November 12, 2014

Weekly Standard bellyaches...

... about the Creedence song "Fortunate Son" getting played at the "Concert for Valor" (a televised Veterans Day event on the National Mall). The song is termed a "famously anti-war anthem," "an anti-war screed," and "an anti-draft song." The latter is most accurate, but the Weekly Standard author says that makes it "a particularly terrible choice," since the concert was "was largely organized to honor" those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and these people were all volunteers.

It seems to me that an anti-draft song is a good choice to honor the volunteers. Read the lyrics here. The singer complains that he has to do the fighting because the sons of the men who decide when wars will be fought manage to evade the draft. I don't see how that's generically anti-war. What it's against is a particular political dysfunction that has been corrected. So it's a complaint that doesn't hold up anymore. You don't have to be a "fortunate son" to avoid the military. You can do what you want. Every single person who serves chose to serve.

Now, some people think that's also a dysfunction, and they'd like to correct that by bringing back the draft so people in general would have more of a stake in avoiding unnecessary war. But I don't know any songs about that.

I couldn't watch the clip at the first link. I can't stand Bruce Springsteen, and much as I dislike the Weekly Standard's bellyaching, it's not as bad as listening to Bruce straining histrionically. I have to concede that it's possible that Bruce thinks — and somehow conveyed — that those who volunteer today are doing so because it's their best option in the limited array of choices they have because they are not rich or well-connected. If that's the message, then it really is a rotten thing to say to our American volunteers.

80 comments:

An Anxious Anglican said...

The Weekly Standard criticism is typical of those who seek to defend the military by saying that we are pro-war or something similar. Soldiers know the horror and banality of warfare better than the staff of the Weekly Standard and the song "Fortunate Son" is still relevant when less than 1/2 of one percent of Americans serve in the military. I served 27 years in the military and still like that song!

tim maguire said...

I agree with your interpretation of the lyrics, but that doesn't make it any better of a choice. How does a song that protests a quirk in the draft law 45 years ago honor the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan today ?

phantommut said...

Springsteen is a a political rocker. Meaning anything he does is about Springsteen first and foremost.

There's a pretty great Roy Orbison concert movie called "Black and White Night"; It was a tribute to Orbison and featured a slew of musicians influenced by him. Springsteen did his best to upstage Orbison any time they were on stage together. Totally classless.

alan markus said...

Thank you for your service "An Anxious Angelican"! My nephew is completing Army Boot Camp in a few weeks & on Sunday a young fellow who just finished Marine Boot Camp gave testimony. Fine young men who had many other options and chose the military - I think they know they can always exercise those options at a later time in their life.

David said...

Nothing like a day of televised celebrity self promotion (brought to you by Starbucks and Chase) to honor vets.

David said...

One way we could thank vets for their service is to kill the phrase "thank you for your service." Most vets ridicule it.

RecChief said...

It seems to me that an anti-draft song is a good choice to honor the volunteers.

My first reaction is that I agree with that assesment. It's hard to imagine having a draftee in the foxhole next to me. On the other hand, my first platoon sergeant was a draftee, found out he had a talent in military leadership, and ended up retiring after 26 years.

I'm just surprised they had to reach back to the '60s. I guess Ronald Reagan really did make i acceptable to choose the military.

RecChief said...

"David said...
One way we could thank vets for their service is to kill the phrase "thank you for your service." Most vets ridicule it.
"

No one I know ridicules it, or the sentiment behind it, unless it's said insincerely, and it's easy to tell when that's the case. But I'm just speaking for myself and what I see around me. I could be wrong, statistically.

Personally, usually I feel some embarassment. I'm just doing a job.

Maybe what you see is the wide, and widening, divide between civilian and military cultures.

Larry J said...

Every draft in American history going all the way back to the Civil War has had provisions for people - especially well connected people - to avoid being drafted. In the Civil War, you could pay a specified amount of money (IIRC, $250 which was a lot of money back then) to avoid the draft. Later drafts eliminated that but implemented college deferments and other measures that benefited the relatively well-off.

Brando said...

When has it not been the case that the wealthy and connected could avoid risky combat duty when they wanted to? Draft or no draft, that's always been the case. If you ever hear about a wealthy, connected person seeing combat, it's either because he wanted to or because the Viet Cong somehow ambushed his on-base golf course in Arizona.

