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October 31, 2006

Comments

Elroy El

I will agree that this was a very stupid thing to say (even out of context). I'd be willing to be most that enlist have or had few other viable options except enlistment and are now serving in IRAQ for ???? tours. Looking at the

Truth is, college/education allows for many more options other than the military. And I would wager the number of college graduates who entertain joining the military upon completion of their studies is statistically quite small.

DanC

What was it you said last week; go pound sand. Start pounding. Enlistment standards continue to drop. from USAToday, this month,
****According to statistics obtained by The Associated Press, 3.8% of the first-time recruits scored below certain aptitude levels. In previous years, the Army had allowed only 2% of its recruits to have low aptitude scores. That limit was increased last year to 4%, the maximum allowed by the Defense Department.

The Army said all the recruits with low scores had received high school diplomas. In a written statement, the Army said good test scores do not necessarily equate to quality soldiers. Test-taking ability, the Army said, does not measure loyalty, duty, honor, integrity or courage.****

In many parts of the country, military service represents the best possible economic outcome for young men and women who haven't gone to college. In this respect, Kerry is correct and no apology is required.

Unlike you Chuck, many Republicans of age avoid military service completely. If you look at a map of those who have died in Iraq, many come from Blue States.

Of the 50 former miltary vets from the Iraq/Afgahn war running for office this year, 49 are Democrats. They know Iraq is a quagmire. And we *are* stuck in Iraq. Led by people who ignored intelligence and don't listen to commanders on the ground.

I'll be sure to wrote Senator Kerry to ask him to apologize once you do for blaming the Tan letter on Democrats. Have a great day

Chuck DeVore

Elroy El and DanC: thanks for your comments on the military. Some observations for you about the people volunteering for the military.

1) Many join for patriotism.
2) Many benefit from the college assistance programs and get money for college as a result of their service (I earned a 2-year full ROTC scholarship that allowed me to afford the then $24K per year tuition at Claremont McKenna College).
3) The military is above the average U.S. population in IQ – contrary to popular myth from the days of the draft and Vietnam. (DanC, when you cited that 4% of recruits score below certain aptitude levels, what you don’t cite is the cutoff is the 30th percentile of IQ, meaning that 4% of recruits are allowed to be as low as the 30th percentile – this makes ineligible a vast number of Americans as not smart enough to join the Army!)

And DanC, on the Tan mailer, again, allow me to remind you that Democrat bloggers blamed the Republican Party for the Tan mailer. I blamed the Democrats using the same evidence, writing on this blog: "My theory is based on the tremendous analytical tools at my disposal developed from 23 years of taxpayer-funded training as a military intelligence officer (Note to the perpetually humorless: tongue firmly planted in cheek)."

If that requires an apology, then I'm sorry – that you lack any sense of humor or proportion... ;-)

All the best,

Chuck DeVore
State Assemblyman, 70th District

Do I get a recuiters bonus?

"I'll be sure to wrote Senator Kerry to ask him to apologize"

If the military is looking for low IQ types, I think I know where to find one.

Elroy El

Many join for patriotism.

And Chuck. I believe you would admit that many join because it is their only option.

I didn't like Fahrenheit 9/11 for the simple fact that Moore asks the viewer to connect too many dots. But the facet of the movie that struck out at me was the almost predatory nature in which the DoD pursues those from less than priviledged backgrounds. And judging by the ads I see on TV that is the case. The sales pitch isn't so much about partriotism as it is about opportunity and adventure.

Chuck DeVore

To: Elroy El

And yet, in the elite ranks of the combat infantry, Rangers, and Special Forces, the racial and social-economic backgrounds closely reflect America as a whole. These warriors are the point of the spear and those who are doing most of the fighting.

All the best,

Chuck DeVore
State Assemblyman, 70th District

Elroy El

Chuck. It's been some time since I bothered to look into of these ratios. But I read that combat units are outnumbered by support units to ratio of 10:1. It doesn't give me warm fuzzies knowing that 10% of our military have the same racial and socio-economic backgrounds of America as a whole.

And as Dan pointed out. The casualties of this war are being borne by blue staters despite the stereotype of our being populated by weak knee'd liberals.

rubee

October 03, 2005

Open door for high school dropouts
New GED plan may help recruiters hit their targets

By Joseph R. Chenelly
Army Times staff writer


As Army recruiters head into the new fiscal year eager to put the failures of 2005 behind them, they go with a green light to tap a demographic long deemed off-limits: High-school dropouts who don’t have a General Educational Development credential...
The pool of potential recruits could not be much larger or hungrier...

