Vietnam

I Avoided Fighting in Vietnam and Have No Regrets

If anything, avoiding that war was a moral duty.

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National Archives and Records Administration

Hard to believe that 40 years ago the U.S. war in Vietnam ended. Actually, the war was against Indochina: remember Cambodia and Laos. (With previously unexploded ordnance from American cluster bombs killing people in those countries to this day, did the U.S. war really end?)

It's hard to believe because I can remember when I and the people around me thought the war would never end. It seemed like a permanent part of life. Night after night we'd turn on the network news and watch the reports of body counts—always more of "theirs" than of "ours"—yet we had no sense it would ever really end, despite talk of "victory."

When the Gulf of Tonkin "incident" occurred in August 1964 I was getting ready to start high school. I was only beginning to become politically aware. Being from a moderately conservative Republican family and hearing little or no dissent to that point, I assumed "our" involvement in Vietnam was necessary and proper. (I cringe now at what Barry Goldwater, whose pro-freedom rhetoric moved me, was saying about war, Vietnam, and the Soviet Union.)

Proper or not, however, I knew I didn't want "our" involvement to become my involvement. Members of my extended family who were military age looked without shame for ways to avoid what was obscenely called "service," that is, the draft. Flunking one's physical or finding refuge in the National Guard was an occasion for copious sighs of relief. Patriotism was a virtue, sure, but let's not take it too far—that was the attitude. The members of the older generation around me thought the war was a good thing—the communists had to be stopped—as long as no one they knew had to go over there, especially their kids. Dying in a jungle? If it had to be done, that was for other people's kids.

I didn't have Vietnam on my mind constantly while in high school, though I was surely aware that if you didn't get into college, you'd be gone and quite possibly a goner. I just can't recall obsessing about it, or even discussing it with my friends. I guess any effect the war might have on me seemed too far in the future to think about in the present. Maybe we told ourselves that somehow it would be over before we came of age—even as we thought it would remain a fixture of life forever. It was weird; that's all I can say.

Late in high school I bumped into libertarians for the first time, and that's when I started hearing antiwar talk. Back then most libertarians were still entangled with conservatives through Young Americans for Freedom (YAF). So I heard lots of prowar talk also. I remember that when YAF prepared for its national conventions, two committees considered updates to its policy statement, one for domestic policy and one for foreign policy. Each time, as I recall, the domestic-policy committee called for abolition of the draft, while the foreign-policy committee strongly endorsed the draft and the Vietnam War. To jump ahead for a moment, at the 1969 national convention in St. Louis—the great showdown between the majority conservatives and minority libertarians—a guy got attacked for (legally) burning a copy of a draft card. (Brian Doherty reports on the incident in Radicals for Capitalism: A Free-Wheeling History of the Modern Libertarian Movement.) Thank goodness that was the end of the libertarian participation in the conservative movement.

The draft. That was the big, fat looming factor in our lives. You'd better get into college, or you'll find yourself on the way to an induction center with the next stop Vietnam. Once I entered college, in September 1967 (Temple University in my hometown, Philadelphia), I had Vietnam on my mind more often. The protests were in full swing. The Cold War propaganda I'd absorbed in earlier years was being erased by my encounters, both in person and in writing, with the likes of Murray Rothbard, Leonard Liggio, Karl Hess, Roy Childs, and others. They helped me make sense of the traditional leftist critique of the war. I now had an ideological reason to refuse to be part of that criminal operation, aside from simply not wanting to die over there. (Like Dick Cheney, who got multiple grad-school deferments from the Vietnam draft, I had "other priorities.")

At one point I sought counseling about conscientious-objector status from the American Friends Service Committee. I always enjoyed sitting down with the bearded guy in an army jacket who explained the application process to me. The antiwar culture was comforting; I felt at home. I remember filling out the paperwork, though I was pessimistic I'd ever be granted CO status. Back then your antiwar convictions had to be part of the tradition of a recognized religion. By that time I had no religion, no god. (The rules have since changed. In theory, members of the armed forces can apply for discharge as COs on nonreligious moral grounds.)

In my senior year I had a job interview with a newspaper in Ohio; I wanted to be a reporter. The interview went well, but the editor told me that until I was clear of the draft he could not offer me the job. That drove the point home. My future was shrouded in uncertainty because the state claimed the authority to seize me and send me thousands of miles away, where I would be ordered to kill perfect strangers who never even threatened to do me, my family, or my friends any harm.

One day I got a letter from the local draft board ordering me to report for a physical exam. Now this was getting a little too close for comfort. The abstract was becoming concrete. I duly reported for what would be the most depressing and humiliating day of my life. But I went in with a strategy. First, I had my doctor write a note explaining that I had severe hay fever, a condition that would make me a "liability" to the armed forces. (I had hay fever but it was not exactly severe.) Second, my parents knew a civilian doctor who helped administer physicals for the draft board, so I planned to position myself in order to present my doctor's note to him. I guess I was supposed to mention who my parents were, and that would prompt him to give me a medical deferment.

Things did not work out as planned. After I-don't-know-how-many hours of being poked and probed while in my skivvies by authoritarian army medical personnel, I looked at the several doctors in white coats who were ready to hear our excuses for why we should not be classified 1-A. Unfortunately, none of them looked like the doctor my parents knew, and I saw no name plates. Now what? I picked the oldest one, thinking that must be him. (It wasn't. He apparently wasn't on duty that day.) I sat down at his desk and gave him my note. He looked it over, showing no recognition of my last name.

"Well," he said, "I'm going to need more information from your doctor, such as the date of your last allergy attack and what medication you took."

My heart sank. I'll have to come back to this place?

But then he interrupted himself, stood up, and left the room. When he came back a few minutes later he said, "We get contradictory instructions every day. This [note] is fine."

Then he added, "This morning your blood pressure was high. We're supposed to take it again now, but I'll leave it as high."

He classified me 1-Y (not the more preferred 4-F: "Registrant not acceptable for military service"). 1-Y meant:

Registrant available for military service, but qualified only in case of war or national emergency. Usually given to registrants with medical conditions that were limiting but not disabling (examples: high blood pressure, mild muscular or skeletal injuries or disorders, skin disorders, severe allergies, etc.).

He could have entered an expiration date, requiring me to have another physical, but he left that space blank.

I was free! What had been the bleakest day of my life ended as one of the most joyous. I don't know who that doctor was or why he did what he did. But I will always be grateful.

So, yes, I dodged the draft and avoided Vietnam. Do I regret it? You've got to be kidding! Amazingly, some members of my generation say they do regret it. I recall that a couple of journalists associated with Charles Peters's neoliberal Washington Monthly wrote articles lamenting that they had ducked out of their generation's greatest challenge and confessing that this shirking of responsibility haunted them. After all, they wrote, their fathers rose to their challenge, World War II. How could their fathers' sons hold their heads high knowing that when the heat was on they found shelter in the safety of a college campus?

I don't understand that view at all. Vietnam doesn't deserve to be called a generation's great challenge. It was a criminal war of aggression waged against innocent people by American politicians and bureaucrats without an trace of honor or decency. Millions of Indochinese people were murdered. Nearly 60,000 Americans died. The blood stains on America will never be washed off.

If anything, avoiding that war was a moral duty. Thank goodness I was able to avoid it.

This column originally appeared at Free Association

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419 responses to “I Avoided Fighting in Vietnam and Have No Regrets

  1. You are a Coward. You hate your country, which gives you the right to say crap about the USA. Yet you are TOO STUPID to recognize the irony.

    1. “your country, which gives you the right to say crap about the USA.”

      Like they’re presents for good behavior, or part of a gift bag for membership?

      The USA doesn’t give anyone any rights. Your rights are *your* rights, The Declaration of Independence recognizes them as self-evident, the government is only supposed to protect them.

      1. Protect them and NOT INFRINGE on them…

      2. It seems you miss the irony Chuck is referring to as well.

        While I agree with you that our rights are our rights ,if you were a citizen of the Soviet Union and tried to exercise that right you would have found it non existent.

        The irony is that he hates the country with the Declaration that allows him the freedom to badmouth it.

        1. And Shelly is most certainly a coward.

        2. I don’t see any irony in objectively criticizing a Gov’t–as distinct from the country–that is in the predicament (most often) of being politically obligated to respect free speech. In fact, one critical function and virtue of free speech is to criticized Gov’t policy and conduct. Seeing the exercise of free speech to criticized Gov’t action that deserves hate and correction as “irony” is an abject failure to understand free speech and a Gov’t that is to be controlled by the People and limited to prevent immoral pursuits.

          1. You should get your irony detector recalibrated.

            1. there was nothing intentionally ironic about the first comment in this thread.

    2. You are aware that the war perpetrated against Viet Nam was based on a lie…..

      Or no? It’s declassified. You can look at the government documents and listen to recordings.

      1. I meant that to chucky

    3. How did fighting in Vietnam do anything good for the USA? Was 60,000 dead good for the USA? Are billions in debt good for the USA?

    4. Piss off, slaver.

    5. Fuck you, statist slave pig-fucker. Go suck the President’s dick if you love his authority so much.

    6. I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h? Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link… Try it, you won’t regret it!……
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    7. I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h? Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link… Try it, you won’t regret it!……
      http://www.work-cash.com

    8. You, Chuck, are a statist puppet who has no sense of right and wrong beyond the “duty” imposed by the elite–even when they claim the right to own and enslave, not to defend Americans from aggression, but to initiate aggression against a people seeking self determination. In short Chuck, you are an evil person, the kind responsible for good people hating America.

      1. As I recall, about half of that people seeking seeking self determination had ideas other than becoming communist. What about them?

        As far as I’m concerned there is no right to own and enslave – not even to defend Americans against aggression, but likewise there is no right for half of a country to impose an immoral communist system of slavery-to-the-collective on the other half either. And there is nothing immoral about voluntarily defending that other half if they want help.

  2. Sheldon trolls Hit & Runpublicans on a level that the rest of us can only dream of. I salute you sir.

    1. Isn’t this the same guy who said the American sniper and Adam Lanza are the same?

      Vietnam sort of became our friend over the years. That wouldn’t have been true in Korea.

      I certainly would have tried to avoid the Vietnam war if I was ever drafted.

      1. Lived in korea for several years and the fact is the younger generation is becoming quite anti-US (the older generations still love the USA though).

        But every time I’ve been to Vietnam I’ve experienced nothing but positive views of the US. This is true for both the younger and older generations. Now I haven’t lived there so my experience is more limited, but still.

      2. Of course no one should have been drafted for the illegal war based on a lie that Vietnam was, but it’s not particularly courageous to use an out from a doctor friend instead of disobeying. In a case like this the moral thing to do would be to simply refuse to go and get sent to prison instead for civil disobedience. But that’s a lot harder than hiding behind a doctor’s note.

        In fairness, I’m not sure I would have had to courage to do that back then. I’d like to think I would have, but I don’t know.

        1. Of course no one should have been drafted for the illegal war based on a lie that Vietnam was,

          ftfy

          When someone initiates physical force against you to the point of it being an immediate threat to your life or freedom, don’t you think such questions of the moral thing to do are kinda off the table?

          1. It was nice of him to open a slot for someone else to get drafted. He’s a humanitarian.

            1. So …. if someone tries to mug me and I run off, it is my fault that someone else gets mugged?

              1. I don’t follow your analogy.

                1. a draft is an act of physical coercion where the state is the aggressor and the draftee is the victim. blaming a draftee for avoiding a draft, as you did, is victim blaming. the draftee has no moral responsibilty for the agressor, the state.

                  Got it?

          2. No. Morals/principles can never be off the table. Either we believe what we believe, or we don’t. We are not animals. There are some things more important than life itself.

            But that’s just me.

      3. The Vietnamese are friends in trade and tourism. They don’t hate Americans for this reason: They beat us, they won the war. It is easy to forgive when you justly won a war. Look at our relationship with Japan, Germany and Italy–all good trade partners and friends.

    2. sheldon brings the lulz

      1. Slurp slurp.

    3. The dig against Ricky Cheney was a nice touch.

      1. I have no love for Cheney, but I thought he got his draft deferments by having congenital heart disease. Can’t really fault a man for being physically unfit, can you?

        1. Student deferments, and he got 5 because he took six years to graduate instead of 4, allegedly due to poor academic performance.

          1. Ah! Thank you very much for that.

    4. And yet he still completely misses. Stupid loves stupid.

  3. I’m glad you weren’t forced to go fight and risk your life in a war you disagreed with, Mr. Richman. However…

    It was a criminal war of aggression waged against innocent people by American politicians and bureaucrats without an trace of honor or decency.

    Up yours, Mr. Richman.

    Was the draft morally wrong? Absolutely. A draft always is.

    Was the Indochina conflict something the US should have been involved in? People disagree on that. You’re entitled to your opinion.

    Criminal? Only if non-interventionism is some kind of moral law, which it isn’t.

    Aggression? Patently and objectively false. The US was on the side of the country — South Vietnam — being invaded and conquered. We sided with the victims of aggression.

    1. So why aren’t you still fighting for South Vietnam against the communists? Vietnam is still commmunist today, when are you buying a M-16 and flying off there to fight to good fight?

      1. Why? Because like some of us, he’s probably busy fighting off the fucking commies in this country. Take a good look at what this country’s government has turned into over the last forty, fifty, sixty years and then try to tell me that we should be more concerned with some other country’s freedom.

      2. Why can’t you make a comment that isn’t retarded?

        1. Just following your example.

          1. P.S. I like seeing how frenetic your comments become. I imagine the veins in your neck popping out and foam around your lips. It’s quite enjoyable.