As for the song choice, why not let the veterans being honored decide what they want to listen to?

The Drill SGT said...

I was what is termed a "Draft motivated volunteer in my first (enlisted) tour. Later, I was a true volunteer, e.g a Regular Army Officer.

Now, some people think that's also a dysfunction

As for the lyrics, I think they are applicable. We don't need or want a Draft, but the country, or at least the elites, are completely out of touch with the military specifically, and the concept of national service in general. It comes I suspect from the generation of draft dodging leftists that hid out in Academia to avoid the draft board.

If I were King for a day, I'd amend the Constitution to make some form of national service a requirement for all Federal Offices.

Hell, I'd love to go the full Heinlein and make veteran status a qualification for suffrage.

For those who say that disadvantages women, you can't have it both ways, if women are fully included in the military service along with the rest of the alphabet (GLBTQZXYW) then why not :)

And I would make the service requirement include the Peace Corps, and the folks we send off to change Ebola bed pans...

McCain and Webb (and even maybe Biden :) brought their sons up with that mentality. I salute both Fathers and Sons.

FWIW: Our Chairman, General Martin Dempsey, has 2 daughters and a son. All three are Army Vets. The Son is on Active Duty. The daughters now in the reserves...



RecChief said...


If I were King for a day, I'd amend the Constitution to make some form of national service a requirement for all Federal Offices.


My idea was to tie some sort of national service to federal tuition aid.

I'm with you on the Heinlein thing. Unfortunately, the civilian culture of whining and not being held responsible has infected large parts of the military, and that scenario would probably make it worse.

wendybar said...

I live in NJ and I can't stand Bruce Springsteen either. Overrated, lousy singer.

richlb said...

I watched the concert and found it an odd song choice. Mainly because debating what the song does or doesn't mean is hard to be assessed at the time. There are a lot of people who found or still find the song a bit offensive. This day, this concert (yeah, it's to promote the artists and sponsors primarily, but I'm going to take it at face value here) wasn't exclusively about soldiers currently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. So with millions upon millions of songs to choose from this is what they selected? And after a pretty nice set by Zach Brown that featured much more appropriate Veteran's Day fare? Just seemed odd to me.

Browndog said...

I guess I missed the part where any "protest" song is a "good choice" at a celebration. I know pissing themselves and others off is great fun for liberals, not so much for everyone else.

TosaGuy said...

"I can't stand Bruce Springsteen"

Our esteemed hostess wins the internet today.

traditionalguy said...

Back in the hallowed 1960s the strange idea being pushed by the draft protest crowd during their drug free intervals was that Real Patriots were the ones who avoided military service.

Birches said...

Your taste in music has risen exponentially in my view now that I know you hate Springsteen as much as I do.

Perhaps the WS wouldn't have minded "Fortunate Son" if Springsteen himself hadn't played it. After "Born in the USA," it could be hard to know of his sincerity for honoring the troops. My guess is they wouldn't have cared if Gary Sinise's band decided to cover it.

Larry J said...

The Drill SGT said...

We don't need or want a Draft, but the country, or at least the elites, are completely out of touch with the military specifically, and the concept of national service in general. It comes I suspect from the generation of draft dodging leftists that hid out in Academia to avoid the draft board.


Which also explains why academia (no need to capitalize, they don't deserve it) is just a hotbed of stupid liberalism.

retail lawyer said...

I just realized I can't stand Bruce Springsteen either. I was such a fan in '79, and Highway Patrolman remains one of my favorite songs, but I would pay good money to avoid him now.

Beldar said...

Bruce Springsteen isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, and he's not who I'd pick for any patriotic setting.

I do like him marginally better than Bob Dylan, though, Professor Althouse.

Beldar said...

The problem with the song is that it was already used for hyperpartisan Democratic purposes by the notoriously unfit for command John F'n Kerry and his fans.

traditionalguy said...

Springsteen was a phenomena of 1980s among upper middle class White Northern kids who wont admit their selfish world has gone away now.

Carter Wood said...