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a 2002 study showed more than 10 percent of all 16- through 24-year-olds were out of school without a high school diploma or GED certificate. And dropouts from high school are more likely to be in worse health, unemployed, and earn less when they are employed than those who complete high school or pass a GED exam...

Smith said statistics on the percentage of soldiers with GED certificates recruited in 2005 were not available. But according to a report prepared by the Army G-1, 6.5 percent of all enlisted soldiers in the active-duty Army ranks at the end of fiscal 2004 held only a GED certificate. More than 76 percent held high school diplomas; 6.8 percent had some college credit and 4.6 percent had bachelor’s degrees...

to read the whole article:

http://www.armytimes.com/print.php?f=0-ARMYPAPER-1115401.php

MrWhipple
Many benefit from the college assistance programs and get money for college as a result of their service.

Chuck, I admire your political views, but the military does not offer enlistees significant tuition assistance or job skills that can be converted to the private sector. Military recruiters are infamous for unfulfilled promises.

Take a look at the video "Before You Enlist" for a more realistic view of what it's like to join today's military right out of high school:

http://beforeyouenlist.org

Your experience in ROTC is different. Going in as an officer is not the same as going in as a grunt.

R. Chris

What's funny to me is the flag-waiving Republicans love to SAY how they support the troops yet when it comes to providing adequate funding or troop support they AWOL.

The unfortunate fact of our society is that people from the most challenged economic areas tend to join the military because it offers them a great way up the ladder.

More importantly, we can criticize Kerry for what he says, but what about Rumsfeld for what he does, or doesn't do?

We're waging a war on the cheap and not asking most Americans to sacrifice anything, yet our brave men and women are risking their lives for us.

When Kerry stated during 2004 that our soldiers were scrounging around to find body armor and other essentials, he was right.

Ribbons and sayings mean nothing if Congress, the DOD and the President are unwilling to provide the basics to our troops overseas, while Haliburton and others are getting rich off our tax dollars.

Mr. DeVore, where is your criticism of our President for his failures?

Chuck DeVore

MrWhipple, I actually went in as an enlisted soldier, a Private First Class or E-3. I then competed for an ROTC scholarship and earned it.

A good friend of mine from high school graduated near the top of his class, then got in with the wrong crowd. I talked him into joining the military. He turned it around, became soldier of the year in his division, then got his BS degree at a UC with the tuition assistance provided by the Army.

I could go on and on -- the Army does provide programs for soldiers to get the money needed for college.

All the best,

Chuck DeVore
State Assemblyman, 70th District

Elroy El

I could go on and on -- the Army does provide programs for soldiers to get the money needed for college.

Chuck. I commend you on taking opportunities available to you when they are presented. I don't know know that much about you, but you seem to be from humble beginnings. And you've always struck me as a 'down to earth' individual despite our ideological differences. However, there are a lot of kids who have the opportunity to go to college and aren't asked to risk life and limb in a combat arena to get there. And as I pointed out, many of them don't consider military service even upon graduation.

That is the difference. And in a poorly said manner that is what I got out of Kerry's ill stated comment.

Quang

John Kerry is an ongoing joke (more than Gomer Pyle) among members of the Naval Services (Navy/Marines). My blood boiled when I read his "Tour of Duty" presidential-run war memoir written by a historian ghostwriter Doug Brinkley. Couldn't even finish half of it. The guy spent three months in Vietnam, lied about entering Cambodia, badmouthed the South Vietnamese Navy, shot a Vietcong kid in the back as he was running away, bagged a Silver Star then three Purple Hearts so he could rotate home. If he had kept his silly salute in his pocket and stopped talking about Vietnam, maybe he would not have pissed off the Swift Boaters so much. And he should never have filmed himself in-country for political purposes.

Elro El- you are correct. In 1987, I was among three of 5,500 or so UCLA graduates to join the USMC as officers. There were probably 150 others who took part in ROTC. I went through OCS. I joined out of a sense of duty. Upon graduation I had a job offer as a financial analyst with Dean Whitter (boring!).

DanC - did you serve? Only three Iraq vets have a realistic chance of winning a seat in Congress: Patrick Kennedy-D over a freshman Congressman in PA, Tammy Duckworth-D in IL (she's an amputee/former helicopter pilot who was shot down, not like Max Cleland who self-inflicted his wounds with a grenade dangling from his vest), and Van Taylor-R in TX who is a Harvard grad/USMC officer with a district that includes Crawford Ranch.

