as the larger war on
terror, the anti-war left has come up with an air-tight
damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t proposition, which can generally be
summed up by the following question: “If you think it’s such a good
idea, shouldn’t you be over there fighting?”
This is the chicken-hawk canard. It’s been around for awhile. What’s
new, however, is that presidential candidates are expected to defend the
decisions of their adult children to develop real estate or work at Big
Boy instead of joining up and heading off to war. Granted, it was an
antiwar activist – not the AP reporter – who asked Romney the question.
But why bother reporting the answer, as if it pertained to a relevant
issue? And why seek out the person who asked the question, as the
reporter did, and ask if Romney’s answer satisfied her? (Shocker: It
That elevates the squawking of a crank to the level of serious political
The chicken-hawk canard is an exceedingly lame attempt on the part of
left-wing activists and politicians to discredit anyone who believes the
use of force has a role to play in U.S. foreign policy. Accusing
politicians of Vietnam-era draft dodging has been very effective at
keeping them out of the White House. Just ask Dan Quayle, Bill Clinton
and George W. Bush. OK, bad examples.
But touting one’s own war record is a great way to get elected! Just ask
Bob Dole and John Kerry. OK . . .
if it doesn’t work with the politicians themselves, it must be time to
target their kids. Antiwar activists have had a field day suggesting
something is amiss because Jenna and Barbara Bush are not throwing
themselves in front of roadside bombs outside of Baghdad. Michael Moore
ambushed members of Congress who supported the war, demanding to know
why their kids weren’t there serving. Now Mitt Romney is put on the
defensive because his kids exercised an option available to every
The logic behind the chicken-hawk canard is astoundingly twisted. Taken
to its logical conclusion, every able-bodied person who supports the war
has a duty to join up immediately. Welcome to a world in which all the
police officers and firefighters in your town are antiwar left-wingers.
I hope you feel safe.
Welcome, too, to a world in which there is no such thing as support for
the war effort on the home front. If you support the war, you go and
fight it. If you oppose it, you stay behind, read the New York Times
and support the ACLU’s lawsuits to stop all surveillance of terrorist
The antiwar crowd may also be shocked to learn that Mitt Romney’s sons
are adults. They make their own decisions, just like everyone who
chooses to enlist or not. The country needs many things to be healthy –
including robust economic activity, strong families and, yes, good
soldiers too. Everyone does what he or she feels called to do, and it’s
the way, I wasn’t satisfied with Romney’s answer either. He said: "My
sons are all adults and they've made decisions about their careers and
they've chosen not to serve in the military and active duty and I
respect their decision in that regard." Then he said: "One of the ways
my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected
because they think I'd be a great president."
Weak. He should have said: “Ma’am, if you think every supporter of the
war effort is obligated to join the military, then why don’t you, as an
opponent of the war effort, join Al Qaeda?”
would have been a good answer.
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