I thought it was weird that Metallica performed. This was the band that popularized, via their music video for "One," Dalton Trumbo's pacifist novel, "Johnny Got His Gun," about a WWI veteran blown to pieces whose only hope is to be killed.

n.n said...

Abortion, what is it good for? Money, sex, ego, and convenience.

Make life, not abortion, right?

No, this is not about recognizing intrinsic value and securing human rights. The killing fields have been sterilized and the remains are blocking the nation's sewers. Springsteen has left the building.

EDH said...

Some folks are born silver spoon in hand
Lord, don't they help themselves, oh
But when the tax men come to the door
Lord, the house look a like a rummage sale, yes


Sadly, under Obama you could update "Fortunate Son" to be about which Silver Spoon's door the tax man comes to based upon their politics.

joeqc said...

The late Lewis Puller (son of Chesty Puller) used the title for his autobiography - this man was a volunteer all the way and an American patriot. I can't hear the song or see the title without remembering his sacrifice.

n.n said...

RecChief:

Exactly. The veterans I know neither invite nor reject recognition of their service. They just don't want to talk about it; other than as an event of their youth, reflecting on their lost youth. Armed conflict is a tragic necessity that should be avoided if possible. It should not be normalized as an elective procedure.

Unknown said...

I don't ridicule "thank you for your service," but for some reason I am profoundly bothered when I hear it; it seems rather self aggrandizing to say you're welcome (like I did something noteworthy), and kind of impolite to say nothing.

[I was in the contingent that registered for the draft immediately after men were o longer being drafted. A year & 1/2 later, I volunteered for the USN.]

BTW, I liked the almost Dillonesque poetry and the awkward performance of the original "Blinded By the Light."

Jay said...

I have to concede that it's possible that Bruce thinks — and somehow conveyed — that those who volunteer today are doing so because it's their best option in the limited array of choices they have because they are not rich or well-connected. If that's the message, then it really is a rotten thing to say to our American volunteers.

Of course that is the message.

Remember "Halp us John Carry"?

That is who the left is and what they believe.

The people in the military are just dumb rubes looking for some free food and stuff.

RecChief said...

Unknown said...
I don't ridicule "thank you for your service," but for some reason I am profoundly bothered when I hear it; it seems rather self aggrandizing to say you're welcome (like I did something noteworthy), and kind of impolite to say nothing.



I always say, "Thank You," back. As in, "Thank you for thinking of us," or "Thank you for taking the time to recognize us,"

LarsPorsena said...

Over the years "Fortunate Son" and "Born in the USA" both got coopted by the military. Sort of like "Yankee Doodle" got coopted.

The singer-song writers might protest but their songs got drafted.

RecChief said...

Jay said...
I have to concede that it's possible that Bruce thinks — and somehow conveyed — that those who volunteer today are doing so because it's their best option in the limited array of choices they have because they are not rich or well-connected. If that's the message, then it really is a rotten thing to say to our American volunteers.

Of course that is the message.


Which is really off the mark. While the military is still a path to better opportunity for the poor, there are a lot of middle class kids who join out of a sense of duty. For quite a while, you had to have a HS diploma or GED to enlist in the Army. Now, that's not necessary, but the Army helps kids without either by funding their GED, and they have to have it before leaving for Basic. that seems like a mutually beneficial arrangement to me.

Big Mike said...

It seems to me that an anti-draft song is a good choice to honor the volunteers.

No. Just no.

Michael K said...

I can't stand Springsteen and don't like HBO so I guess I was lucky.

Lyndon Johnson did a lot to wreck the 60s with his decision to fight the Vietnam War without calling up reserves or limiting draft deferments. Of my college classes, the only people I knew who got drafted were the doctors. Everybody else just had to make it to 22 and they were home free.

There were lots of volunteers. I have read that half the troops in Vietnam were volunteers although that sounds high.

Michael K said...

"For quite a while, you had to have a HS diploma or GED to enlist in the Army. Now, that's not necessary, but the Army helps kids without either by funding their GED"

I examine recruits and the military is getting very selective in who is accepted. We have a lot of kids who lie about stuff to get in. Behavioral issues are especially disqualifying. Medical issues can often be waived if the kid has high scores.

William said...