      3. You seem to have me confused with those folks calling Richman a coward. I am not. I’m taking issue with his saying that defending South Vietnam from communist takeover was inherently immoral, taken separately from the draft. It falls into the “morally commendable but not morally obligatory” category. I don’t consider his not going to be a moral failing. Everyone is free to decide for themselves for what cause they will or will not risk their lives — or undertake any lesser risk or price, for that matter. I’m a libertarian, after all. I’m just not a twisted, dictatorship-excusing, blackwhite-practicing, “Yay, Saigon fell, great day for freedom!” piece of fetid Rothbardian crap.

        But to take your silly question seriously for a moment, the place to fight collectivism today is here in the US. Vietnam is moving slowly towards freedom. We’re moving in the other direction.

        1. “a libertarian, after all. I’m just not a twisted, dictatorship-excusing, blackwhite-practicing, “Yay, Saigon fell, great day for freedom!” piece of fetid Rothbardian crap.”

          Can someone say strawman?

          1. You can say it, but you’d be wrong.

            http://tomgpalmer.com/2005/04/…..a-state-4/

    2. But if it wasn’t a “criminal” war, then he might have to face that he dodged the draft because he didn’t give a fat damn about what a totalatarian government might choose to do to little brown people, so long as he didn’t have to risk his Western White Arse. And that might make him think that maybe he isn’t a Wonderful Person, which would be Really Dreadful.

      1. And if he were relating a different story, your comments might have some bearing.

      2. “But if it wasn’t a “criminal” war, then he might have to face that he dodged the draft because he didn’t give a fat damn about what a totalatarian government might choose to do to little brown people,”

        Those ‘little brown people’ wholeheartedly supported that totalitarian government. And regardless, the US still had no business sticking its nose in there.

    3. I definitely see non-interventionism as a moral law. As in, don’t take my money against my will and use it to kill people overseas for the benefit of the military-industrial complex under the pretense of protecting human rights.

      1. for the benefit of the military-industrial complex

        BINGO! I have been convinced for many years that the primary reason the Vietnam war lasted as long as it did was because lots of people were making lots of money off it.

        1. No, it lasted as long as it did because President Nixon was afraid to admit it was lost until after he had won re-election.

          1. I don’t remember Nixon ever admitting defeat. With him (and Kissinger) it was “peace with honor” and saving face for the United States. In other words, making sure the rest of the world didn’t stop taking us seriously ( particularly after having defaulted on our currency.) Also, I think Nixon genuinely didn’t want all the lives and treasure we had expended there – not just under his administration, but quite a number before his – to have been completely in vain. I believe he knew we could not win, but wanted to leave the North in as weak a position as possible. Even so, he had to have known the North could not be trusted to abide by terms and that the South would quickly be overrun. Pity the last American who died there simply because the war was prolonged enough for the US to save face. To this day I still remember Kissinger getting off the plane coming home from the Peace Talks in the Fall of ’72, exclaiming “peace is at hand.” Wasn’t that the original version of the October Surprise?

            Many people either don’t know or have forgotten that the war lasted a long time before Nixon ever became president. It had been going on since the ’40s with various levels of American involvement.

          2. Actually, no. The terms of the Paris accords were a victory for the US and South Vietnam. Nixon lost the war via Watergate, which swept in a Democrat majority, who then reneged on our “supply and support” commitments when the North began its offensive in 1975.

    4. Shelly always sides with brutal oppressors like Marxists and Muslim radical fundamentalists. Not sure why progs like himdo this. Maybe he enjoys fear boners. Probably the only way he can get off. Because of his sick fetish.

      It would explain a lot.

    5. David, I understand and can sympathize with your sentiments. I used to carry them myself 40+ years ago. What destroyed my own were the Dictators we put in charge of the South. They were horrible. Some where worse than charlie was. We knew what they did. Terrible things. No, if America had been interested in morals we would have shot them ourselves rather than put them in power. Vietnam and “morals” are two words that should never be used in the same sentence.

      That war destroyed the idea of Liberty for an entire generation of Americans. Especially the poor soldiers who had to live it. God bless em.

      The only thing I see the author missed was admitting what he and lots of people felt…..fear. War should scare the hell out of any sane man.

  4. Furthermore…

    …where I would be ordered to kill perfect strangers who never even threatened to do me, my family, or my friends any harm.

    There is no libertarian requirement that someone must aggress against you (or your friends) in order to make it moral for you to use force against them. They merely must have aggressed against someone. You are under no obligation to do act against the aggressor, so let me once more underscore my position that the draft was grossly immoral and that you were within your rights to avoid it. But if someone in 1972 had voluntarily bought a gun and a ticket to Saigon to fight the NVA, the act would not be immoral by any coherent libertarian standard. On the contrary, it would have been virtuous.

    Do you disagree with that? Or are you just not willing/able to separate the “should the US government have done that thing?” question from the “was doing that thing inherently immoral?” question?

    1. If the draft was grossly immoral, so was paying taxes in order to fund military operations in SE Asia.

      1. Sadly, that argument won’t do anything for you in tax court.

        1. Didn’t do much with the draft board in those days either.

      2. If the draft was grossly immoral, so was paying taxes in order to fund military operations in SE Asia.

        Only if you paid them voluntarily. Last I heard, taxes aren’t voluntary – anymore than the draft was.

        1. This is kind of why I have an issue with his idea that avoiding service in Vietnam was a moral obligation. Like people really had a choice…

      3. First, Richman described the war as a “war of aggression”, which is a judgement separate from “who and how funded.” For his statement to not be pure unadulterated BS, it would have to still be a “war of aggression” if a volunteer NGO or for-profit corporation defended South Vietnam as the US military did historically.

        Secondly, as I’ve said before, “it’s paid for with taxes” is not an anti-interventionism argument. It’s a pro-anarchy argument. Defending the the US from invasion would be paid for via taxes, just as the SE Asia war was, and be just as immoral from an anarchist perspective.

        Further, what the “tax-paid interventions are immoral” argument forgets is that the government’s mandate is to “secure these rights”, not “defend this territory”, and that interventions are perceived by those who advocate them as making the rights of Americans more secure. You may think such a strategy is incredibly stupid, wasteful, and counter-productive. You may even be right. But that’s not a moral argument, it’s an efficacy argument, in the same class as “should we arm our planes entirely with missiles, or should they still have guns?”

    2. The communist are still running Vietnam in 2015, when are you going to buy a gun and a ticket to Vietnam and fight the communists?

      1. Because making an abstract point about the morality of taking retaliatory action on behalf of someone else is not the same as a call to action?

        You’ve inverted the “America: Love it or leave it” bumper sticker and you don’t realize it’s just as retarded in your formulation.

        1. No, I just asked why he thought buying a gun and a ticket to Vietnam in 1972 made sense and yet does not do it today.

          1. I don’t think Emami was objecting to someone doing so today, just that using 1972 better served the specific example (there was certainly a higher degree of immediacy given invasion of South Vietnam than today where there is no active conflict). The point was about the morality of war. Absent coercion, intervention on behalf of a victim of aggression isn’t immoral from a NAP perspective.

        2. It’s not so much about the morality of taking retaliatory action on behalf of someone else as it is about the morality of taking our hard-earned money and giving it to defense contractors to make them rich under the pretense of “retaliatory action on behalf of someone else.” Oh yeah, and the morality of killing civilians, raping women, destroying property, and spreading agent orange to cause widespread environmental damage.

      2. That’s the saddest part of it all. All those guys killed for nothing.

  5. You avoided the conflict because you were a coward, as you are today. The, you were afraid of dying. (And you response was not courage , but dodging the draft and running scared.) Today, you’re afraid of telling the truth: i.e. that you were then a coward. And so you tell us i all made no sense. That’s an artful dodge, surely; from a less than artful dodger.
    Your hindsight does not enoble your cowardice. The masters were wrong; but you were just a coward. The war was immoral; and you were still a coward. And the world has learned; but you are still a coward. When so many did their duty; however misguided; you did not. When so many (nearly 60,000 ) died; you were home smoking dope. You were, and are, a coward. Plain and simple: you are a coward.

    1. When so many did their duty; however misguided; you did not.

      Duty is something taken on voluntarily. There’s nothing voluntary about conscription.

    2. What is wrong with cowardness? If a pack of wolves was after you would you bravely stand and fight or hide inside the outhouse until they went away?

      As to duty, what duty? To Vietnam? Nobody cares about communists in Vietnam today, why should they have cared 40 years ago?

      1. That is not cowardice. A true coward is one who knows what course of action is best, but lets his fear of the possible outcome prevent him from taking that course.

        For example: the passengers who resisted the hijackers on Flight 93, on 9/11. They knew they stood almost a certainty of dying and yet they acted anyway. If they had let their fear keep them in their seats, they would have been abject cowards…and just as dead.

        1. Why do I have a feeling DJF is VERY well acquainted with the motivations of a coward?

      2. Fear can be a healthy thing. Abject cowardice is not.

    3. How many years did you spend in the military kjml? Because if its less than a full two decades then why aren’t you also coward.

      No matter what the reasoning behind the conflict is, the fact remains that conscription is slavery. Avoiding the draft is the moral thing to do, even if you’re supposedly fighting to save your nation.

      1. Not necessarily the moral thing to do, but certainly not immoral. When someone initiates force against you moral considerations are more or less removed from the table.

        1. Well when someone shoots at your neighbor and someone else comes along and says that since someone shot at your neighbor they’re going to enslave you ‘for the greater good’, I think the ‘right’ thing to do is not submit but go and shoot at both of them.

          As always though, real life is more complicated and you have to weigh threats. *Volunteer* to shoot at the first bastards and then go after the second when the first has been dealt with.

      2. Less than two decades? Shirker! Thirty years or you are a great big fraidy cat!

    4. kjml logic:

      “I don’t want to go kill people.”

      “Coward!!!!”

  6. Your attempt to make the Vietnam war a case study in Libertarian awakening is pathetic. You dishonor the memory and the sacrifice of all those who served, and all who lost ones they loved in service to their country. The stupid claim that you were a budding Libertarian in high school in those times is ludicrous! There was never a libertarian thought in your mind and you know it. You were a rich, white kid who didn’t have to go. [You let the “Niggers” do your dirty work!]

    The fact that Reason published this [piece of tendentious fiction makes me reconsider EVER looking in here again. After 40 F’in’ years, we still cannot even be honest!

    Does Reason really need copy so badly that they will stoop to this horseshit?

      1. a comment so nice i made it twice. srsly though, dont let the door hit your ass on the way out. defending military conscription isnt real big on the agenda here.

        1. defending military conscription isnt real big on the agenda here.

          He didn’t really make clear his views on the draft. He just said Richman was a coward for dodging it (simultaneous opposition to the draft and disrespect for those who dodged it isn’t that uncommon, especially among certain people of that generation). That opinion probably doesn’t stir the loins of most around here as much as it does you.

      2. Nonetheless, the comment about Richman being a rich White kid who had the means and wherewithal to escape that which others could not escape is apt.

        P.J. O’Rourke also avoided the draft, but years later realized that it meant only that some other poor slob went in his place. That is why he felt regret, famously writing that he hoped to meet the poor slob one day, and that the poor slob would punch him in the mouth. Richman obviously feels no such responsibility to the person who could not afford college, and who did not have compliant doctors as friends of the family, who went in his place.

        1. Of course the particular poor slob might have been dead.

        2. I’ve always felt conflicted about whether or not to pass judgment on draft dodgers. On one end, they bailed on their country; neighbors and friends who did go over. On the other, the acted out of free will and challenged the authority of the state in a questionable war. A people without a conscience or don’t think – ‘question authority’ – is a dead one to me.

          Canada got a few American DDs. A couple of them ended up in media. And the thing I don’t appreciated about them is they came up here and spewed all kinds of liberal and progressive crap. One in particular to this day manages to keep a sports writing job while insisting on mixing in his Daily Kos poltiical views in many of his posts never realizing he sounds like a child who never evolved intellectually. That and plus the fact he’s a really shitty sports writer. One of those writers where you rarely – if ever – learn anything from them.

          My point is at least have the decency to be aware you’re a DD and don’t antagonize readers either about your views on politics.

        3. This. My uncles on my mom’s side were drafted because they couldn’t afford college at the time and when they fortunately returned they were spat on by elitist shits like Richman who confused their privilege with morality.

          1. Hear, hear.

          2. Your uncles were either misguided (mistakenly thought the war was morally acceptable), or they were weaklings, suckers, and cowards like all soldiers. If they had had balls they would have resisted, fled to Canada, or willingly gone to prison.

            I won’t say they deserved to be spat on–they deserve our pity for being deprived of their liberty by an overreaching government–but they don’t deserve to be hailed as heroes either.

            Read THE GOOD SOLDIER SVEJK by Jaroslav Hasek.

            1. Intelligent Mr Toad|5.3.15 @ 10:44PM|#
              “Your uncles were either misguided (mistakenly thought the war was morally acceptable), or they were weaklings, suckers, and cowards like all soldiers. If they had had balls they would have resisted, fled to Canada, or willingly gone to prison.”

              Yep, internet tuff gais all over this evening.
              I presume you’re in jail for resisting the IRS? You do have balls, don’t you?

        4. The poor slob who went deserves what he got–he’s a sucker and a weakling. If he had had balls he would have avoided the draft too, by fleeing to Canada if necessary. Or he would have willingly gone to prison. Serving in the military is immoral and stupid and those who submit to it deserve what they get. The military is a scam and the only good it does is that it funds some basic-science research in materials science and computer science.

          If I had been draft-age during the Vietnam war I would have fled to Canada (or gone CO–I went to a Quaker high school where non-violence was taught every day, and my claim for CO status would have been pretty strong.)