Mr. Whipple - In certain states veterans get free tuition if they attend public colleges. California is not one of them but I know some folks who are working on that with the governor. http://education.military.com/money-for-school/state-veteran-benefits-pacific

Chuck - in USMC aviation, diversity is not really a factor. If you cannot fly then it's time to say goodbye! Mickey Conroy was/is a good friend and a loyal Marine. I miss him.

We are not waging a war on the cheap. During the battle for Fallujah, USMC aviation dropped over 1 million 500-pound bombs! Go behind the Green Zone, the FOBs and see our mightly logistics. I've been writing/criticizing about the war and what we're doing wrong. But I am a nobody...See my website.

Elroy El

"bagged a Silver Star then three Purple Hearts so he could rotate home."

Well Quang. I have to respectfully disagree with you on that one. The groups that attacked John Kerry attacked all veterans (including myself) who have served. When confronted with official military documents their retort was "don't believe official records, believe us". Which tells me I should question any veteran about any claims to service. Including yours, Chuck's, and Mickey Conroy's. I included an article published in the liberal WSJ that was written by the SF troop Kerry fished out of the water when he received his Silver Star. If that is 'bagging' a Silver Star I don't know what one has to do in order to win a medal legitamately.

CAMPAIGN 2004

Shame on the Swift Boat Veterans for Bush
John Kerry saved my life. Now his heroism is being questioned.

BY JIM RASSMANN
Tuesday, August 10, 2004 12:01 a.m.

I came to know Lt. John Kerry during the spring of 1969. He and his swift boat crew assisted in inserting our Special Forces team and our Chinese Nung soldiers into operational sites in the Cau Mau Peninsula of South Vietnam. I worked with him on many operations and saw firsthand his leadership, courage and decision-making ability under fire.

On March 13, 1969, John Kerry's courage and leadership saved my life.

While returning from a SEA LORDS operation along the Bay Hap River, a mine detonated under another swift boat. Machine-gun fire erupted from both banks of the river, and a second explosion followed moments later. The second blast blew me off John's swift boat, PCF-94, throwing me into the river. Fearing that the other boats would run me over, I swam to the bottom of the river and stayed there as long as I could hold my breath.

When I surfaced, all the swift boats had left, and I was alone taking fire from both banks. To avoid the incoming fire, I repeatedly swam under water as long as I could hold my breath, attempting to make it to the north bank of the river. I thought I would die right there. The odds were against me avoiding the incoming fire and, even if I made it out of the river, I thought I'd be captured and executed. Kerry must have seen me in the water and directed his driver, Del Sandusky, to turn the boat around. Kerry's boat ran up to me in the water, bow on, and I was able to climb up a cargo net to the lip of the deck. But, because I was nearly upside down, I couldn't make it over the edge of the deck. This left me hanging out in the open, a perfect target. John, already wounded by the explosion that threw me off his boat, came out onto the bow, exposing himself to the fire directed at us from the jungle, and pulled me aboard.

For his actions that day, I recommended John for the Silver Star, our country's third highest award for bravery under fire. I learned only this past January that the Navy awarded John the Bronze Star with Combat V for his valor. The citation for this award, signed by the Commander of U.S. Naval Forces, Vietnam, Vice Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, read, "Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry's calmness, professionalism and great personal courage under fire were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service." To this day I am grateful to John Kerry for saving my life. And to this day I still believe that he deserved the Silver Star for his courage.

It has been many years since I served in Vietnam. I returned home, got married, and spent many years as a deputy sheriff for Los Angeles County. I retired in 1989 as a lieutenant. It has been a long time since I left Vietnam, but I think often of the men who did not come home with us.

I am neither a politician nor an organizer. I am a retired police officer with a passion for orchids. Until January of this year, the only public presentations I made were about my orchid hobby. But in this presidential election, I had to speak out; I had to tell the American people about John Kerry, about his wisdom and courage, about his vision and leadership. I would trust John Kerry with my life, and I would entrust John Kerry with the well-being of our country.

Nobody asked me to join John's campaign. Why would they? I am a Republican, and for more than 30 years I have largely voted for Republicans. I volunteered for his campaign because I have seen John Kerry in the worst of conditions. I know his character. I've witnessed his bravery and leadership under fire. And I truly know he will be a great commander in chief.

