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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/30/12

It's Time to "Swift Boat" Mitt Romney and the Republicans: It You're A Veteran, Or A Soldier, They Are Not Your Friends

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Message Stuart Steinberg

According to a recent poll, veterans are supporting Mitt Romney by 58% to 34% for President Obama. If you are a veteran, or are serving on active duty, and you're thinking about voting for Mitt Romney, there are some things you need to know. At the outset, I will state that Mitt. Romney, despite his recent campaign stops at the VFW national convention, his speech from the deck of the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk when he introduced Paul Ryan as his VP pick, and, yesterday, at an American Legion post in Virginia, is not our friend. I say, "Our", because I am a veteran and have been involved in veterans' advocacy since 1977 as a first-year law student in New Hampshire when we started a clinic to assist veterans with VA and Social Security disability claims. In 1978, I became one of the first people to be accredited by the VA as a service officer for Vietnam Veterans of America and have been assisting my fellow veterans ever since. For the past thirty-four years, I have kept myself informed about veterans issues and which politicians actually are our advocates and which ones actually work against our best interests. Mitt Romney and the GOP, despite their blatherings when they are in front of veterans, or active duty military people, are not our friends.

Just before the 2008 election, I wrote a piece for OpEdNews about how members of Congress ranked when it came to veterans legislation. I cannot find the data that was on the web from, I believe, the Disabled American Veterans at the time, but, essentially, it showed that Republicans, uniformly, were not our allies. In fact, when it came to veterans legislation, one of the lowest scoring on the 1-100 scale was John McCain, who has often preached that our VA health care should be privatized. I believe his score was 23, maybe 28. The Republicans in Congress averaged something like 28, while democrats averaged 88. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama got 100, as did the entire Massachusetts delegation. It is also curious that virtually the entire current leadership of the GOP, including Romney and Ryan, despite the fact that they are constantly waving the flag in our face and often make statements about what great patriots they are, never served in the military. Although many Democrats have not served, either, at least they're not trying to shove the flag down my throat or bragging that they are bigger patriots than "the other guys."    

No one with any memory, at all, can forget how the scumbags known as "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" savaged John Kerry during the 2004 campaign with claims about Kerry's service that were wholly fabricated. In fact, I also wrote a piece for OpEdNews about these cretins and, by reviewing Kerry's military records that had been placed online, showed that every claim they made about Kerry's military service was false. Nor can we forget how the GOP jumped on Bill Clinton for having student deferments so he could study at Oxford, yet, they didn't care about Dick Cheney's five deferments that he got because, in his own words, he "had more important things to do." Today, we have a group of ex-Navy SEALs running racist, anti-American ads about President Obama and claiming, among other fabrications, that the President has been bragging that he almost single-handedly killed Osama bin Laden. Well, I've had it with these self-proclaimed uber patriots and I'm not going to let them get away with trashing the President while claiming to support veterans' and soldiers' rights to healthcare and decent jobs when the facts clearly show that they do not.

Let's talk about Romney, first. Mitt Romney actively evaded military service during the Vietnam War. And I do not want to hear that he had a high draft lottery number and that's why he didn't go because many of us who did volunteer also had high numbers, but went anyway. Mitt Romney, in my opinion, didn't serve because he is a gutless coward and he comes from a family that has never served in the military. In fact, none of his five sons saw fit to serve, despite the fact that all of them came of age during times of war. Tagg was born in 1970 and Matt in 1971. Thus, they were both of age when the first Gulf War broke out. Josh was born in 1975 and was available for the Balkans War; Ben in 1978 and Craig in 1981, making both of them available to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. For people constantly telling us how great America is, and how much this country has given them, they sure have never shown us, in the one way that really counts, how grateful they really are. Other than their loyalty to their fellow plutocrats, they know nothing about true loyalty, courage or commitment to country.

The following is from an article on Real Clear Politics, published on June 5, 2012:

"According to the Associated Press, 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, with his first White House run 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.


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.

As a presidential candidate in 2007, Romney told The Boston Globe he was frustrated, as a Mormon missionary, not to be fighting alongside his countrymen.

'I was supportive of my country,' Romney said. '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.'


But the frustration he recalled in 2007 does not match a sentiment he shared as a Massachusetts Senate candidate in 1994, when he told The Boston Herald, 'I was not planning on signing up for the military.'

'It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam, but nor did I take any actions to remove myself from the pool of young men who were eligible for the draft,' Romney told the newspaper.

But that's exactly what Romney did, according Selective Service records. He received his first deferment for 'activity in study' in October 1965 while at Stanford."

After his first year at Stanford, Romney qualified for 4-D deferment status as "a minister of religion or divinity student." It was a status he would hold from July 1966 until February 1969, a period he largely spent in France working as a Mormon missionary. Interestingly, Mitt Romney was avoiding the draft while  demonstrating in favor of the draft and the Vietnam War when he was a student at Sta nford and a member of the Young Republicans. It was shortly after that that his "convenient " ministerial deferment showed up. And, by the way, Romney has also lied about how tough he had it during his mission in France. At various times he has claimed that he lived in a house that had no working bathrooms and that their shower was a hose attached to a sink. That may have been true, initially, but for most of his 2 - years in France, while he was avoiding military service, Romney lived in what has been variously described as a "palace." There were stained-glass windows, chandeliers, a full-time chef and a house boy. As Voltaire, a Frenchman,  put it, "The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor."

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Stu Steinberg served in the Army for five years and spent eighteen months in Vietnam as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal operator. He was decorated for heroism and wounded in action. He is a retired law school educator, public defender and capital (more...)
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It's Time to "Swift Boat" Mitt Romney and the Republicans: It You're A Veteran, Or A Soldier, They Are Not Your Friends

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