          I was draft age when Jimmy Carter re-instated registration for the draft in an effort to make himself look tough for his re-election bid. I was weak–I obeyed the law and registered for the draft–and I have always regretted this. I should have shit into an envelope and sent that to the registration office instead.

          1. Actually now that I think of it, I probably wouldn’t have had to flee–I have always had extremely flat feet.

    1. You dishonor the memory and the sacrifice of all those who served, and all who lost ones they loved in service to their country.

      You’re trying to put some sort of gloss on the fact that these people died as slaves. They didn’t *make* sacrifices, they *were* sacrifices. The didn’t serve their country, they were used by it.

      1. Hear hear. Exactly right.

    2. Conscription isn’t service or “doing your duty” any more than paying taxes is charity or serving time in prison is making amends. If Vietnam was patriotic and morally right, why should anyone who had to be dragged into it via the heavy hand of the law get any credit?

      I saw (true story) a bunch of county prisoners in orange suits cleaning up the main street of my town day before last. Should I have stopped and shook their hands and thanked them for their service on the way through?

      1. Not really the same thing.

    3. he was brave to write because he knew nationalists would attack him and call him weak for his position against war and sending young men to die for nothing

      The Cold War was bs (iam in no way defending communism it is terrible and leads to mass oppression and genocide) however history shows us that communist countries do not last they become isolated and cut off contact with the rest of the world (ex North Korea) they collapse from the inside (ex Soviet Union)
      Or they just simply begin to give up on communism (ex China 1980s-present) our wars didn’t destroy the soviet Unions appetite for war destroyed it there economy was stymied that the only war to grow it was through satellite states it was only a matter of time before it collapsed on itself like it did

      Now we’ve become the monster we most despise perpetual war is all we know (war on poverty, war on drugs, war on terror)

      How far the Apple has fallen from the tree

    4. “[…]The fact that Reason published this [piece of tendentious fiction makes me reconsider EVER looking in here again.[…]”

      Door, ass; you get the point.

  7. When did Congress declare war? Where in the Constitution does Congress get the power to enslave citizens?

  8. You’re a pussy, but at least you’re honest about it.

  9. So many internet tuff gais.

  10. Ya know, if someone broke into my house and threatened my wife and kids with nothing but his bare hands and I ran out of the house and hid in the bushes, I might consent to being called a coward.

    Avoiding being conscripted — or even ASKED — to go on the other side of the world and kill people and risk my hearing, sight, limbs, life, and/or sanity to fight against people I don’t know in a war that made little difference in the grand scheme of things and which my children are unable to find on a map, is not cowardice — it’s F***ING common sense.

    By the way, the above fits Vietnam, Iraq, and fill-in-the-blank.

    1. I don’t buy the Vietnam didn’t make a bit of difference meme. Communism at the time was an aggressive expansionist ideology and it was necessary to fight wars to stop its spread. That little detail is something that douchebags like Richman always ignore.

      1. Yeah, todays communists are good communists, they provide the free traders with cheap labor who won’t cause problems because they are afraid of being sent off to prison or just having a bullet put in their head by the communist party and its military/police.

        Nobody cares about Vietnam being a communist dictatorship today, why should 60,000 Americans have died 40 years ago to stop them being communist.

        If Vietnam was so important 40 years ago to fight an undeclared war why aren’t the chicken hawks of today fighting for Vietnam now? No, instead they are happy to make deals with the communist government which give the communist billions to maintain power.

        1. Regardless of the merits of Vietnam and containment as a strategy in general, comparing the geopolitics communism during the Cold War to today is pretty retarded.

          1. Are todays communists still dictators?

            Are todays communists still murderers?

            Are today’s communist still thieves?

            Aret today’s communists still slavers?

            Sounds to me they are still the same.

            As to geopolitics, I had no interest in Southeast Asia geopolitics 40 years ago and have none today.

            1. Clearly the American government did and still does.

              Though.

            2. Yes.

              Yes.

              Yes.

              Yes.

              As to geopolitics, I had no interest in Southeast Asia geopolitics 40 years ago and have none today.

              Clearly.

              To fill you in: the difference today isn’t that Vietnam’s government is a capitalist utopia (although it ain’t exactly the same outfit as it was 40 years ago), it’s that a global nuclear superpower annexing territory and expanding the sphere of influence of its political ideology is no longer operating dozens of client states that pose a risk to global security and commerce.

              Doesn’t mean containment was the right strategy, or that Vietnam was the right theater for that strategy. But the underlying geopolitics today are very different.

              1. “”””it’s that a global nuclear superpower annexing territory and expanding the sphere of influence of its political ideology is no longer operating dozens of client states “””‘

                You mean those communist economic basket cases which sped the collapse of the Soviet Union? The more failed communist client states they had the more problems they had. And the US taking on the corrupt South Vietnam basket case did no good for the US economy or people either

                “”””‘that pose a risk to global security and commerce.””””

                So once again the globalists can’t pay for their own interests and they get the US blood and money to fight for them. The US public had no need for commerce with Vietnam 40 years ago or now, and certainly not at the cost of 60,000 dead, billions in debt and further degrading the US economy into mess it is now.

                When are the globaist free traders going to pay their own way??????? If international bank or trading house want trade to protect their interest in Vietnam then send their own people and pay for it themselves.

                1. You mean those communist economic basket cases which sped the collapse of the Soviet Union? The more failed communist client states they had the more problems they had.

                  True in a sense, and part of the reason why I said:

                  Doesn’t mean containment was the right strategy, or that Vietnam was the right theater for that strategy.

                  However, totalitarian governments don’t have to last forever, they just have to last “long enough”. German National Socialism wasn’t sustainable as a political and economic system either, but I think there was a point where intervention in Hitler’s European expansion was justified (certainly by European nations, if not by the United States).

                  1. Hitler declared war on and attacked the U.S. Vietnam was a French colony that they couldn’t hold on to so we got involved; based on a lie.

                    1. To say he attacked the U.S. is to use a very low bar for what “attacked” means in a war context. Yes, a couple U-boats attacked American ships but it wasn’t like he was running sorties over NYC.

                    2. Moridin|5.3.15 @ 2:17PM|#
                      “Hitler declared war on and attacked the U.S. Vietnam was a French colony that they couldn’t hold on to so we got involved; based on a lie.”

                      The original lie was this:
                      de Gaulle: ‘If I don’t give all this free shit to my subjects, they’ll throw me out and turn communist! And I can’t afford to do that and fight to save my colony in Vietnam!’
                      Truman: ‘OK, I’ll send in some advisors to help, but nothing more!’

                  2. Well Hitler did declare war on us. Most people seem to forget that particular fact.

              2. It’s that a global nuclear superpower annexing territory and expanding the sphere of influence of its political ideology . . .

                Hmm, that reminds me of a more modern state.

                1. Hmm, that reminds me of a more modern state.

                  Derpity derp.

                  You can’t out-Richman Richman in his own thread.

                  1. Yep, because we’re certainly not annexing territory and expanding the sphere of our political ideology – at the point of a gun if necessary.

            3. Are todays communists still dictators?

              Are todays communists still murderers?

              Are today’s communist still thieves?

              Aret today’s communists still slavers?

              Which of these didn’t apply just as well to Nguy?n V?n Thi?u’s government?

        2. You can’t look at Vietnam in isolation to everything else that was happening in the world. Had the US taken a doctrinaire libertarian position following WWII it is entirely possible that communists would have been able to impose a world wide communist paradigm. And if your rejection of that possibility centers on the failure of communism to deliver the goods, well I’m sure that thought is very comforting to people in North Korea’s concentration camps today.

          1. Why would that happen, do you believe in the communist system?

            Communism is a failed system which would collapse or be a basket case like North Korea. It has never been able to provide for itself and only keeps on going because of outside help, often from unwilling taxpayers of non-communist countries or from the ‘free traders” who supply the money in exchange for goods stolen from the people of the communist country at the point of a gun.

            China today would either have collapsed or be another North Korea or Cuba if not for the ‘free traders’ bailing them out.

            1. Why would that happen, do you believe in the communist system?

              It could happen for the same reason that communists seized control of Russia and China and Vietnam and Cuba and other places. A small ideological group willing to use violence will succeed if they are not opposed. Communism never succeeded via popular election but they were able to seize power over a large swath of the world’s population.

              Refusing to acknowledge the reality that violence works and must be countered to preserve liberty is a fatal flaw in a large number of libertarians. It would be great to live in a world free of evil people willing to use violence to impose their will, unfortunate we don’t, never have and never will.

              1. So you are saying that the communists could sieze control of the USA? IF so we better not waste any money or troops off in distant SouthEast Asia and instead keep the USA safe, solvent and non-communist.

                Remember, War is the closest to communism of any State activity. Huge increase in government, debt, control of the economy and slavery for those drafted into military or industrial service.

                1. So you are saying that the communists could sieze control of the USA?

                  Sure, why not. 30+% of the population is sympathetic to their bullshit. If communists were taking over country after country around the world you can goddamn guarantee that quislings here would impose communism lite.

                2. DJF, I’m not so sure of that – at least anymore. The West was a pretty mighty war machine from, say, the 11th century right up to WWII.

                  All profit seeking (or at least debt managing) entities when you scratch them to their basic root.

                  1. DJF is correct it’s exactly why the US didn’t get involved in ww2 earlier we feared that joining the war could cause Facism here

                    Civil liberty Always takes a beating at times of war

                3. Could? DJF, you’re soaking in it.

                4. So you are saying that the communists could seize control of the USA?

                  Yeah, they did that a while back. The completed their long march through academia, and then picked one of their prime indoctrinated subjects of that long march and made him President.

                  Communist Frank Marshall Davis’ protege is President of the US. Communists have seized control of much of the US and are advancing their agenda.

            2. Why would that happen, do you believe in the communist system?

              It could happen for the same reason that communists seized control of Russia and China and Vietnam and Cuba and other places. A small ideological group willing to use violence will succeed if they are not opposed. Communism never succeeded via popular election but they were able to seize power over a large swath of the world’s population.

              Refusing to acknowledge the reality that violence works and must be countered to preserve liberty is a fatal flaw in a large number of libertarians. It would be great to live in a world free of evil people willing to use violence to impose their will, unfortunate we don’t, never have and never will.

              1. Refusing to acknowledge the reality that violence works and must be countered to preserve liberty is a fatal flaw in a large number of libertarians.

                Whose liberty?

                Why should I pay to preserve the liberty of another who obviously didn’t care enough about their own liberty to prepare an adequate defense?

                AND…

                The easiest way (least bloody) to defeat communism is to allow it to defeat itself, provided it’s not me that has to live in such an environment. I certainly would be more than happy to fight for liberty on my own piece of dirt. Not so much for those who obviously don’t give a shit.

                1. The easiest way (least bloody) to defeat communism is to allow it to defeat itself.

                  The pile of corpses killed by communists in the last hundred years disproves this assertion.

                  1. Not my corpses.

                    How many of those were American corpses killed by communism on American soil?

                    I have no obligation to defend others, let alone others who didn’t care to defend themselves.

                    We keep a strong military so we can come to the aid of those without one? Is that how it works? I’m on the hook for the defense of those who don’t contribute or don’t have the forethought to prepare adequately for their own defense?

                    No. With that philosophy you devolve to a constant state of conflict….or in other words…the World’s Police Force.

                    1. How many of those were American corpses killed by communism on American soil?

                      None, which was the whole point of fighting them over there so that it wouldn’t reach our shores. A success which you neatly invert.

                      Fortunately we don’t live in the world where we’d lament:

                      I did nothing when the came for the Chinese, because that was far far away.
                      And I did nothing when they got Vietnam for the same reason,
                      And then Cuba fell, but it still wasn’t my problem
                      And Mexico and Canada but I said nothing because I’m not Mexican or Canadian.
                      And then they came for me and there was no one left to help.

                    2. And then they came for me and there was no one left to help.

                      WE…don’t need anyone to help.

                      Get it?

                    3. It’s hilarious that you treat Soviet communism as some kind of hyper-competent system capable of world-spanning ideological dominance that was only stopped by throwing American soldiers into foreign conflicts.

                      Really you’re just constructing vague hypotheticals based on your bias. You don’t have a shred of evidence to support your ‘but but a libertarian foreign policy would have lead to Planet Soviet’ thesis anymore than the exact opposite occurring. Yep, the only possible outcome of less Cold War era interventions is for a system so incompetent that its strongest advocate had to accept grain trade from its ideological opponent to rule the world. And don’t forget those Nazi references!

                    4. It’s hilarious that you treat Soviet communism as some kind of hyper-competent system capable of world-spanning ideological dominance that was only stopped by throwing American soldiers into foreign conflicts.

                      It was an expansionist pseudo religious ideology that had a great number of true believers, despite all of it’s failures. It’s incredibly naive to believe that it’s internal contradictions would have caused a quick collapse absent organized opposition.

                      Note that I am in no way defending communism in any way. I’m just acknowledging the reality that violently expansionist regimes can exist for a very long time and cause great destruction.

                      A point which some libertarians refuse to acknowledge because Karma, or something.

                    5. I’m just acknowledging the reality that violently expansionist regimes can exist for a very long time and cause great destruction.

                      Fair enough on this point. The problem comes down to whether actual American intervention in regional conflicts is actually effective at slowing said expansion. Who was more damaged, militarily and economically, by the Vietnam War, the USSR or America? The Korean War? The most damaging conflict to the USSR’s power base in the Cold War was Afghanistan. Which did not require American troops, and American involvement had long term consequences. My argument is more about the absurd hyperbole of the world being doomed to communism lest America jump in to prevent it. The Soviets were barely able to keep their shit together in Eastern Europe and East Asia, much less the world.

