Wednesday, July 28, 2004

 

Flying Over Texas

Ezra Klein, over at Pandagon post about a blogger writing this:

Democrats have been having a Kerry-gasm over the recently-discovered merits of a Presidential candidate with military service, but it's a bit of a stretch to pretend that Bush avoided danger, while Kerry asked to be sent towards it.

Kerry certainly volunteered for duty in the Vietnam theater, and I respect his service--in fact, I'd even argue that his post-Vietnam opposition was sincere, well-intentioned and not a blanket condemnation of all veterans--as well as his purple hearts. I'm entirely unconcerned with debates over whether he was genuinely injured, or just kinda injured.

Bush, on the other hand, volunteered for a dangerous duty....but in the United States, rather than Vietnam.

Yes, yes, I acknowledge that flying is indeed more dangerous than sitting on a couch in front of a television. Still, there is danger in that. The ceiling could fall down at any moment, or a plane could crash into the house, or, well, any number of things could happen.

And I applaud all people who fly Piper Cubs across the country for they, in their winged pursuits, face danger as soon as the start the engine. I caution them to be careful in the air at all times.

Still....

One really doesn’t wonder that Mr. Bush’s chances of being shot down and held as a POW, a-la John McCain, were significantly reduced by keeping Texas V.C. free. Nor was he likely to find it necessary to dodge many Mexican-launched S.A.M. missiles patrolling the skies over the Lone Star State.

The argument that the young, steely-eyed George W. Bush faced down danger in the Texas National Guard is one of the silliest things I’ve read.

Ever.

And I’ve read a lot of silly things.

The gist of the counter argument, is that Mr. Bush purposefully avoided the MORE dangerous activity of flying in a combat zone.

People die in combat, and while I’m not sure what the flight related mortality rate of the Texas Air National Guard was during Vietnam, I’d bet it was zero or close to it.

As a result, it is inappropriate to say the ever-stalwart Mr. Bush volunteered for dangerous duty by staying in Texas.

What he did volunteer for was a duty that was significantly LESS dangerous than flying over North Vietnam.

To describe Mr. Bush’s Texas duty “dangerous” is quite the slap at the airmen who actually did fly in combat. Some of whom were shot down. Some of whom died.

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