If you have never travelled to a Caribbean resort in a private jet accompanied by supermodels, then you just don't understand the bond that exists between rock stars and front line grunts........I think the upbeat music of Fortunate Son and Born in the USA subverts the message of the lyrics. There's something celebratory and exultant about those songs. What is being celebrated is not getting screwed but the freedom to sing about getting screwed.

RecChief said...

military is getting very selective in who is accepted.

Sure, part of that is the effect of the wars winding down. There were an awful lot of waivers for any number of deficiencies, even criminal records, issued during a time of build up. As an aside, Army NCOs can't break down a kid and build him back up again like they used to. Anyway, part of it is because of the sequester as well. We're probably going to a draw down more painful than the one in the '70s.

RecChief said...

but depending on ASVAB scores, and physical condition, the Army will pay so that a kid can get his/her GED if he/she was a drop out. I think that's a good thing. At least that's my understanding. I haven't talked to anyone in a Recruiting command in a while though.

richard mcenroe said...

It's a rotten thing to say to our volunteers. That's why John Kerry said it to a bunch of useless college students while he was running for President.

richard mcenroe said...

David: met most vets, have you?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Halp us Jon Cary!

richard mcenroe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
richard mcenroe said...

Hoodlum ya beat me to it!

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Michael K said...There were lots of volunteers. I have read that half the troops in Vietnam were volunteers although that sounds high.

A portion of those volunteers did so knowing they would likely be drafted anyway. By volunteering they usually had more say over what they did and when they went.

Robert Cook said...

"I have to concede that it's possible that Bruce thinks — and somehow conveyed — that those who volunteer today are doing so because it's their best option in the limited array of choices they have because they are not rich or well-connected. If that's the message, then it really is a rotten thing to say to our American volunteers."

It is the truth, however.

Robert Cook said...

I've also never liked Bruce Springsteen, by the way.

The Godfather said...

Technically, sure it's anti-draft, but during the Viet Nam era, anti-draft included anti-military and anti-patriotism, and those sentiments are manifest in the Fortunate Son lyrics.

Still, it's good to be reminded of what a great benefit it has been to our country that Nixon ended the draft, and popular opinion has prevented its reestablishment, notwithstanding the occasional calls, mostly from the Left, to restore it.

Tank said...

Surrounded by people who don't like BS. Must be in the right place here.

Here, in NJ, it's ... awkward.

John Lynch said...

Posing about veterans and military service is annoying.

Veterans are all individuals and disagree as much as anyone about anything- even about the meaning of military service. It's even happened on this blog.

Don't tell people what they think.

Michael K said...

"By volunteering they usually had more say over what they did and when they went."

Oh, I agree. The Marines have always been volunteers although I think some were drafted in WWII. A lot of those volunteers have always been on the basis that Marines don't leave wounded behind.

A doctor I know was in Korea, in a MASH treating Marines (He was Navy), and they woke up one morning to find the Army had pulled out during the night and had not told them. They were now the front line.

Lydia said...

This study says it's not true that volunteers for the military have a "limited array of choices" because they are "not rich or well-connected" -- some findings:

--U.S. military service disproportionately attracts enlisted personnel and officers who do not come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

--Members of the all-volunteer military are significantly more likely to come from high-income neighborhoods than from low-income neighborhoods.

--American soldiers are more educated than their peers.

--Contrary to conventional wisdom, minorities are not overrepresented in military service.

RecChief said...

@Lydia,

Thanks for posting that.

Chief

paminwi said...

I always try to thank military people for their service. I am aware of how poorly Vietnam vets were treated from my brother-in-law. I feel strongly I never want another vet to feel that way. I hope that when I say "thank you for your service" the recipient hears my admiration for all they do.

n.n said...

Lydia:

That sounds about right. Potentially sacrificing your life is not a capricious or impulsive choice, other than in cases where there is an immediate threat to life. Military service should appeal to people with a compelling cause to accept both the risk and reward it offers, and often reflects a predisposition to meritorious sacrifice and risk tolerance. In a minority of cases, it is pursued by individuals with sadistic or controlling personalities.

Darrell said...

Just based on my experience with veterans, people that have served are the first to thank others for their service. I doubt the "majority object" claim.

Anonymous said...

"I can't stand Bruce Springsteen..."