                    6. “Planet Soviet” wasn’t that far off after WW2 when the USSR filled the USG with its spies and nearly took control. Even if we didn’t get Planet Soviet it is entirely possible that the world would have been more scarred by communism without the USG to fight against it-or annihalated. See ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’ or ‘1983 Oko Crisis’. Capitalism works in an environment that the USSR was trying to destroy, and the USG was right to counter those efforts. The Vietnam was not the correct way to counter it. The notion that the USSR would have just collapsed as it did anyway is just more faith-based non-thinking by The Noninterventionist Cult.

                    7. Ah, here comes the Hyperbolic Cytotoxic, First Apostle of St. Rand, to accuse everyone else of faith-based non-thinking. Get back to me when your foreign policy platform isn’t just regurgitated Peikoff sermons that proclaim your moral righteousness. Then you get to accuse other people of being in a cult.

                      What, your gloriously witty insult of ‘peacenazis’ just doesn’t cut it anymore?

                    8. Cytotoxic|5.3.15 @ 2:37PM|#
                      “[…]and nearly took control.[…]”

                      Turn in your ‘freedom-fighter’ uni; you are the only person in the world who thinks that communism ‘nearly took control’ of the US gov’t.

                    9. It’s hilarious that you treat Soviet communism as some kind of hyper-competent system capable of world-spanning ideological dominance…

                      How old, exactly, are you? I’m guessing you were very young or not born in 1989.

                  2. So that’s why we went to war with Iraq instead of North Korea right?

                    Misguided morals, blind patriotism, men in suits talking while young men bleed and die on foreign soil for nothing…

                    Preventive war is senseless authortarian states collapse under their own weight

                2. What a lazy and obtuse analysis. You’re not a libertarian. You’re just a selfish lazy ounce of shit. I sincerely hope you’re Canadian or something. You disgust me almost as much as the progtards.

      2. Communism at the time was an aggressive expansionist ideology and it was necessary to fight wars to stop its spread.

        Uhm, except that we really *didn’t* stop the spread of communism. Certainly not through direct armed conflict.

        Half of Korea fell to communism, Vietnam, China, Cuba, Cambodia, etc.

        In fact the best success in ‘fighting the spread’ of communism came from proxy wars where we stirred up and funded local groups to oppose their local communist cadres – see Central America.

        Of course, in the process we ended up creating regimes that were every bit as brutal and ruthless as the communists.

        Overall, it might have been better if we had just stayed out of the way.

        1. And you know that because you’ve visited the counterfactual world where the US didn’t opposed communist expansion, right?

          Look at it this way, sometimes when you fight a bully you get your ass kicked. But you still have to fight him to impose costs on him so that he stops bullying you.

          Containment, proxy wars and open wars also imposed costs on communists. Costs which they had less capacity to bear than the capitalist system did. It also exposed the evils of communism in action in ways that would not have happened absent opposition. All of that had an effect on their ability to export communist revolution.

          1. It looks like you’ve apparently visited that world – which is how you got your certainty that the US’ opposition to communism was absolutely necessary to prevent its expansion.

            Because in this world, communist rebellions have been mostly successful despite the Reagan Doctrine.

            From where I stand – with the benefit of hindsight – it seems like we didn’t actually *contain* the spread of communism, only increased the horror for those living in the countries going down that path.

            I will admit though that I’m looking at this with the benefit of hindsight (and without the pressure of actually having to make a decision) – and so I’m willing to give those who chose intervention in the past a pass on the bad consequences of their decision.

            But, simply looking at the outcomes, choosing intervention and containment in the *future* would be a horrible thing to do.

            1. From where I stand – with the benefit of hindsight – it seems like we didn’t actually *contain* the spread of communism, only increased the horror for those living in the countries going down that path.

              Right, All of the horrors perpetrated by communists are the moral fault of capitalist for opposing the communist take over.

              If only the capitalists would have peacefully surrendered to communists, they would have ruled benevolently with rainbows and unicorns for everyone.

              Is that how you see it?

              1. Right, All of the horrors perpetrated by communists are the moral fault of capitalist for opposing the communist take over.

                If only the capitalists would have peacefully surrendered to communists

                Just wow, VGZ. He didn’t say any of that, and you know it.

                1. It’s clearly the implication of the sentence that I quoted in my response.

        2. Of course, in the process we ended up creating regimes that were every bit as brutal and ruthless as the communists.

          Really?

          Which regime did we create that equalled Cambodia’s killing fields, Cuba’s death squads, Russia’s Gulags etc.?

          Besides, the point was to prevent the expansion of communism.

          1. The problem here is that some are using todays knowledge to look back 40 years to judge what happened then. You use history to try and not make the same mistakes over and over. You can’t use the lessons learned to then blame those that didn’t have the lesson. Without the lessons of Korea and Vietnam chances are the cold war would have escalated to actual use of nuclear weapons between the US and Soviet Union. We as a country learned that war had very negative consequences from those 2 conflicts. Look at the difference on how war is generally seen after those 2 vs after WW I and II. Children usually need negative consequences before they learn, They touch hot things and get burned. Hopefully they learn to quit touching hot things before they scar themselves permanently.

            In no way am I justifying either conflict. (undeclared war) In hindsight, there was no justification but in that time communism was spreading quickly and it was perceived as being the most dangerous thing around. There was actual widespread fear it would take over the Western world. Today we know that those types of governments will eventually fall. We didn’t have the last 40 years of evidence that we have now.

            1. We know that those government eventually fell in the face of open hostility from western powers, including numerous wars. Even so it took 70 years give or take and several have yet to fall.

              Why do we assume that they would have fallen absent active opposition and why do we assume that the cost of that opposition was greater than the damage that those governments would cause before they eventually fell?

              And really isn’t the whole inevitable collapse of communist regimes itself a bastardization of the Marxist view of history?

              1. The SU didn’t fall because of western hostility – hell, we pretty freely traded with the SU throughout most of the Cold War – but through *internal* hostility.

                Essentially the Soviet citizens got tired of seeing the wealth of the west and enduring the never-fulfilled promises of their own government that they tore the thing down themselves.

                Cuba, Vietnam, China – none of them have fallen through our deliberate actions but our example has forced their governments to liberalize.

                Pol Pot wasn’t ousted by the west – but by the *communists* in Vietnam.

                The closest we’ve actually come to containing communism has been in Central America.

                1. “The closest we’ve actually come to containing communism has been in Central America.”

                  Korea, but I’m being pedantic.

            2. I find humans fascinating. They selectively apply their morals and values to other people while actively ignoring context when applicable. They ignore facts that contradict their preconceived notions and inflate the importance of other facts that promote their preconceived notions. They can regard their opinions as irrefutable despite all evidence to the contrary. They can follow recommendations (and demand other people to follow those recommendations) by people who have to make a successful recommendation.

              All these things humans do makes me wonder why we got where we are.

          2. Oh, I don’t know – how about the anti-communist death squads in central America.

            How about the Taliban or Saddam Hussein?

            How about de-facto support for South Africa’s apartheid regime?

            1. All of those are either picayune evils compared to communism or have nothing to do with America (Taliban, probably Hussein).

              America likely had little to do with the rise of Hussein.

              http://rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/290420151

              1. OK – and I agree.

                *Except* that we provided material support to the anti-communist rebels in CA, provided support for the Mujhadeen that eventually became the Taliban, provided support for Hussein even *after* he had taken power and shown what an evil bastard he was.

                1. Our anti communist efforts in California have been of little success. It still a communist regime.

        3. Ding, ding, ding.

          If the goal was to stop the spread of communism, we failed miserably.

          And, if I may, the current goal is to stop the spread of terrorism…we are failing miserably.

          The parallels between Vietnam and the GWoT are inescapable. And IMHO, both are the result of having no clear achievable national objective and allowing politicians to form military strategy rather than military strategists. You cannot win fighting a limited war against an enemy who is willing to fight a total war (read Clausewitz). Stated another way, if you are unwilling to wage total war to achieve your objective, one should question whether your objective is worth fighting over. (And I’d say if Congress is politically unwilling to declare war, that’s likely the position you find yourself in.)

          The GWoT is “another Vietnam”.

          1. If the goal was to stop the spread of communism, we failed miserably.

            Really?

            How many countries fell under communist control after the Vietnam War?

            1. How many fell FROM communism with no intervention whatsoever?

              1. Russia, China, Eastern Europe, North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, Cuba.

                I’m sure that I’m missing some.

                Then there’s Italy, Greece and Turykey were we actively and successfully opposed communist subversion. South Korea which was saved as the direct result of a war. Taiwan which was indirectly saved. Numerous countries in Latin America and Africa where active Cuban subversion was defeated.

                1. You should be warned FdA is pretty much impervious to actual facts. He will rationalize whatever bullshit he has to.

                  The GWoT is “another Vietnam”.

                  Minus the tens of thousands of dead Americans.

                  1. Unfortunately, to you that’s the only metric worth a damn.

                    Are we achieving our objectives? Nope.

                    But hey, hardly any Americans are dying while we tear up existing power structures and open the way for ever more horrible militias to form. So its all good.

                  2. The GWoT is “another Vietnam”.

                    Minus the tens of thousands of dead Americans.

                    No, in that it is doomed from its inception from not heeding the “lessons learned” from Vietnam. The USG has repeated ALL the same mistakes.

                    Just because you lose fewer people doesn’t mean you win. We’ve lost fewer folks in GWoT than Vietnam because of our smart weapons and superior technology, not because the strategy was better or even different. We’ve lost BOTH conflicts because we did all the same things thinking THIS TIME the outcome would be different. And ANY 2LT could tell you that.

                2. Uh, China’s still a communist country, so are Vietnam and Cuba.

        4. So South Korea doesn’t count? Because it’s only half?

          in the process we ended up creating regimes that were every bit as brutal and ruthless as the communists.

          Bullshit. The body count of these regimes is picayune compared to communism. Christ this thread is disturbing the depths of historical delusion and myopia is infinite.

          1. Is South Korea the only major, uncontested success of Reagan Doctrine thinking (not *of* the Reagan Doctrine, only the policy prescriptions that eventually ended up encoded in it)?

            Then I would say that maybe containment hasn’t worked.

            And when I say regimes that are every bit as terrible – the anti-communist rebels in Central America killed as many innocents as the communist rebels did.

            Apartheid wasn’t a picnic either.

            Pretty much none of the regimes we supported to contain communism were good.

          2. Indeed.

      3. @ VG Zaytsev:

        Yeah, and the best way to fight communism was to fight wars? Is that what caused the revolutions in eastern Europe? Is that what cased China to free up their markets? Jut because you masturbate to war movies does not mean you have drag the rest of into your sick fantasies.

      4. VG Zaytsev|5.3.15 @ 9:14AM|#
        “I don’t buy the Vietnam didn’t make a bit of difference meme. Communism at the time was an aggressive expansionist ideology and it was necessary to fight wars to stop its spread.”

        Suggest you read “Thieves of State” (Chayes).
        Yes, preventing the spread of communism was a very good goal. Unfortunately (and predictably) that war did nothing to accomplish the goal.

      5. VG, you are wrong. Lots of right-wingers predicted that if Vietnam fell to the Communists, all the other countries in South Asia would follow–remember the “domino effect”? Well guess what–Vietnam DID fall to the Communists and nothing else happened. There was no domino effect.

        The USSR collapsed on its own–our petty wars and military spending had nothing to do with it. I was in Leningrad in 1984 and I saw the country collapsing under its own weight.

        1. The domino theory was that Vietnam falling to communism in the 1950s would lead to further communist expansion in SE Asian, ultimately threatening India and Indonesia.

          Vietnam eventually fell to the communist agression after a 10+ year long war, which weakened the communists, allowed time for the contradictions of communism to manifest and the ultimate tactics and aims of communists were exposed in the war and its aftermath.

          So no, the failure of the war to save Vietnam from communist aggression does not invalidate the domino theory of an earlier era.

        2. The USSR collapsed because it could not keep up with our military spending and still feed itself – hell, it could barely feed itself anyway most of the time. Remember Reagan’s proposed Star Wars initiatives? Straw that finally broke the camel’s back.

          1. Sasob: You are right that the USSR could not feed itself but you are wrong about our military spending making the difference. The USSR would have collapsed if we had never spent a dime. Keeping up with our military spending may have hastened the collapse by a couple of years AT MOST, and even that is debatable.

            And you are wrong about Star Wars, which was, and is, a joke and a scam. You can’t stop a bullet by firing another bullet at it. The only tests of the principle that have ever succeeded have been under highly controlled rigged experimental conditions, not true tests at all. And even many of the rigged tests have failed in spite of being rigged!

            Our spending on Star Wars did not cause USSR to increase its military spending–USSR never had a corresponding Star Wars program, and never answered our Star Wars spending in any way. They pretty much ignored our Star Wars spending because they knew our Star Wars program was an empty fantasy.

  11. Yes, just think, if Richman had gone to die in the jungles of Vietnam he wouldn’t be here today to dazzle the internet with his uniquely cogent analyses.

    He needn’t have worried, of course. The military maintains a selection criteria of about 85 IQ points for service.

    1. Springsteen failed his physical. Now, I know a few Reasonoids are not fans but I for one am glad he failed. /cues Sherry Darling.

  12. “I was a teenage libertarian”

    This article needs a lurid and shocking painting, like a dime-store paperback cover.
    Maybe a young wild eyed Sheldon chasing a hot Latina around the room, with a bong in one hand, and ______ in the other.

