It would be hypocritical for those who spoke out in favor of the Vietnam War to have taken multiple steps to avoid going to Vietnam as a member of the military. Yet this was the situation of young Mitt Romney, pro-Vietnam War but unwilling to go there, and then he spins a wild lie in an attempt to cover his tracks. That is the news story told by Steve Benen at the Maddow Blog:
Many years later, in 1994, Romney said, “It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam, but nor did I take any actions to remove myself from the pool of young men who were eligible for the draft.” That wasn’t true — he took several steps to remove himself from the eligibility pool.
Romney is certainly not the first chickenhawk to run vie for high political office. We’ve seen it before, and every time I see it, it reminds me of the words of Chris Hedges (who wrote War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning), and I think to myself, “If he had fought in a war he wouldn’t be nearly so willing to start yet another war.”
To me, the word “chickenhawk” is not a mainly an insult because I can respect the fact that people avoid going to war. To me, the importance of the term is that it refers to a dangerous psychological profile of many people who seek powerful political positions. It refers to a type of reaction formation. It is a common tactic of those who are willing to sacrifice American soldiers so that they can feel a psuedo-manly inner glow. The fact that one is a certified chickenhawk, as Mitt Romney is, should disqualify him for office. American voters just don’t seem to “get it,” however. We should run from politicians who bellow pro-war platitudes after having avoided war. What kind of candidate would be trustworthy on matters of war? Those who actually fought, or equally, those who avoided war when of military age and continue to avoid war now.