"Born to run?" "Thunder Road?"

You can't stand those? Leads one to question your taste in music...

Cas said...

"Born to run?" "Thunder Road?"
You can't stand those? Leads one to question your taste in music...


The E-Street Band (which included Bruce) performed those particular songs over 40 years ago! Why doesn't someone like Bruce know when to quit, and "rest on his laurels," so to speak?

I agree that there are literally thousands of songs they could have chosen to honor vets, both current and past, so why did they choose John Fogerty's song? He didn't perform last night...and there are so many OTHER good CCR songs they could have covered!

I also agree with many posting here that the quality of the military has increased, simply due to the fact that all who have served for the past 40 years have CHOSEN to do so. But the vocational and life skills that military service teaches, as well as the camaraderie and selflessness that a service-member experiences, can never make up for the ultimate price that some pay, IMHO...nor the other benefits that the VA provide to those who honorably serve.

William said...

I like the songs from the Vietnam era, but they were nearly all anti war. The Ballad of the Green Berets is about the only song from that era that puffed the military.....The songs fom the Civil War, WWI , and WWII were, if not pro military, at least were pro the cause for which the military fought. I believe the soldiers frequently changed the lyrics to reflect grim realities. "And we won't come back till we're buried over there" ......The current war joins the Korean War as a conflict that has not inspired any music, either pro or con.

The Drill SGT said...

William,

An example. Sung to the battle Hymn:

He was just a rookie trooper and he surely shook with fright,
He checked all his equipment and made sure his pack was tight;
He had to sit and listen to those awful engines roar,
"You ain't gonna jump no more!"
(CHORUS)
Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die,
Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die,
Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die,
He ain't gonna jump no more!
"Is everybody happy?" cried the Sergeant looking up,
Our Hero feebly answered "Yes," and then they stood him up;
He jumped into the icy blast, his static line unhooked,
He ain't gonna jump no more.
(CHORUS)
He counted long, he counted loud, he waited for the shock,
He felt the wind, he felt the cold, he felt the awful drop,
The silk from his reserves spilled out, and wrapped around his legs,
He ain't gonna jump no more.
(CHORUS)
The risers swung around his neck, connectors cracked his dome,
Suspension lines were tied in knots around his skinny bones;
The canopy became his shroud; he hurtled to the ground.
He ain't gonna jump no more.
(CHORUS)
The days he'd lived and loved and laughed kept running through his mind,
He thought about the girl back home, the one he'd left behind;
He thought about the medic corps, and wondered what they'd find,
He ain't gonna jump no more.
(CHORUS)
The ambulance was on the spot, the jeeps were running wild,
The medics jumped and screamed with glee, they rolled their sleeves and smiled,
For it had been a week or more since last a 'Chute had failed,
He ain't gonna jump no more.
(CHORUS)
He hit the ground, the sound was "SPLAT", his blood went spurting high;
His comrades, they were heard to say "A hell of a way to die!"
He lay there, rolling 'round in the welter of his gore,
He ain't gonna jump no more.
(CHORUS)
(slowly, solemnly; about half the speed of the other verses)
There was blood upon the risers, there were brains upon the chute,
Intestines were a-dangling from his paratroopers suit,
He was a mess, they picked him up, and poured him from his boots,
He ain't gonna jump no more.
Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die,
Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die,
Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die,
He ain't gonna jump no more!

D.E. Cloutier said...

My ancestors fought at the Battle of Brandywine, at Gettysburg, at Pearl Harbor and other places. I enlisted in the U.S. Army at the start of the Vietnam War.

Anti-war songs never bothered me.

Carrying an army rifle, I occasionally sang "A World Without Love" (written by Paul McCartney and sung by Peter and Gordon): "I don't care what they say, I won't stay in a world without love."

Some of my friends in the military and I went to a couple of big peace protests in San Francisco in the 1960s. Many of the hippie girls at the protests were homely but they were easy to get into bed. We made love, not war.

In military conflict after military conflict, American soldiers fought for the freedom of others. As a result, Springsteen is free to sing what he wants to sing. I have no desire to limit that freedom in any way.

- DEC (Jungle Trader)

Jupiter said...