    1. Comic book? Inhaler? Copy of Atlas Shrugged?

      What was in the other hand Slammer?!?

      1. Copy of Protocols of the Elders of Zion

      2. Jerry Rubin, duh.

      3. Lawn darts.

    2. Even without filling in the blank, you’re not far from covering all your “pot, Mexicans, and ass sex” bases.

  13. I’m one year younger. I grew up with McNamara, LBJ, Kissinger, and Nixon lying their asses off, and remember well how disgusted I was with their incompetency at merely running a war. I too had no real political awareness, but I knew I was not going to fight a war for people who didn’t know what war was and lied about everything. Ended up with a draft lottery number around 300 and didn’t have to ponder prison or Canada.

    Then I joined the Navy after the war was over, hated the salutn’, sirrin, and especially inspections, but had a helluva good time floating around the Pacific at taxpayer expense.

    I do think the Vietnam War is where I became first convinced that government was incompetent, although it took more illustrations to generalize it to everything and begin to figure out why it was inevitable that a coercive monopolistic top-down government would be incompetent at, literally, everything except growing itself.

    1. I asked this once in the AM links and can’t recall if you were one of the guys who answered but I have a friend, a contemporary of yours, who swears Nixon is by far the worse politician/human he’s ever seen in politics making the Clintons look like mere amateurs. Do you agree with that?

      1. Not sure why you think my opinion is worth squat, but here goes.

        Nixon was worse in that he had grandiose imperial designs on what the US should do in the world. But he was too honorable to stoop to bribes and graft. I doubt he got personally rich in the way the Clintons have, which is where they outshine Nixon as personally corrupt in the old-fashioned Tammany Hall bribery and graft sense. Any imperial governing which comes from the Clintons is a side effect.

        1. Thanks.

          I just like culling people’s opinions is all.

        2. Nixon at least defeated the Vietcong and effectively won the Vietnam war.

          1. Cytotoxic|5.3.15 @ 2:29PM|#
            “Nixon at least defeated the Vietcong and effectively won the Vietnam war.”

            Sarc?
            Naah. It’s Cytotoxic, so it’s an odds-on bet it’s just plain abysmal stupidity.

            1. Actually, Sevo, we had beaten them enough to get them to agree to the Paris Peace Accords. Unfortunately, like turning one’s back on someone you’ve knocked down in a fight, we were naive enough to believe they were honorable enough to abide by them. Unfortunately commies are not honorable. Neither are Islamist terrorists.

        3. RE: “bribes and graft”

          Nixon bribed Solicitor General Robert Bork to fire the Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who was demanding the release of Nixon’s secret tapes. Bork accepted the bribe and fired Cox (the “Saturday Night Massacre”). The bribe was a promise that Bork would later be nominated to the Supreme Court, a promise which was fulfilled later by Reagan.

    2. Same here. Too young for the war. I spent four years based in California and did two WestPac cruises.

  14. This guy is slime. If he really had principled objections to the war he’d have stood up and refused the draft. Many did, with a lot more to lose than he did. Instead he used a cowardly subterfuge and now he’s perverting libertarian philosophy to rationalize it.

    1. Right. So next time a mugger threatens you and you have a choice between safely running away and standing up to him, you will risk your life standing up to him, right?

      Didn’t think so. Fuck off, slaver.

      1. To be fair, he presumably wouldn’t wait 40 years to write a self-congratulatory treatise on how his running away from a mugger once represented the embodiment of all that is his moral and political philosophy (to indulge in this far-less-than-perfect metaphor). Draft resisters who left everything behind to flee the country or took the punishment for refusal were arguably living the courage of their convictions to a grater extent than Richman was riding his last name and an allergy note from his doctor to safety from conscription.

        1. So no one is supposed to write anything about their past? No autobiographies, no grandpa stories?

          How he got out of the military, or how anyone did, is of no consequence, as long as it didn’t involve harming anyone else. And while anyone dodging the draft did mean someone else got shipped over, that is the government at fault, not the draft dodger.

          1. So no one is supposed to write anything about their past? No autobiographies, no grandpa stories?

            Spinning a yarn or two for your grandkids and publicly preening as a moral hero when you didn’t even have the balls to be a proper protestor are two different things. You can tell the kids you earned a purple heart whilst running through enemy fire to drag a wounded comrade to safety when in actuality you accidentally shot yourself in the foot during a training exercise, but it’s a good idea not to trot the story out at parties.

            How he got out of the military, or how anyone did, is of no consequence

            Only to the extent that it contradicts said moral preening. There are libertarians every bit the True Scotsman that Richman is who either didn’t dodge the draft, or who actually dodged it outright instead of gaming the system. And who don’t pat themselves on the back for their choice.

            1. ” pat themselves on the back”

              That’s the thing, there, isn’t it?

              Publicly congratulating yourself for your own moral superiority isn’t particularly seemly.

              1. “Publicly congratulating yourself for your own moral superiority isn’t particularly seemly.

                Agreed. That sums up what’s annoying about Richman’s article.

                1. I’m sure he goes to the local VFW and lectures them about Real Moral Courage

              2. Seconded

            2. That’s pretty much the problem with the article. Obviously it’s rather easy to argue against the concept of conscription from a libertarian perspective, but Richman goes a lot farther by trying to present his completely justified avoidance of the draft as some kind of profound proof of his morality. When in reality the people who openly fled their country or refused and accepted the punishment present a far stronger picture of the ‘moral man standing against the state’ than the guy who exploited his social and/or educational connections to avoid it. One can certainly call it a smart way to avoid the draft, but holding it up as some great moral action? Absurd.

              Richman has an inflated sense of moral superiority, who could have guessed that?

              1. But in Richman’s case is he holding up his avoidance of the draft as the great moral action – or his avoidance and opposition to the war?

                There can be a difference: Take America’s best known draft-dodger, B.J. Clinton, for example. Did he dodge the draft because he had moral principles against war in general, or because he had a conviction against the Vietnam war in particular, or because he had moral objections to conscription? Or because he had a problem with he, himself serving?

                I seriously doubt Clinton has any moral objections against involuntary servitude as long as one, it doesn’t include himself and two, it isn’t used to fight a war he personally disagrees with. And we know for a fact that he isn’t against all war in general.

                1. Bush and Cheney bothered me a lot more. Bush, not only for draft dodging and refusing to admit it, but for deserting his cushy draft-dodging National Guard post to help a political campaign. And Cheney for being so flippant about his draft dodging while being such a gung-ho chicken hawk.

                  1. Yeah, especially Cheney. Bush? He got his very difficult to get National Guard post strictly because of who his father was. At least, to my knowledge anyway, he didn’t completely try to avoid all service to his country while advocating it for everyone else. He was just a little prick who had better connections than most of us.

        2. Draft resisters who left everything behind to flee the country or took the punishment for refusal were arguably living the courage of their convictions

          Or they just didn’t have the right connections. I’m guessing is they knew a doctor who would have written them a note for extreme hay fever, they would have taken them up on it rather than flee the country.

          1. Some, perhaps. There were, however, some who made their resistance public to draw attention to the immorality of the institution.

            1. Which institution? I remember lots of people at that time protesting the “immorality” of the war and of the draft only because it was the means used to wage it. But the immorality of the draft, per se? Damned few.

              Let’s remember that most of the war protesters were from the liberal left – they didn’t have any problem at all with military conscription or national servitude in and of itself.

              1. Just like the current so-called anti-war movemtn evaporated the moment Barack Obama took office. No one is.more vicious and bloodthirsty than a progressive. They just use a pacifist mask to attack their enemies. Like W.

          2. I’m guessing is they knew a doctor who would have written them a note for extreme hay fever, they would have taken them up on it rather than flee the country.

            This is certainly a smart way of avoiding the draft, and I don’t demean anyone who made that choice in itself. The problem is when you present such actions as proof of your moral brilliance and wrap yourself in false piety as Richman does.

      2. Not everyone is a coward like you.

    2. So why aren’t you in Vietnam fighting the communists??? They are still there.

    3. Re: jackwolf,

      If he really had principled objections to the war he’d have stood up and refused the draft.

      And he shouldn’t be using the government Roadz and refuse to use Federal Reserve Notes and such… Yes, yes. I’ve heard it all before.

  15. We were required by law to carry draft cards with us. Cops could search our pockets and bust us for not holding the card, or for holding any number of articles banned by mystical prohibition laws. The draft ONLY ended after the LP published a platform calling for its repeal in 1972. The prohibition laws have taken longer, largely because of Nixon-era laws paying the media to ignore the party. Were it not for the LP anyone caught with a pound of weed today would go straight to prison or the Middle East.

    1. I think Rand and Friedman had a lot more to do with it than the LP.

  16. I ran across this http://lf-oll.s3.amazonaws.com…..US1898.pdf over the weekend – a very good article deploring the effects of imperialism.

    And thought that this bit was eerily similar to the US political situations today

    The parts of the …system are at war with each other. The Emperor constantly interferes with the operation of the system and utters declarations which are entirely personal. He is not responsible and cannot be answered or criticised. The situation is not so delicate as in …, but it is exceedingly unstable. All the desire … for self-government and civil liberty runs out into socialism…

  17. Jackanapes.

    1. You can’t legislate love!

  18. The butterfly effect-

    I am here today because my great grandfather (on my father’s side) was a draft dodger. He didn’t want to die fighting for Dutch intrigues in Africa. He came over to America to earn enough money to bring his family over. He made enough, went back, was caught by the authorities, and put into prison. He used his emigration money to bribe his way out, grabbed his family, and came back over, penniless. After settling in, he walked thirty miles each way to secure a personal loan from to buy some farmland. That’s the farm my grandfather was born on, and who was plowing the field one day when my great grandmother told him he wouldn’t have to leave the next week for WWI. The land was condemned to build an airbase to protect us from the Russians if they were to come over the polar icecap. Due to government duplication, the DEW system was put into place and the airbase was never built, it is now is a “recreation center” on the government’s list of assets. If the hadn’t been condemned, my mother and father would not have met. Properly of disinterest to everyone else, but extremely fortunate for me.

    Interpret the antagonistic forces of statism and individualism any way you want.

    1. (cont.)

      On my mother’s side, she had twelve brothers and sisters. I compare and contrast two of my uncle’s on opposite sides of the political spectrum, who have come to despise each other. The older one on his way to Korea, made it to Japan and the “conflict” ended before he saw bullet one. The other was deployed to Vietnam, saw friends ground into hamburger right next him. I’ll take his attitude about war over my “traditional” PBR drinking uncle’s opinion any time.

      1. Interesting family history/story.

      2. It’s interesting that Vietnam inspired so much anti-war feeling compared to WWII or Korea when both of those conflicts were much more gruesome for the soldiers involved.

  19. Sheldon is also a conscientious objector to the Cold War, last I checked.

    1. He conscientiously objects to anything that inconveniences him.

  20. Prediction: Johnny Depp wins an Oscar for this

    That’s right. An academy award, just for the trailer. They won’t even bother to release the film, straight to awards ceremony.

    No, but seriously though. Its a gimme.

    1. Gilmore,

      That was…EPIC.

      Whitey fucking Bulger. I am so gonna see that.

      1. Relevant to the mob tangent Gilmore just established. We just discovered that the reorganization of the Italian mob in Montreal under the ‘Table of Six’ includes two guys we grew up with. According to the report, it’s stronger than ever; stronger than under the Rizzoto reign.

  21. “Charles Peters’s neoliberal Washington Monthly”

    I thought WM is pretty progressive these days.

    1. I think “Neoliberal’ is Lefty-speak for “sellout leftists”

      1. Or code for neo-con?

        1. I believe its a same-difference deal from the POV of the purist-lefties

          its what commies call ‘regular left-wingers’ who tolerate Global Trade, the fact we have a military, shrug off the underlying Imperialist nature of the international financial system, etc.

  22. Muhammed Ali = hero, made a principled stand, faced consequences
    Richman = coward, lied to avoid draft, sending others to death.

    Die in a fire Sheldon

    1. There is a new law, you either have to buy yourself a gun and shoot yourself in the foot or the government will buy a gun and shoot you in the foot.

      So what will you do, take the principled stand and have the government shoot you in the foot or will you take the coward way and get a doctors note saying that you don’t have feet

    2. lied to avoid draft, sending others to death

      Bzzzzt! Thanks for playing badly. Do you really think they didn’t send anyone in Ali’s place, that they just told Westmoreland to do without one fewer soldier because Ali took a principled stand?

      1. Civil disobedience is fine. But one is responsible for the consequences. Lie, cheat to avoid those consequences marks one as a coward.

        “they just told Westmoreland to do without one fewer soldier”

        Double negatives not your strength.

        1. Civil disobedience is fine. But one is responsible for the consequences. Lie, cheat to avoid those consequences marks one as a coward.

          Horseshit. If your civil disobedience is moral in the first place, you aren’t morally obligated to accept whatever consequences someone else immorally tries to subject you to. In fact, some might consider the unwillingness to resist such consequences as cowardly.

          1. Resistance may be civil disobedience. At some point one must take responsibility for the sequence one started. Lying or cheating to avoid taking personal responsibility is wrong.

          2. So the ends of dodging the draft justify your means of lying or cheating.

            Nice morality you got there.

            1. Dude. If someone is trying to draft you – or initiate aggression against you in some other way – you don’t have to morally justify your means of resisting. The moral onus is on the aggressor.

              An easy example: You have a pile of money put away in your home somewhere. Some cockroach breaks in, holds you at gunpoint, and demands to know if you have any money there. Do you think you are somehow morally bound to tell him the truth? Or would it be okay to lie and cheat him from getting it away from you?

