[FoRK] Salon on Bushs' (lack of) Service

Lucas Gonze lgonze at panix.com
Thu Sep 9 13:52:33 PDT 2004

Dude, I've been all over this big wide world and I know that everybody 
knows that the SBVT are bitter hardcases with a slime job to do.  The 
message from the SBVT to the vets is that your service doesn't matter if 
you're not on the right side politically.  Got your arm blown off?  In a 
wheelchair for the rest of your life?  Doesn't matter if you're not a 

On Thu, 9 Sep 2004, J. Andrew Rogers wrote:

>> Sorry?  The ad made by the SBVT, you mean?  A de facto social
>> excommunication by the military as a community?  Huh?
> Yes, the SBVT ad.  It more or less stripped him of his status as a
> former soldier and veteran, which is what really surprised me when I
> heard it.  There is a very big difference between saying "we don't like
> John Kerry" and what was actually said.
> There are protocols and strong cultural conventions about how you
> interact with other soldiers and what you say about them publicly, no
> matter how much you dislike them.  If just one person made the
> assertions made in that ad it would be dismissed as a soldier leaving
> the reservation and would probably result in that person being
> ostracized for making such a claim publicly about another soldier.  That
> such a reputable and broad collection of veterans, including senior
> officers, is willing to publicly make such claims about John Kerry gives
> it an extraordinary amount of credibility.  There are Things You Do Not
> Do in that community unless you have a damn good reason to, and that so
> many nominally credible soldiers were willing to publicly put *their*
> reputations on the line to make the assertion carries an enormous amount
> of weight.
> I would contrast this with the statements many Generals made about Clark
> when he was campaigning.  It is no secret that the military
> establishment at large does not like General Clark for many reasons, but
> when the media went fishing for opinions among military people, the most
> they ever really got was something along the lines of "I don't think he
> would be a good candidate for President".  They never disparaged or
> disavowed Clark because that goes against protocol and even though he is
> greatly disliked, there is no cause in the minds of military folks to
> "excommunicate" him (good word for it) from the military community.
> Unlike Clark, who is still treated as a soldier among veterans, that ad
> effectively served to deny Kerry his status as an honorable soldier
> among veterans.  That is some serious, heavy-duty stuff.
>> Are you a vet or just a secret agent, Andrew?
> I was in the Army for a bit, spent the remainder of my time in the
> Reserves, and actually terminated my contract early just like Bush,
> though unlike Bush I did not have enough points to terminate when I did
> -- my CO signed a waiver.  The National Guard is similar to the Reserve,
> but different because the governor of the state can make appointments
> and interfere in administrative decisions; there are some weird state
> politics that can show up there.  I also worked for the DoD for a time
> and in the private sector on DoD projects.  I was never attached to an
> intelligence service personally, or at least my time was never charged
> to any intelligence agencies by DFAS.
> I left any association with that line of work in the very early '90s,
> when I decided that the nascent World Wide Web thing had more potential
> money in it than what I had been working on for the DoD, a very smart
> decision in retrospect.  Working for the government sucks, even when you
> are working on relatively interesting things.  Nonetheless, I still
> intersect with that world pretty regularly.
> j. andrew rogers
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