Now, 35 years after the fact, some Republican-financed Swift Boat Veterans for Bush are suddenly lying about John Kerry's service in Vietnam; they are calling him a traitor because he spoke out against the Nixon administration's failed policies in Vietnam. Some of these Republican-sponsored veterans are the same ones who spoke out against John at the behest of the Nixon administration in 1971. But this time their attacks are more vicious, their lies cut deep and are directed not just at John Kerry, but at me and each of his crewmates as well. This hate-filled ad asserts that I was not under fire; it questions my words and Navy records. This smear campaign has been launched by people without decency, people who don't understand the bond of those who serve in combat.

As John McCain noted, the television ad aired by these veterans is "dishonest and dishonorable." Sen. McCain called on President Bush to condemn the Swift Boat Veterans for Bush ad. Regrettably, the president has ignored Sen. McCain's advice.


Does this strategy of attacking combat Vietnam veterans sound familiar? In 2000, a similar Republican smear campaign was launched against Sen. McCain. In fact, the very same communications group, Spaeth Communications, that placed ads against John McCain in 2000 is involved in these vicious attacks against John Kerry. Texas Republican donors with close ties to George W. Bush and Karl Rove crafted this "dishonest and dishonorable" ad. Their new charges are false; their stories are fabricated, made up by people who did not serve with Kerry in Vietnam. They insult and defame all of us who served in Vietnam.

But when the noise and fog of their distortions and lies have cleared, a man who volunteered to serve his country, a man who showed up for duty when his country called, a man to whom the United States Navy awarded a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts, will stand tall and proud. Ultimately, the American people will judge these Swift Boat Veterans for Bush and their accusations. Americans are tired of smear campaigns against those who volunteered to wear the uniform. Swift Boat Veterans for Bush should hang their heads in shame.
Mr. Rassmann, a retired lieutenant with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, served with the U.S. Army 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam 1968-69.

Copyright © 2004 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Chuck DeVore

Elroy, I am not defaming Sen. Kerry's record. I am questioning his statement insinuating that military personnel are somehow not as smart as the general population. These comments and the comments of countless others like him who continue to hold a condescending attitude towards the volunteers of today’s military. The fact is that the members of the armed forces today are smarter, less likely to have a criminal record and more patriot than the general population.

As for previous comments that somehow more volunteers come from “blue states” -- if you take that to mean California and New York, then of course, as they are big states. Statistically, however, more recruits come from “red counties” especially in the South.

All the best,

Chuck DeVore
State Assemblyman, 70th District

Elroy El

Chuck,

The NY Times has an interesting take on the give and take in Kerry's remarks and the GOP.

Kerry and GOP Spar

DanC

Chuck --
I have a sense of humor; I laugh at your posts all the time (but your Register column on North Korea was killer!). Sarcasm doesn't always come through online, but you know that. And typos are committed on a regular basis; I will write Mr. Kerry, not wrote him, for example, but even Jubal/Matt has his fair share of typographical goobers too and I don't crucify him for it.

Quang; check your facts on the Swift Boat vets; most of their claims have been debunked by official Navy accounts. http://www.factcheck.org/article231.html

And check your facts on Max Cleland, who earned multiple medals for bravery and heroism **before** falling victim to an accident (not self-inflicted). I will hold up Kerry and Celland's military service to that of President Bush or Dick Cheney anyday (or that's right, Cheney had other priorities).

Republican Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, chose not to serve our country.

Former Republican House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay, chose not to serve our country.

Republican House Majority Whip, Roy Blunt, chose not to serve our country.

Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher chose not to serve our country.

Republican Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist, chose not to serve our country.

Republican Majority Whip, Mitch McConnell, chose not to serve our country.

Republican Rick Santorum, third ranking Republican in the Senate, chose not to serve our country.

Former Republican Majority Leader, Trent Lott, chose not to serve our country.

Republican Bush official Elliot Abrams, convicted in Iran contra, chose not to serve our country.

Attorney General John Ashcroft received 7 deferments.

Jeb Bush chose not to serve our country.

Bush's chief political guru, Karl Rove, chose not to serve our country.

Republican moralizer in chief, Bill Bennett, chose not to serve our country.

Sean Hannity chose not to serve our country, but has no trouble denegrating any Democrat veteran.

Bill O'Reilly chose not to serve our country.

Rush Limbaugh got out because of a “pilonidal cyst” (that's a boil on his butt), but has no trouble denegrating any Democrat veteran.

Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and serial adulterer, chose not to serve our country.

Co-leader neocon and Iraqi war booster, Paul Wolfowitz, had no trouble sending others to die in war, but chose not to serve our country himself.

Co-leader neocon Iraqi booster, Richard Perle, also had no trouble sending others to die and get maimed in Iraq, but chose not to serve our country himself.

Democrats who served: Representative Dick Gephardt, Representative Bonoir, Senator Tom Daschle, Vice President Al Gore, Senator Bob Kerry, Senator Inouye, Senator John Kerry, Representative Charles Rangel, Senator Max Cleland, Senator Teddy Kennedy, Senator Tom Harkin, Senator Jack Reed, Senator Fritz Hollings, Boswell, Peterson, Thompson, McBridge, Pete Stark, Gray Davis... Senator George McGovern, Senator John Glenn, Vice President Walter Mondale, and, except for Ike, President Jimmy Carter, who served more years in the service than any other president.

Of course, there are many Democrats who didn’t serve our country, including President Bill Clinton, so you may ding him for that. But at least he didn't call for cutting combat pay of soldiers already at war.

Elroy El

I have to admire this by the national Republican Party -- mounting a last-minute campaign against someone who is not running for office! The strategy will be 100% effective. Kerry will not win next Tuesday.

Quang

[Well Quang. I have to respectfully disagree with you on that one. The groups that attacked John Kerry attacked all veterans (including myself) who have served. When confronted with official military documents their retort was "don't believe official records, believe us". Which tells me I should question any veteran about any claims to service. Including yours, Chuck's, and Mickey Conroy's.]

Elroy El - you should question the record of any vets who run for public office including mine when I run. Kerry has sealed off his military records. I've seen mine since I had FOIA'd it (Freedom of Information Act) before writing my book. Reread the WSJ article you quoted. Kerrey was awarded a Bronze Star for saving Rassman.

DanC - I've seen the Chickenhawks posting at the New Hamshire Gazette website. Don't disagree with you there. Democrat Jim Webb's combat medals are legit. So are those of GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel.

War records should be seen for what they are. McCain, for example, is a POW survivor and not a hero to me. As a naval aviator, I view getting shot down by the enemy as an act of mistake and/or bad luck. Lastly Bush beat three Vietnam vets: Kerry, Gore and McCain. Clinton beat two WWII heroes: Bush 41 and Dole. A military record hardly counts as much any more for political office.

Elroy El

McCain, for example, is a POW survivor and not a hero to me. As a naval aviator, I view getting shot down by the enemy as an act of mistake and/or bad luck.
I sure hope your comment is in jest. McCain is hero to me. Getting shot down may be a lot of things, a mistake is not the way I would characterize that type of event. Flying into hostile airspace with people purposely shooting at you is not a mistake. I would characterize Bob Dornan's crashing an aircraft in a training mission as more of a mistake. I guess you can rationalize that as bad luck. Being in a combat arena puts him ahead of us who have never been in that type of environment.

Being a POW survivor makes McCain all the more impressive to me since he could have easily avoided the whole episode by having his daddy pull some stings and get him into the National Guard.

I must have a different perspective on service to country than the rest.

As far as questioning military records I'll just follow Dana Rohrbacher's lead when confronted with the hardships, dangers, and injuries of military personnel. In case you forgot, Dana's retort was "did he volunteer?" Apparently that allows one to lack empathy for our military personnel.

DanC

Let's take your comment to the next level Quang; does this mean every soldier who is shot, killed or wounded guilty of a mistake or bad luck? And if your comment on McCain can be applied to other wars as well, isn't that far worse than anything Kerry said yesterday.

My brother-in-law is getting his Lt. Colonel promotion this week in DC. He works at the Pentagon on the war in Afghanistan. We don't agree on much poliically, but he's one of the smartest guys I know and I am proud of his accomplishments. I think he would take umbrage to your statement on McCain.

Left out one other important Republican who didn't serve: Ronald Reagan.

Elroy El

Left out one other important Republican who didn't serve: Ronald Reagan.

DanC. Gotta correct you on that one. Reagan did serve. He was assigned to a unit in Panorama City. What makes this interesting is he once told Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir that he had witnessed the suffering of the concentration camps firsthand, filming their liberation with the Signal Corps in World War II. Not unless there were death camps along Santa Monica Boulevard. Reagan was in California for the entire war.

One can only imagine the field day the RNC would have with that comment had Reagan been a democrat.

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