"If you ever hear about a wealthy, connected person seeing combat, it's either because he wanted to or because the Viet Cong somehow ambushed his on-base golf course in Arizona."


This is a widespread, ah, myth.

"Analysis of data about the 58,000 Americans killed in Vietnam implies that affluent U.S. communities had only marginally lower casualty rates than the nation as a whole. Poor communities had only marginally higher rates. Data about the residential addresses of war casualties suggest that, within both large heterogeneous cities and wealthy suburbs, there was little relationship between neighborhood incomes and per capita Vietnam death rates. Such outcomes call into question a widespread belief that continues to influence U.S. policy discussions, namely, that American war deaths in Vietnam were overwhelmingly concentrated among the poor and working class."

Jupiter said...

As for Springsteen, well, I can't stand his politics, or his acoustic songs, but The River was a classic. As was Born In The USA, whatever he meant by it.

"Had a brother at Khe Sanh
Fighting off the Viet Cong
They're still there, he's all gone."

Vote how you like, that's about the size of it.

Mutaman said...

"Back in the hallowed 1960s the strange idea being pushed by the draft protest crowd during their drug free intervals was that Real Patriots were the ones who avoided military service. "

Did;t Reagan avoid military service?
John Wayne too?

D.E. Cloutier said...

To Mutaman:

John Wayne didn't serve.

Reagan did.

U.S. Dept. of Veteran Affairs:

"Presidents Who Served in the Military"

Link:

http://www.va.gov/health/NewsFeatures/2013/February/Can-you-name-the-Presidents-who-were-Veterans.asp

Michael K said...

"Contrary to conventional wisdom, minorities are not overrepresented in military service."

I examine recruits in Los Angeles. From what I see, and a rough impression, I would say half of our recruits (The call them "applicants") are Hispanic. Of the other half, about a third are Asian, a third Caucasian and the rest a mixture of immigrants from other countries and a few blacks. Maybe 10% blacks. A lot of that is the LA population, I'm sure.

There are interesting people and I enjoy talking to most of them. If they are 17, they are almost always going into the Marines. There are quite a few European immigrants. I had a guy a few weeks ago who is a Serb and college coach. A fair number of college students and graduates, not all applying for OCS.

Quite a few Asians have language issues that I wonder how they will deal with basic training.

Lots of them list "unemployed" as occupation but there are also a lot with jobs that are usually not too lucrative sounding. Of the females, we get quite a few nurses and last week I had a physical therapist.

The distribution, especially with Hispanics, is probably unique to Los Angeles.

Michael K said...

"Did;t Reagan avoid military service?
John Wayne too?"

Reagan was a reserve cavalry officer all through the 30s and flunked the physical when the war started. He did serve in making training films and such. He learned to ride in the Army and rode until he was too ill. There's a very good book about Reagan called, Riding With Reagan by the Secret Service agent who was the only one who knew how to ride when Reagan was elected. He stayed with him until the agent retired and even after that.

Wayne had football injuries to his shoulder, I think.

Ward Bond is another actor often described as evading service but he had a terrible car accident and was in pain a good part of the time with his leg. John Ford used to torment Bond by making him ride a horse for hours.

Van Johnson had a severe auto accident and facial scars that he concealed with makeup until he made "The Caine Mutiny," where he left them visible as adding to the authenticity of the character. That was probably his best role.

rcocean said...

Reagan lied about his eyesight and wore contract lenses (a rarity in the 30s) to become a reserve officer. After Pearl Harbor he was called up and against his wishes confined to making Films for the USAAF.

But, the truth is Reagan should have been labeled 4-F, his eyesight was so bad.

Placeholder said...

The song voices a complaint as old as war -- that the lower classes serve as cannon fodder, while the upper classes escape.

The only U.S. wars where that wasn't generally true were the Revolutionary War and World War II, and even in those I'm sure a careful historian would find plenty of favoritism.

Althouse, there isn't much I agree with you about, but I think you made the right call on this one.

The Godfather said...

To Mutaman:

Starting with Harry Truman, every US President served in the military or naval forces, except Clinton and Obama.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

There is no excuse for him choosing that song. Anyone would know that it was going to be controversial. Is it because the offended are just too "stupid" to get it?