              1. Or let me put it this way: If someone initiates force or fraud against me, I don’t have to morally justify any means of resisting – he or she has already done that for me by the act of immoral aggression. He or she has chosen the terms on which they wish to deal with others – they can’t logically complain if others then deal with them on the same terms.

  23. Good for you, Sheldon. You are at least one writer around here that has some integrity. There sure are a lot of libertarians who think that carpet bombing Hanoi or engaging in mass killings in places like Mylai or spraying carcinogens indiscriminately over the forests of Vietnam were justified because of the NAP. Sheldon, I travelled to north western Vietnam and Laos and still saw the bomb craters and warning signs about mines. Even to this day, some 50 years later I admit that I still had an instinct to get down on my knees and beg forgiveness.

    1. Even to this day, some 50 years later I admit that I still had an instinct to get down on my knees and beg forgiveness.

      It probably would have been appreciated by the 1.7 million people killed by the Khmer Rouge for the sake of your genocidal ideology, but somehow I don’t think that’s quite the apology you had in mind.

      1. What’s 1.7 in a sea of 50 million?

        1. Lat I saw, communism cost nearly 100M *civilian* deaths, ignoring those who became, oh, Stalin’s cannon fodder as a result of his hubris.

    2. There sure are a lot of libertarians who think that carpet bombing Hanoi or engaging in mass killings in places like Mylai or spraying carcinogens indiscriminately over the forests of Vietnam were justified because of the NAP.

      You’re f*cking insane; that’s not the libertarian view.

      As a libertarian, of course, I would have preferred non-intervention because intervening in Vietnam is not our business and because the US government should have had no right to force Americans to get killed in meaningless wars.

      However, if you think that would have meant it would have been all roses for the Vietnamese, think again. It is quite likely that as many or more people would have died as a result of non-intervention on the part of the US.

      1. Definitely not roses. Odd how even today one seldom hears of the atrocities committed by the communists against the rest of the Vietnamese people. It was only that evil, imperialist empire, the US, that did anything bad over there.

    3. Re: American Stolid,

      There sure are a lot of libertarians who think that carpet bombing Hanoi or engaging in mass killings[…]

      You must be talking about the squishy libertarians. We Brutalists? believe in Non-Aggression, unlike warmongers… and socialists.

    4. Even to this day, some 50 years later I admit that I still had an instinct to get down on my knees and beg forgiveness.

      Perhaps you should start by apologizing to the victims of socialism first? Oh right, you whitewash your ideology’s crimes every chance you get. And yet continue to lecture people on ‘integrity’ despite the fact that you have none. Your false piety fools no one.

    5. Oh fuck you, no libertarians feel that way.

    6. Communism, National Socialism, and other socialists killed upwards of 150M people in the 20 century.

      Capitalism raised billions out of poverty.

      Some track records!

      You make the common mistake of seeing the world in black and white — anything that isn’t your ideology is all lumped together in one “other” category. Thus you literally cannot distinguish between leaving others alone vs forcing them to do the opposite of what you would force them to do.

      I’d commit suicide if I had such a poor brain.

    7. Shitstain actually posted this:
      american socialist|5.3.15 @ 10:59AM|#
      “[…]There sure are a lot of libertarians who think that carpet bombing Hanoi or engaging in mass killings in places like Mylai or spraying carcinogens indiscriminately over the forests of Vietnam were justified because of the NAP.[…]”

      And that pathetic excuse for humanity expects to be taken seriously around here?

    8. Your approval of Shelly’s article equals more justification of it’s condemnation by the sane, moral people here. As you are just evil. Like every Marxist.

  24. Yeah, lets cheer for War. The government activity which increases spending, debt, control of the economy and where the government says they can send you to your death.

  25. my Aunty Brianna got a nice 6 month old Chevrolet Suburban SUV by working part-time from a laptop..
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.netjob80.com

  26. The Cold War was a waste all ya have to do is open a history to book to find out that communist societies collapse pretty quickly on by their own means…

    Only free market societies last the more government intervention the less your society will become this is why the Cold War was a joke a communism was a the boogie man the government needed at the time

    I’m not saying communism is a good thing it’s a terrible thing but wasting American lives to prevent political establishments that will crumble under their own weight is just stupid

    I applaud you sir for writing this article glad you weren’t blinded by nationalism back then and didn’t sign on up like a “good citizen” would

    1. Still waiting for the communist governments of North Korea and Cuba to collapse of their own accord. I’m sure it will happen any day now.

      1. Cuba will collapse soon, since it no longer has nearly as much US embargo to justify its repression, its Soviet sponsors have long since collapsed and run out of cash to give away, and its Venezuelan oil is running out.

        North Korea would have collapsed eons ago if not for the Chinese and Russians propping it up as a buffer between the free-ish South Korea.

      2. What would you call collapse? How much worse off could they become? Oh wait, you meant the ruling elites. Sorry, VG, but they always do okay, even if the people are reduced to cannibalism.

    2. The Cold War was a waste all ya have to do is open a history to book to find out that communist societies collapse pretty quickly on by their own means…

      Unfortunately, they often don’t collapse quickly enough, and before they have finished collapsing, they have a nasty habit of murdering millions of people, not just in their own societies but abroad.

      Only free market societies last the more government intervention the less your society will become

      That idea still seems to be lost on our current politicians and voters, who still favor trillion dollar Keynesian stimuli. Given that American politicians and voters widely believe that government spending works, naturally they weren’t inclined to believe that the USSR would fail. The progressive view is generally that more government intervention in the economy is better for the economy, but that in the West it is balanced by pesky-yet-worthy considerations of individual freedom. Hence, to them, the USSR was logically a strong threat, not just because its intelligentsia could run the economy, but they could do so without the inconvenience of individual liberty and human rights. And they were backed up by numbers, because the USSR was doing relatively well after WWII.

  27. I dodged the draft by joining the Air Force. Wound up spending my active duty time in the Azores, opposite side of the globe from Viet Nam.

    … Hobbit

    1. I dodged it by joining the US Navy – if you can actually consider that a dodge. I spent most of my enlistment on an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea, although I did spend the first year on a fast attack nuclear submarine.

      1. The Nayy-Vee can be very groovy man!

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HtbKSXoueks

  28. Like many men of my generation, I had an opportunity to give war a chance, and I promptly chickened out. I went to my draft physical in 1970 with a doctor’s letter about my history of drug abuse. The letter was four and a half pages long with three and a half pages devoted to listing the drugs I’d abused. I was shunted into the office of an Army psychiatrist who, at the end of a forty-five-minute interview with me, was pounding his desk and shouting, “You’re fucked up! You don’t belong in the Army!” He was certainly right on the first count and possibly right on the second. Anyway, I didn’t have to go. But that, of course, meant someone else had to go in my place. I would like to dedicate this book to him.

    I hope you got back in one piece, fellow. I hope you were more use to your platoon mates than I would have been. I hope you’re rich and happy now. And in 1971, when somebody punched me in the face for being a long-haired peace creep, I hope that was you.

    Give War A Chance dedication by P.J. O’Rourke

    1. Perfect.

  29. Vietnam was a lie that killed 60,000 of my brothers that served a long time before me. Prior to joining myself, there was a Marine I had looked out for that had PTSD. The horror of seeing his friend jump on a grenade for him, and the other things he had seen being a member of the 1/9 Marines “The Walking Dead” ran through his mind. I was there through his cries, and his screams. It was horrible. I was there when he had his flashbacks. He went from knowing me in the first instance, and thinking I was the enemy in the next. When you’re 16, and an older Marine is having flashbacks, some might have ran scared, but I stood by him and talked him out of his flashbacks.

    I only cared about making sure he didn’t hurt himself, and didn’t worry much about myself. Fortunately, I was able to talk him through his flashbacks, and he never hurt himself, me or anyone else. I defended him when others were critical of him. Even if it came to fists with folks much older than me. They simply had no clue about what he’d been through.

  30. The effing war was bogus, and my friend had to experience all that horror. All for coward POS politicians that lied through their teeth to send others off to a war that should have never happened. I wish him and all those that died, did everything they could to have avoided that war.

    All those years later I joined the military, and realized only later what a bogus war it was. Chalk it up as me serving so others didn’t have to. I don’t fault Sheldon for avoiding the Vietnam war that was in no way to defend “Freedom and Liberty”. Neither was the Iraq war. These politicians love protracted conflict, and have no trouble sacrificing our lives, and enslaving us for their desires. Fuck them.

  31. I find it amazing that Richman can write a whole article about the injustice of the Vietnam war and blame the US for it without even once mentioning it that the situation in Indochina was the result of French colonialism and the utter mess in Europe. I mean, it’s not like the US waltzed into Vietnam and said “nice country, we take it” or anything. It’s also easy to look back in the 21st century after the fall of communism and pass judgment, but in the mid-20th century, the notion that the USSR might be ruling the world didn’t seem that far fetched.

    Of course, the US should have stayed out of the Vietnam conflict. But it should also stay out of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, stop being involved with Pakistan, stay out of Iraq and Iran, stop meddling with Taiwan, and stop defending Europe. But the same people who engage in Monday morning quarterbacking on Vietnam (usually on the left) often are still quite interventionist in all these other areas.

    1. Re: Win Bear,

      without even once mentioning it that the situation in Indochina was the result of French colonialism and the utter mess in Europe.

      Which is an irrelevant factoid that screams “It is none of our business.”

      it’s not like the US waltzed into Vietnam and said “nice country, we take it” or anything.

      No, the U.S. did it the old-fashioned way: it invented an excuse to invade, just like all other invaders throughout history.

      the notion that the USSR might be ruling the world didn’t seem that far fetched.

      Except for the Austrians. And they were proven right, in the end.

      1. Except for the Austrians. And they were proven right, in the end.

        Not really. The USSR’s fall does not lessen the dominance it had after WW2. Blind faith can align with reality once in a while but it is simply a coincidence.

      2. First we sent thousands of “advisers” and supplies to assist the French. They scaled back and started leaving so we sent more “advisers” and boots to protect the supplies and few bases. Then Gulf on Tonkin.

        Imperialism turned into “stopping the spread of communism.” Still sounds like imperialism to me. What do you call U.S. foreign policy today? Call if what you will, but is smacks of imperialism.

        Check out Chalmers Johnson on youtube (or read his books). He was once a “Cold Warrior” and adviser to the Gov.

        1. You only say that because you have no idea what imperialism actually is.

          1. You only say that because you have no idea either, but if the US does it, it must be good, so you are all in favor of US imperialism, even if you don’t know what it is, and even if you have to make noises about it being something else.

        2. The North Vietnamese weren’t exactly what most people would call freedom fighters – unless your name happens to be Fonda or something. Imperialism? Yeah, I should imagine the Allies seemed like imperialists, too, to the Germans back in the ‘forties.

          1. Germany had colonies in Africa up until 1914, and used them as dumping-grounds for addictive opiates. There is a 100-yr-old book abt German colonies at Gutenberg.org

        3. Imperialism turned into “stopping the spread of communism.” Still sounds like imperialism to me. What do you call U.S. foreign policy today? Call if what you will, but is smacks of imperialism.

          Stupid and crony capitalist. It certainly isn’t imperialistic. If it were imperialistic, we wouldn’t be losing vast amounts of money on our military actions around the world.

          And keep in mind that government types were so scared of communism because they secretly believed it would work. Their world view was (and is) that government power can address any human problem, and that the difference between the USSR and the West was that the USSR could wield government power without any restraints, while the West allowed itself to be hamstrung by the luxury of democracy and free speech.

          1. No, they simply believed the communists might conquer everything. The conquest propping up the communism.

      3. Which is an irrelevant factoid that screams “It is none of our business.”

        It is quite a relevant factoid, because it gets to the questions of motivation and guilt. France created those problems because they were motivated by greed. The US intervened because American politicians were concerned about the world becoming dominated by communism.

        No, the U.S. did it the old-fashioned way: it invented an excuse to invade, just like all other invaders throughout history.

        People in mid-20th century were honestly and justifiably concerned about the spread of communist regimes. That’s not “inventing” an excuse. In fact, a lot of the reason for why they were concerned is because US leaders then (as now) falsely believed that the kind of government power the USSR exercised actually worked.

        The US didn’t “invent” an excuse to invade. Your kind of simplistic bullshit is the reason why so many mistakes get repeated over and over again. The US shouldn’t have intervened in Indochina, but the reasoning why it shouldn’t have intervened is a tad more complex than your bogus view of good-vs-evil history.

        Except for the Austrians. And they were proven right, in the end.

        The little fascist nation of Austria was simply making the best of its lousy location in the cold war, and they were running around with their tails between their legs because they were trying to pretend that they had nothing to do with Nazi Germany.

    2. Rand and Friedman had a lot to do with the LP forming. “The case for voting libertarian” is the same for us as the case for voting communist or prohibitionist to looters and mystics: it changes the laws. Politicians are affected by how you vote, not what you read. The CPUSA and Prohibition parties brought us the 16th and 18th Amendments without hardly getting anyone elected, and are still backing candidates and writing platforms today.

    3. Good point. France ran an opium revenue monopoly in ‘Nam and like cigarette tax enforcers sent men with guns after tax dodgers and competitors. The British ran such a dope regie in China and all the colonial powers sent surplus alcohol and poppy drugs to Africa. It is hard to get dollar amounts for those trades but when China made its ban stick in 1911, US prohibitionists backed them in 1912 and Balkan opium producers promptly started wars. But if you look at French movies like “Indochine” you get the impression the colonial govt was pushing temperance.

