At the end of CNN's morbidly titled "THIS WEEK AT WAR," host Tom Foreman dramatized the importance of the 2008 Presidential election by deeming it a war-time election. He beseeched viewers to watch CNN's Presidential debates. The Democrats aired Sunday, June 3rd and the Republicans will follow on Tuesday, June 5th.
Mr. Foreman stressed with theatrical flair the precarious state of our world, then challenged viewers of the debates to ask TOUGH questions of the candidates. I respond to Mr. Foreman with similar flair and offer the same challenge to CNN, and to all media venues, as I have done for a very long time:
Ask TOUGH questions of the candidates. Not trivialities about haircuts and personal residences which undermine the seriousness of the debate. Be adult. Be professional. Ask the candidates who want to control this nation what PERSONAL sacrifice they will make on its behalf.
Don't accept ad nauseam responses like "hard work" as you have done in the past, making the questioner as buffoonish as the 'responder.' Don't characterize simple walks across the stage as bullying, or sighs as inability to lead. Don't place summations in the hands of facile observers like William Bennett, Donna Brazile, and J.C. Watts.
Believe me, drama queens Wolf Blitzer, Bill Schneider and Tom Foreman are inflammatory and irresponsible enough.
Backto my customary challenge to reporters:
- Who in your immediate family is now serving in this war?
- Who in your immediate family will soon serve in this war?
- Will your children or grandchildren EVER serve in this war?
- If yes, when and in what capacity?
- If no, WHY THE HELL NOT???
I mean, come on! America's history is filled with wealthy, politically powerful families who served valiantly in the military. Even George Herbert Walker Bush served heroically in World War II (or so it is said).
Just the opposite is true today.
Take the Romney family for example. Have you seen Mitt Romney's campaign commercial? The'oh so butch' montage of successive Mitts in impressive knits? The G.Q. Mitt pimping American machismo? The ESQUIRE Mitt pumping American strength? The GLAMBO Mitt, posed and poised toreplenish our military with as many enlistees as he can? Relying, of course, on O.P.'s. Other People's daughters and Other People's sons.
Did you know that Mitt, the incredibly wealthy war-hawk candidate, has FIVE ADULT SONS? And not one of them, including their Glambo Dad, has ever served in the military? Not even the Massachusetts National Guard which has served in Iraq?
This may seem contradictory for a family whose patriarch vows to increase the military, and vehemently supports the war. But the Romneys aren't the least bit concerned with hypocrisy. They're different from the Bushes, who hide their service age kin from we-the-people so we don't notice they're not in The War.
On the Bush front, however, I am pleased to report the contrived re-appearance and Naval Reserve enlistment of Jeb's eldest son, George P. Naturally George P. won't see any action. Nonetheless, I do take pride in believing I helped provoke 'P's re-emergence, having written critically of his disappearance in December of last year: (http://www.commondreams.org/views06/1216-21.htm).
But Mitt's sons have always been non-militarily "out" to the public. As if to say,'Come on! We're Romneys. We're wealthy. Yes our Dad supports this war, but WE'RE not expected to fight it.'
"My sons tell me it's time to contribute to their blog with a dispatch from the campaign trail. Boy, are they working hard - and having fun at the same time! I'm told the Five Brothers blog is one of the most popular features on our web site."
There's that 'hard work' stuff again. Pardon my Olbermann moment, but...Mr. Romney, HAVE YOU NO SHAME???
It would be one thing if Romney weren't such a rah-rah supporter of this illegal, immoral war. A war that has killed nearly 3,500 of our young men and women in Iraq, nearly four hundred more in Afghanistan, and gravely wounded tens of thousands. But it's beyond reason how Romney and warmongers like him can cavalierly pimp a war for others to serve, yet never send their own.
In this nation and this world, a person's value is measured more by wealth than by character (Donald Trump, Sumner Redstone and Rupert Murdoch, as prime examples of wealth trumping character). It's ludicrous to presume the sons of the super-rich would be permitted to serve in war.
Mitt Romney is reportedly worth in excess of two hundred million dollars. Beyond that, his sons and grandchildren have a purported trust fund of another seventy million. The Romney's aren't regular guys like Casey Sheehan, Jesus Suarez del Solar, Patrick McCaffrey, Sherwood Baker, Jeffrey Lucey, Jonathan Castro, Evan Ashcraft, and the thousands more who perished unnecessarily in George Bush's War. The Romneys are special... too precious to sacrifice.
In truth, I personally don't believe in war. Especially NOT the War On Iraq. I don't want to see ANYONE serving in it. Not a Romney, a Giuliani, or even a Bush.
But I do believe in parity. In equality. In carrying equal weight. Which is why I continue to challenge the media to take warmongers to task regarding THEIR personal and familial sacrifice for the war they support.
Of course I know there are stock, pre-rehearsed answers to questions like these in the rarefied case they are asked:
'I don't force my children to do what I want, or believe as I believe. They have the freedom to pursue their own actions and their own will.'
I also understandthat the children of powerful politicians and wealthy individuals might receive preferential treatment in the military.
Yet the questions should still be asked. If the candidates are honest, they will admit they DON'T WANT their children or grandchildren to serve. Which is why they are chickenhawks. Which is why using the power of the Presidency to sacrifice OTHER PEOPLE'S children, be they American, Iraqi, Afghani, Iranian, Palestinian or Darfurian is wrong!
This morning in a pre-debate interview, CNN's Wolf Blitzer interviewed Mitt Romney's eldest son, Tagg. He asked Tagg's thoughts on Mitt as a Dad and a role model. Blitzer never once asked Tagg why he or his brothers weren't serving their nation in the War their father supports.
Why not, Blitzer? It's an honorable question. Why don't you and your cronies do your damn job???
The fact is, absent a pre-existing medical condition, Tagg couldn't have a legitimate response prohibiting his service. Being a father, a spouse, a son, a grandson, a brother, a business owner, a student, or an employee don't exclude one from war. Each of these categories is pemissible for military service, and thousands in these categories are already serving.
So, media, I implore you yet again! Challenge the chickenhawks! OTHER PEOPLE'S children must not be sacrificed for war!
(Author's Note: The Romneys have been spotlighted in this article. However the issue is the same for ALL candidates. If war-supporting candidates expect OTHER PEOPLE'S children to serve, they should expect the same service of their own!)