He lost me a couple of years ago when he introduced Obama as "the man who killed Osama Bin Laden." Useless, vacuous elitist. And I once thought he was the cat's meow.

richard mcenroe said...

Reagan did more than make training films; IIRC he also served on the team that created the Combat Information Center that has become the heart of US Naval combat operations ever since, based on the ad hoc center pioneered aboard the USS Washington under Ching Lee.

richard mcenroe said...

Michael K -- Hispanics have always been disproportionately represented in the US military.

To our benefit. Check out the ethnicities of our Medal of Honor winners. Particularly the posthumous ones.

Fred Endow said...

From Instapundit

DO TELL: Bruce Springsteen & Dave Grohl’s Cover Of ‘Fortunate Son’ Draws Criticism.

The thing is, I love Creedence Clearwater Revival, but even in its original form the song Fortunate Son is a big steaming pile of hypocritical horseshit. John Fogerty wrote it after doing one-weekend-a-month Army Reserve duty designed to keep him away from Vietnam. It was the sort of deal a lot of people got, not just “Senator’s sons,” and his bandmate Doug “Cosmo” Clifford — the most underrated drummer of rock’s ascendancy — swung a similar Coast Guard gig.

Meanwhile, Fogerty says he wrote the song as “my confrontation with Richard Nixon,” but in fact Nixon refused the military exemption he was entitled to as a Quaker and served in the Pacific during World War Two.

Basically, whenever lefties go all moralistic, you can be pretty sure they’re being hypocritical. Because that’s just how they rock and roll.

97
Posted at 4:30 pm by Glenn Reynolds

Michael K said...

"Michael K -- Hispanics have always been disproportionately represented in the US military.

To our benefit. Check out the ethnicities of our Medal of Honor winners. Particularly the posthumous ones."

Oh, I don't doubt it but LA may be a bit skewed still. We are the biggest induction center, though.

Achilles said...

RecChief said...

"Maybe what you see is the wide, and widening, divide between civilian and military cultures."

This. Just watching this country vote away freedoms that people fought for. The term "unnecessary war." The no WMD's lie.

I would prefer that some of you people just don't talk around me. It isn't even worth correcting most of them. But I am bitter.

Achilles said...

Robert Cook said...
"I have to concede that it's possible that Bruce thinks — and somehow conveyed — that those who volunteer today are doing so because it's their best option in the limited array of choices they have because they are not rich or well-connected. If that's the message, then it really is a rotten thing to say to our American volunteers."

It is the truth, however."

In your sad little mind. Little tyrants it seems must spend all their time degrading people who protect their freedom. I wish you would move to Afghanistan and talk down to the people there for a while.

Brando said...

""Analysis of data about the 58,000 Americans killed in Vietnam implies that affluent U.S. communities had only marginally lower casualty rates than the nation as a whole. Poor communities had only marginally higher rates. Data about the residential addresses of war casualties suggest that, within both large heterogeneous cities and wealthy suburbs, there was little relationship between neighborhood incomes and per capita Vietnam death rates. Such outcomes call into question a widespread belief that continues to influence U.S. policy discussions, namely, that American war deaths in Vietnam were overwhelmingly concentrated among the poor and working class."

That doesn't actually disprove my point, as (a) the most likely people put into combat positions are those who request it (after all, why put a reluctant draftee into the firing line when you have an avid volunteer wanting to be there?), and (b) the middle and upper class troops are more likely to be there because they want to, while the lower classes are more likely to be there because they need the pay or (pre-1973) couldn't avoid the draft, and thus are more likely to be put in non combat positions.

My point is that a "fortunate son" is very unlikely to be put into a dangerous combat position against his will, not that it's the poor who bear a disproportionate share of the casualties.

Mart said...

“Fortunate Son” could have been written about GW Bush's Vietnam war experience of mostly not flying in the AF reserves in the US. He never got close to combat. Remember my BIL had a political dad that got him into the reserves ahead of thousand’s on the PA waiting list. People forget being in reserves back then almost guaranteed no combat in Vietnam, unless you requested it.

T. A. Hansen said...

It's funny that Fogerty was a "Fortunate Son." He was in the reserves, never called up and was active duty for training only. So the song rails against the experience he had in the military. I don't get how he can be so self-rightious.