  32. I’m torn on my opinions of draft dodgers.

    It truly depends on whether you did what you did based upon principle or cowardice. I have a deep affinity for liberty. If you truly did what you did based upon the principles supporting liberty, then you’re a good man. OTOH, I have a strong distaste for cowardice. If you did what you did because you are a coward, you are not a good man.

    Here’s the thing Sheldon…only you can know which it was. Deep down you do. If you are really good with it in your heart or can rationalize it away, good for you. BUT, in choosing the way your did, you have permanently left the door open for doubt in the minds of others. I have no idea which you are. Whether or not you care what others think of you is also a matter of your choosing.

    1. If he did it out of principle he wouldn’t have brought a fake doctor’s note to the medical screening. He would have refused to go and served time in prison.

      1. Why? What is noble about taking one form of involuntary servitude to avoid another?

        Why in the world do you think it is noble to let some government force you to make that choice?

        Fuck off, noble slaver.

  33. “Registrant available for military service, but qualified only in case of war or national emergency…

    … which the president said ‘Starts today!'”

    It was a criminal war of aggression waged against innocent people by American politicians and bureaucrats without an trace of honor or decency.

    Just like all the Indian Wars, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Uprising, the Banana Wars, the Invasion Of Iraq, the Libya War, the Drone Bombings… I sense a pattern here.

    1. America had every right to pursue all of those because it made those places freer. The Indian Wars and Spanish American War were the sketchiest but America was still righteous.

      Richman is retarded as ever: North Vietnam started that war.

      1. Re: Cytotoxic,

        America had every right to pursue all of those because it made those places freer.

        That’s debatable. Also, making a people free by force is a contradiction in terms.

        North Vietnam started that war.

        No, the French started that war. Vietnam was a single country that was divided by the U.N. despite the wishes of the Vietnamese people wanted. America also exacerbated the civil war by deposing Diem. It was a complicated mess which was none of the U.S. business.

        1. The “wanted” was left there to throw you off your game, by the way.

          1. He’s already so far off his game that he probably didn’t even notice.

        2. ‘Making a people free by force’ is the entire central argument to Cytotoxic’s foreign policy. It’s just him repeating the half-baked justifications of Objectivists.

          1. ‘Making a people free by force’ I

            You Know Who Else…?

            1. Uh, let me think on that……….

              1. Name doesn’t begin with a B, does it?

    2. Just like all the Indian Wars, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Uprising, the Banana Wars, the Invasion Of Iraq, the Libya War, the Drone Bombings… I sense a pattern here.

      Those wars were generally against totalitarian governments of one form or another. Where is the “criminality” in that? Furthermore, compared to the sh*t Britain, France, and Germany visited on the world over the same time periods, the US has been extremely restrained in the use of its military. Yes, in the 18th and 19th century, it was actually considered legitimate to use war for economic interests; that only changed with WWII.

      The people who are justified in complaining about America’s wars are not the enemies in those wars, but the Americans who paid for them, who were forced into the military, and lost their lives and got nothing much in return in many cases.

  34. So which of the people who died in Vietnam died because Richman dodged the draft? I wonder if it was a black guy!

  35. My opposition is somewhat different. I viewed the enemy that we were fighting as evil. However, I saw our fight to help the South Vietnamese as altruistic. It may be honorable in a sense but it certainly isn’t prudent. I don’t believe we have a duty to save people of other nations from evil. This is especially true if they don’t have a tradition of [classical] liberalism. “To secure these rights,” as the Declaration says, is something done within a limited jurisdiction.

    I refused to go; had a college deferment; and got out by the lottery. It is interesting to compare your view (America was intent on doing evil) with my view (America is foolishly altruistic). I couldn’t side with the leftists even though we both wanted the USA to withdraw. Thanks for bringing back a debate we libertarians had 40 years ago.

    1. I had no clue what was going on in Nam. I asked a deserter what the deal was and he told me “the communists are doing bad things over there” but that it did not call for his getting killed. No war was declared, the situation was and is suspicious and seems only to have facilitated the entry of opiates into the USA in military coffins.

      1. Yes, Hank, I think many were unsatisfied with the official explanation of why this is an urgent war for us … and if it were, why was there no declaration? When you ask men (or worse, draft men) to risk their lives, you had better have a damn good reason.

  36. “Nothing is More Precious than Independence and Freedom”

    Ho Chi Minh

    1. Yes, yes, he said that. And his actions REALLY backed it up! Just like Lenin!!

      1. Unlike Lenin, he chased out the French, the Americans, the Chinese and the Khmer Rouge. Lenin and the Bolsheviks were never about freeing their nation from colonial masters. Where did you pick up that idea?

        1. Yes, chased them out just so his countrymen could be enslaved by their own people! That is some kind of freedom right there! Freedom to serve and be killed!

          1. “Yes, chased them out just so his countrymen could be enslaved by their own people!”

            If the Vietnamese prefered to be enslaved by foreigners to their own kind, they would have defeated the NLF. It’s not as though they were blind or ignorant. The simple fact is that people will tolerate brutality from their own kind more than they will from foreigners. Not a very admirable trait of humanity, but one you should be familiar with.

    2. And he took great pleasure in crushing both. And you sound like a fan.

      1. “And he took great pleasure in crushing both.”

        I don’t think politicians do what they do because it gives them pleasure. What do you know about Ho Chi Minh that leads you to believe otherwise?

        “And you sound like a fan.”

        What Ho Chi Minh quote would you prefer?

        1. I don’t think politicians do what they do because it gives them pleasure.

          Are you kidding? They do it for power and money, and they think that the fact that they get power and money by doing it validates their actions.

          1. “They do it for power and money…”

            I wouldn’t automatically assume the basest motives to politicians. And I doubt that Ho was in it for the money. I think he was motivated by patriotism, the desire to see the end of foreign domination in his country. Typically this is seen as a noble cause.

            1. mtrueman|5.3.15 @ 7:51PM|#
              “I wouldn’t automatically assume the basest motives to politicians.[…]”

              Yes, that’s why you have the rep here that you do; stupidity on display.

              1. “stupidity on display…”

                Says the one who would speak up for automatic assumptions.

                My advice for the stupid: make assumptions cautiously. Avoid automatic assumptions.

  37. Shorter Richman: I hated America then, and I still hate that bitch to this day!

    1. I don’t think it was hate back then, it was just scared of being killed. If he actually thought the policy was wrong he should have engaged in civil disobedience and gone to prison for refusing to serve.

      1. How is that noble or principled?

        If a robber says “your money or your life”, will you stand still and beg him to shoot you out of principle, or will you fight back or even take advantage of a momentary distraction to run away?

  38. This is why Libertarians should never, ever be anywhere near the reigns of power.

    I cringe now at what Barry Goldwater, whose pro-freedom rhetoric moved me, was saying about war, Vietnam, and the Soviet Union“.

    There’s plenty of room to debate whether Vietnam was a good idea or not, but if you can’t even agree that the Soviets were a malevolent force that threatened the world, then you don’t have the good sense to run a lemonade stand, let alone a country.

    1. Richman =/= libertarians He’s not even libertarian, he just hates the USG.

    2. “if you can’t even agree that the Soviets were a malevolent force that threatened the world”

      The communists were deeply divided by the end of the 1950s. They were in no position to threaten the world. Had Stalin wanted to take over even Western Europe, he would have never withdrawn forces from Austria or give up advantages held in strategically vital Greece. The Soviets focussed their malevolence on their internal republics and immediate neighbours, with the connivance of the Allies to some degree.

      1. They were in no position to threaten the world.

        Except for when they moved Nukes to Cuba. Oops! Another little detail you missed!

        1. The Soviets nukes in Cuba threatened the US. The world is a much bigger place. Possession of a nuclear arsenal necessitates the willingness to use them, even if only as bargaining chips. They don’t make much sense otherwise. The US knew this perfectly well and called it Mutually Assured Destruction.

      2. The communists were deeply divided by the end of the 1950s. They were in no position to threaten the world

        That may seem obvious now, but it wasn’t back then.

        Keep in mind that then as now, most politicians believe that if you give them enough power, they can do anything, from fixing to the economy to changing the climate. Since the power of the Soviet government wasn’t constrained by pesky details like democracy, Western politicians believed that they were a huge threat.

        To a libertarian, that seems like a stupid belief, but to conservatives and progressives alike, it makes sense.

        1. “That may seem obvious now, but it wasn’t back then.”

          I think Ho Chi Minh knew the score back then. His nation emerged from the wars whole and free of foreign domination thanks to his ability to play the major powers against each other.

          1. Post hoc ergo propter hoc is par for mtrueman’s ability to deal with reality.

            1. US got sent packing by a smaller but smarter and wilier foe in Vietnam. And more dedicated to their cause. Isn’t that pretty non-controversial?

              1. mtrueman|5.3.15 @ 11:46PM|#
                “US got sent packing by a smaller but smarter and wilier foe in Vietnam. And more dedicated to their cause. Isn’t that pretty non-controversial?”

                Gee, did you put that goal post on wheels, or just shove really hard?
                When you understand what I wrote and respond to it, I might answer. Until then, fuck off.

                1. “When you understand what I wrote and respond to it”

                  I’m not sure I understand what you mean. The Vietnamese won thanks in large part to Ho’s greater grasp of the political power plays of the times. Read you Sun Tzu if you doubt the importance of this. Please don’t feel obliged to respond.

                  1. mtrueman|5.4.15 @ 12:20AM|#
                    “I’m not sure I understand what you mean.”

                    Stupdity, or willful ignorance? In mtruemans’s case, it’s likely both.
                    Here, imbecile, this is what you posted:
                    ” His nation emerged from the wars whole and free of foreign domination thanks to his ability to play the major powers against each other.”
                    Now, do you see that? I’m sure you have every bit of the same sort of evidence you had for your imbecilic claim that Ukranians were ‘notorious collaborators’.
                    Hint, imbecile: The voices in your head are not evidence.
                    Oh, and fuck off. Please. You will increase humanity’s IQ level if you commit suicide now. We will thank you.

                    1. “I’m sure you have every bit of the same sort of evidence ”

                      You want evidence that Ho was the superior leader with a firmer grasp on reality? How about the fact that he won?

                      “You will increase humanity’s IQ level if you commit suicide now.”

                      You’re angry, right? I blame those Ukranian Nazis. Put them from your mind. At least the famous ones.

      3. mtrueman|5.3.15 @ 2:16PM|#
        “The communists were deeply divided by the end of the 1950s. They were in no position to threaten the world.”
        The Russians, even today, can threaten the world with nukes, so you’re full of shit.

        “Had Stalin wanted to take over even Western Europe, he would have never withdrawn forces from Austria or give up advantages held in strategically vital Greece.”
        What an asinine comment. Molotov, in his memoirs, makes clear his duty was to expand USSR territory everywhere and always. If Stalin could have occupied Western Europe without triggering war with the US, no one with any knowledge of him doubts he would have done so.

        “The Soviets focussed their malevolence on their internal republics and immediate neighbours, with the connivance of the Allies to some degree.”
        Which is totally irrelevant to the argument.
        What an ignoramus.

        1. “The Russians, even today, can threaten the world with nukes, so you’re full of shit”

          They are not threatening the world with nukes, they are threatening NATO with nukes.

          1. mtrueman|5.3.15 @ 10:42PM|#
            “They are not threatening the world with nukes, they are threatening NATO with nukes.”

            Thank you, oh pedant man! I guess you presume that affects your lies in some form or other, right?
            Now I remember when I first realized that you’re a lying POS: You made some claim about the Ukranians being ‘famous for collaborating’ with the Nazis and I asked for cites.
            You had none, since the claim was so much hogwash; lies made up to, I guess, hope someone thought you might have some tiny bit of knowledge.
            You don’t; you’re an idiot.
            Oh, and fuck off.

            1. “You made some claim about the Ukranians being ‘famous for collaborating’ with the Nazis”

              Clearly that’s incorrect. ‘Notorious for collaborating with the Nazis’ is more accurate. As always, thanks for your careful attention and constructive criticism.

              1. As always, thanks for admitting you’re an ignoramus.
                Oh, and fuck off.

                1. “As always, thanks for admitting you’re an ignoramus.
                  Oh, and fuck off.”

                  Running out of steam I see. How about denouncing a famous celebrity whose politics you disagree with. Maybe you could get really creative and ‘channel their thoughts.’

                  1. mtrueman|5.4.15 @ 12:33AM|#
                    “Running out of steam I see.”

                    Nope, just pointing out that you’ve made one ignorant claim after the other and never once had a bit of evidence to back up a single one.
                    Playa, a couple of days ago, mentioned that we operate on a ‘reputational economy’ here. I have a rep; I back up my claims with cites and/or links. You, OTOH, have a well-established, and deserved rep as a lying piece of shit. You make claims and never manage to support them with one bit of evidence.
                    You may think your clever (and sophist) riposts somehow excuse your stupidity; maybe your mom thinks so. No one here does.
                    So, mtrueman, just keep on making an ass of yourself while everyone else laughs at you. You are a pathetic excuse for a sentient human being, and that is no secret.
                    Oh, and fuck off.

                    1. “I have a rep; I back up my claims with cites and/or links.”

                      I leave the grunt work for others to do or not do as they see fit.

                      “and deserved rep as a lying piece of shit”

                      I’m sure you’re right. What you haven’t fathomed is that I’m so morally depraved that my deserved rep here doesn’t bother me or interest me in the least. I post for myself; your feelings about me are of no concern. Do continue with these emotional outbursts though.

                      “just keep on making an ass of yourself while everyone else laughs at you”

                      High praise indeed. Ever notice in Shakespeare, it’s the fool who always speaks the truth while getting all the best lines. And the laughs.

