Wednesday, September 29, 2004

MSNBC - U.S. draft dodgers to be honored in Nelson, B.C.: "USA - Artists and activists in Nelson, British Columbia, have announced plans for a monument and festival to honor U.S. draft dodgers who fled to Canada. The celebration, dubbed ``Our Way Home,'' is set for July 8th and 9th, 2006. Festival director Isaac Romano says the purpose is to recognize the ``legacy of Vietnam War resisters and the Canadians who helped them resettle in this country.

Dennis Klein, a sculptor and teacher at Kootenay School of the Arts, and artist Naomi Lewis have been chosen to make a bronze memorial depicting Canadians embracing the hands of American resisters."

-- Oh please.... Dr. King did not run away for his cause, he got arrested. These guys were not resisters.

OneMan

1 comment:

So-Called Austin Mayor said...

One Man,

I am not sure how I feel about this.

My dad, who served in a combat batallion in Vietnam, has never expressed an opinion on the issue of draft dodgers other than to say, "Guys did what they had to do."

On the other hand, my mother -- who had to sit at home with her two babies while her husband was getting shot at -- has a strong opinion, but not necessarily the one you might expect. She feels that there are two distinct classes of men who had to live through the Vietnam era: 1) those that behaved honorably and paid a price, and 2) those who behaved dishonorably and paid no price.

In the first class, she places those that served as active duty military and those that dodged the draft by running to Canada. She says that neither those sent to Vietnam or those who went to Canada could be sure that they would ever be able to return to the United States. When the dodgers went to Canada, they thought that they might be exiled there forever. And of course, when the young men went active duty, they knew they might be killed in Indo-China. Mom feels that in both cases the men in question "stood up." John Kerry, Al Gore, Tom Harkin, Colin Powell and John McCain all are honorable members of this group.

By contrast, she utterly dispises "soft draft dodgers." This category includes all those that used political connections or multiple, rolling deferments to avoid Vietnam but did not have to pay any price for doing so. They weren't willing to go to Vietnam, but they also weren't willing to stand up and pay a price to be counted as opposing the war. She feels that these men were merely covering their asses in the worst way. This dishonorable group includes Bill Clinton, Howard Dean, George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Tom DeLay, and Dennis Hastert.

I don't know if I share mom's view in its entirety -- it seems to me that many draft dodgers probably attempted to pull strings or get deferments but failed and only then packed their bags for the Great White North -- but it seems internally consistent and offers a different framework through which to view the issue of draft dodging.

-- So-Called "Austin Mayor"