Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Heroes--Past, Present, and...? Really?!?


Dear Gentle Reader(s), recently there was, over at Trust, but Verify, a small step wondering about the definition of "war hero."  No one over at that modest effort has ventured an opinion, so let us see if someone here would care to offer an opinion.

The question arises from the oft-repeated phrase of "military" experience as being a qualification for the office of president of the United States.  So, one is forced to ask, in the face of three potential nominees, only one of whom has any military experience, if that experience is absolutely necessary, and, if so, why?  What does it add which is so essential?

A brief history:  President Clinton had no military experience.  President George W. Bush did.  He served in the Texas National Air Guard during the Vietnam war.  He most famously "disappeared" for several months, after flying sorties over the Gulf of Mexico.

Neither of the two leading Democratic nominee-seekers served.  Senator McCain served, but his most prominent military experience was that of a prisoner of war.  What about being a prisoner of war, aside from the emotional content which one remembers virtually all Americans felt at the time, is a requisite for the Commander-in-Chief?  As a colleague of mine at the Palm Springs "Condom Club," another story at another time, commented:  "That shows he wasn't very effective.  He got shot down."

What, then, is a war hero?  I'm thinking the grunt who followed orders.  I'm thinking the G.I. who followed orders and charged the beach on Normandy, who won the Congressional Medal of Honor, who peeled spuds to feed the troops.

What think'st thou, Dear Gentle Reader(s)? 

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