I never served a day in the military. When I was eligible for the draft in 1970, I was (and still am) a conscientious objector. So it would be presumptuous of me to say that I know what it’s like to be a soldier on the front line in a war — Afghanistan, for example — and what those soldiers are going through or what they think about the course the war is going to take. You’d think the same would go for Dick Cheney, who also never wore the uniform. But you would be wrong.
I worry that there’s a lack of understanding there of what this means from the perspective of the troops. You know, if you’re out there on the line day in and day out and putting your life at risk on a volunteer basis for the nation, and you see the Commander in Chief unable, to or appearing to be unable, to make a decision about the way forward here — you know that raises serious doubts. Nobody wants to think of volunteering to be participate in that kind of operation.
Far be it from me to criticize Mr. Cheney for getting his five draft deferments for whatever reason he got them. But in opting out of serving — and having the wherewithal to do so when a lot of men did not — he surrendered any right to speak from the perspective of a soldier. So the only reason I can think of that he’s doing it now is to exploit the emotions of those people who are going through something he knows nothing about. That is deeply cynical, even for Mr. Cheney, especially since he was an integral part of the decision-making that sent those soldiers into battle in the first place.
By the way, if it was a Democratic former vice president who made such a statement under similar circumstances, he would have been tarred and feathered as unpatriotic and failing to support the troops in a time of war by the neocon/chickenhawk brigades on the right.