                    2. mtrueman|5.4.15 @ 12:59AM|#
                      “I leave the grunt work for others to do or not do as they see fit.”
                      So you’re a lying piece of shit and not willing to contest that? Fine. You’re a lying piece of shit

                      “I’m sure you’re right. What you haven’t fathomed is that I’m so morally depraved that my deserved rep here doesn’t bother me or interest me in the least. I post for myself; your feelings about me are of no concern. Do continue with these emotional outbursts though.”
                      Oh! Oh! the lying piece of shit only posts here to see his name here! Well, in that case, here:
                      MTRUEMAN IS A LYING PIECE OF SHIT
                      So now you can fuck off.

                      “Ever notice in Shakespeare, it’s the fool who always speaks the truth while getting all the best lines. And the laughs.”
                      Yes, I notice lying pieces of shit have a reputation for quoting some irrelevance. Is that what you meant?

                    3. “Is that what you meant?”

                      Yes. Something like that. Any more questions?

    3. Threatened Europe, sure. Threatened the US? Fuck no.

      1. Threatened Europe, sure.

        How many libertarians said that during the Cold War? Rothbard certainly didn’t.

        1. Smart libertarians then as now figured out that something like the USSR couldn’t work. But then the same could have been said for Nazi Germany, and it managed to kill a lot of people on its way down.

          Conservatives and progressives, on the other hand, were genuinely frightened of the USSR because they believed in government power, and the USSR had more government power than the West.

      2. Except for when they moved nukes to Cuba. And funded proxy regimes in Central America.

        1. Like we put nukes even closer in Turkey and funded proxies all over the world?

          But we did it, and we’re the USofA, so it’s all good.

            1. Except that’s actually an applicable point to Cytotoxic’s claim of moving nukes to Cuba constituting a threat. If that’s a threat, than American nuclear weapons in Turkey is equally a threat to the Soviet Union. But I’m sure that everyone here will hold the United States to the same standard of the Soviet Union, right?

              1. It’s hypocrisy all the way down. What do expect from foreign policy?

              2. But I’m sure that everyone here will hold the United States to the same standard of the Soviet Union, right?

                Why in the fuck would anyone?

                On the one hand we have a communist dictatorship that murdered tens of millions of people and enslaved hundreds of millions. On the other we have an imperfect republic.

                Yep totally equivalent.

                1. “Yep totally equivalent.”

                  Not if you’re comparing the numbers of people who died from nuclear attacks by the US and the CCCP. There’s no equivalence there.

                  1. mtrueman|5.3.15 @ 8:12PM|#
                    “Not if you’re comparing the numbers of people who died from nuclear attacks by the US and the CCCP. There’s no equivalence there.”

                    What are you lying about now, imbecile?

                    1. “What are you lying about now, imbecile?”

                      Word of advice: if you feel the need to ask, don’t.

                    2. mtrueman|5.3.15 @ 10:43PM|#
                      “Word of advice: if you feel the need to ask, don’t.”

                      Advice from lying assholes is not required. We can assume you were just throwing words around.
                      Fuck off.

                    3. I figured out what was confusing you. CCCP is just a fancy way of saying USSR.

                    4. mtrueman|5.3.15 @ 11:24PM|#
                      “I figured out what was confusing you.”

                      What’s confusing you is simple: You’re an ignoramus.
                      Fuck off.

                    5. “Yep totally equivalent.”

                      Not if you’re comparing the numbers of people who died from nuclear attacks by the US and the CCCP. There’s no equivalence there.”

                      Is that better? Still confused over what I’m lying about?

                    6. mtrueman|5.4.15 @ 12:39AM|#
                      “Is that better? Still confused over what I’m lying about?”

                      Are you suggesting a moral superiority for the USSR since they didn’t save millions of lives by using nukes to end WWII?
                      Is that your claim, imbecile?

                    7. No, but if you want to tell us what humanitarians the Japanese dictators were, and how they surrendered out of a sudden fit of compassion for the lives of millions, this is as good a place as any.

                    8. mtrueman|5.4.15 @ 1:06AM|#
                      “No, but if you want to tell us what humanitarians the Japanese dictators were, and how they surrendered out of a sudden fit of compassion for the lives of millions, this is as good a place as any.”

                      You, of course have no evidence that the ‘dictators’ surrendered for any reason whatsoever, and in fact I do. Now, first, I want to see who you imagine the Japanese ‘dictators’ were, and then I’ll be more than happy to point out your ignorance once more, with cites.
                      And then: “I post for myself; your feelings about me are of no concern.”
                      You seem to spend an inordinate amount of time posting responses to something that is of ‘no concern’; we again have evidence that you’re a lying piece of shit.

                    9. “we again have evidence that you’re a lying piece of shit.”

                      That should go without saying by now, but at least we can both agree that the Japanese leaders of the time were compassionate men deeply concerned over preventing unecessary suffering on the part of their subjects.

    4. Libertarians do not need to win elections in order to change the laws. The looter parties only care whose hand is in the till, and will ban or legalize whatever it takes to have their partisans robbing the treasury and hiring their buddies. The whole point is to allow people to vote their conscience, thereby forcing the looter politicians to repeal horrible laws. This past election the Texas LP got 5% of the vote or more in a whole mess of counties. Whenever this is more than the difference between votes gotten by the GOP and Dem, it tells them what laws to modify or repeal. We win every time such a law is changed.

  39. I was going to read this and then I saw ‘Sheldon Richman’. Nope.

    1. That explains all your posts. Write without reading. We used to joke about write-only memory, but I guess all things come true sooner or later.

      1. I’m actually starting to use this tactic when I see ‘Ctyotoxic’. It’s either a post about calling people peacnazis for not wanting to spend US lives to force ‘freedom’ on the world. BTW, still haven’t seen where he is going to give up his Canadian citizenship and come join the US military so he can join the World Police movement.

        Or he’s calling people xenophobes or posting my personal favorite “DEY TOOK R JERBS” because they actually want to have a discussion about the pro and cons of a complete open border.

        Sheldon may be a hack but Cytotoxic is a complete and utter fucking moron who FEELZ personally attacked when people just refuse to accept his glorious wisdom.

  40. Meh, be honest Sheldon. You avoided the draft because you didn’t want to get killed, not because you had some high-minded political opposition to the war.

    I don’t blame you. But just be honest about what you did. You and Cheney are of the same mind as far as that went back then. Your motives were no more pure than his.

  41. It was a criminal war of aggression waged against innocent people by American politicians and bureaucrats without an trace of honor or decency.

    All of the discussion of Vietnam seems to ignore the fact that the North Vietnamese were conquering South Vietnam and the US was supporting the Cambodian and Laotian regimes.

    And Richman of course thinks that Russia in the Ukraine and Iran in Yemen aren’t engaging in aggression.

    1. Your history of southeast Asia is conveniently modern.

      1. Is it false? I’m questioning if US could be truly considering to be engaging in a war of aggression since Pol Pot, the Pathet Lao and North Vietnam seem to be the actual ones engaged in regime change/conquest. And no I’m not saying the Vietnam war was just or a good idea.

  42. Also Rothbard defended the Soviet invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia as defensive measures by the Soviets. By that logic the Bay of Pigs and Vietnam should have been justifiable too…

    1. And that is relevant to the number of giraffes eating grapes …. exactly how?

      1. I’m calling Rothbard a hypocrite, understand?

        1. How does that make Rothbard a “hypocrite”?

          1. It’s okay for the Soviets to invade countries to prop up friendly regimes but bad when the US does it?

  43. It’s also an unfortunate fact that libertarian foreign policy is heavily influenced by Hitler apologist and Holocaust denier Harry Elmer Barnes.

    1. That’s calumny, Winston. Libertarian foreign policy is firmly-rooted in the Non-Aggression Principle.

      1. I’m referring to his influence of Rothbard as Barnes’ Wikipedia page includes a link to a fawning obit from Rothbard (which doesn’t mention Barnes’ views of the holocaust) and Rothbard refers to him quite a bit in For a New Liberty.

        And FYI I don’t think Barnes holocaust denial discredits libertarian foreign policy but it does show the disturbing tendencies of libertarians to become apologists for the Enemy.

        1. Yes Winston, I’m sure in no way that you randomly shouting ‘NAZIS’ as loud as you could is designed in any way to be a shot at libertarians.

          1. A shot at Rothbard mainly.

        2. it does show the disturbing tendencies of libertarians to become apologists for the Enemy

          No, what you are missing there is that libertarians simply don’t automatically consider countries whose governments perpetrate genocides to be our “enemies”; nor are they our “friends”. Libertarians generally just don’t want the US government to get involved in foreign affairs unless US security is clearly at stake. Since the question of who killed who in some foreign conflict isn’t relevant to libertarian foreign policy or declaring nations our “enemies”, libertarians don’t automatically get out the pitchforks when people with quirky beliefs show up. That doesn’t mean that we don’t privately disagree and disapprove of such beliefs.

          1. Since the question of who killed who in some foreign conflict isn’t relevant to libertarian foreign policy

            Bullshit. Did you even read Richman’s article?

            libertarians don’t automatically get out the pitchforks when people with quirky beliefs show up.

            Quirky beliefs being holocaust denial and apologia for Putin, Chavez and Iran?

          2. Also when told that the US must intervene to defend some regime from a supposedly terrible regime libertarians are naturally cynical about the justness of the US-supported regime and whether the supposedly terrible regime is really guilty of the atrocities it is accused of doing. This tendency has lead to libertarians assuming that the USG and its allies are always in the wrong and that America’s enemies are just engaging in self-defence and all atrocity tales are just neocon propaganda. This leads to the spectacle of Murray Rothbard claiming that the USSR had “more or less libertarian foreign policy”(!) and the likes of Raimondo bemoaning how the MSM was ignoring the good stuff Hugo Chavez did and Raimondo, Rockwell and Richman saying that Russia is perfectly justified in ensuring that its sphere of Influence is maintained.

            1. I also can’t forget Rothbard finding Pol Pot’s takeover to be “exhilarating”.

      1. What is bullshit? About Barnes’ Hitler apologia and holocaust denier? Or that he didn’t influence Rothbard that much?

  44. That was a pretty long piece just to explain you are a coward. Truth hurts, I know, but coward is the only word that fits.

  45. Came here for article/comments about evil Joos, was very disappointed.

  46. Slightly off thread: There was a bunch of interesting Vietnam related stuff on PBS earlier this week – brought back a bunch of memories for me.

  47. You avoided going because you had an accommodating doctor. So someone else less fortunate went in your place. There, feel better now? Can’t be quite so morally smug when you look at it in proper perspective.

    1. There will always be those who are less fortunate than others and those who are more fortunate. There is nothing immoral about being fortunate.

      1. You miss the point. When you use your fortunate circumstances to dodge an unpleasant circumstance and by that dodge force someone else to face it who might not have, that is immoral and cowardly to boot.

        1. Yeah, except that in the case of the draft, your dodge isn’t what is forcing someone else to face it – the government’s immoral and unjust law is. You aren’t morally responsible for what others do.

  48. I was cautiously agreeing with Richman until he sprung this at the end:

    It was a criminal war of aggression waged against innocent people by American politicians and bureaucrats without an trace of honor or decency. Millions of Indochinese people were murdered. Nearly 60,000 Americans died. The blood stains on America will never be washed off.

    I really wish I had an Alpine Horn so I could yodel “Bullshit!” like a Ricola commercial.

    Let me rewrite that so it is true:

    It was a criminal war of aggression waged against innocent people by communists without an trace of honor or decency. Millions of Indochinese people were murdered by communists. Nearly 60,000 Americans died while trying to stop communists from murdering people. The blood stains on Communism will never be washed off.

    There, fixed that for him.

    1. North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam just like North Korea invaded South Korea. The communists were the aggressors. They were the ones who routinely massacred anti-communists like they did at Hue. And when they won the war, the killed, imprisoned, and tortured hundreds of thousands. Their commy pals and Cambodia killed another 2 million people when they took over.
      I don’t know how many were killed in Laos when the commies took over there.

      It was wrong for the French to colonize them and it was wrong for the US to support that act. That doesn’t make it right for the communists to take over.

      Keep in mind also that US got involved in Vietnam just a few years after communists had gobbled up eastern Europe, China, and half of Korea, whose populations they terrorized for decades.

      It’s reasonable say the war was a mistake, but it’s lunacy to pretend the communists were heroic freedom fighters or that the efforts to resist them were wrong.

      I think it would have been better if the US had done more to prevent China from going communist. Hell, it would have been better if the US had done more to prevent Russia from going communist.
      And it certainly would have been better to fight in Hungary after their prime minister begged the free world for help in 1956.

      Being an advocate for non-aggression doesn’t mean you have tolerate the aggression of others.

      1. “but it’s lunacy to pretend the communists were heroic freedom fighters or that the efforts to resist them were wrong.”

        Slight correction, Derpemonster.

        “but it’s lunacy to pretend the communists were heroic freedom fighters or that the efforts to resist them were effective.”

        Resisting evil across the planet by those imbued with the jet streams of fiery morality often lead the righteous into acts of evil. When war is ineffective it becomes immoral. No matter how noble the goal.

        1. “Resisting evil across the planet by those imbued with the jet streams of fiery morality often lead the righteous into acts of evil. ”

          True. The communists themselves justified their atrocities with appeals to the greater good.

          I think it was wrong to draft Americans to fight communism. And it was wrong and stupid to fight without a declaration of war. It’s also wrong to force Americans to contribute money for another country’s war.

          I think communism was evil enough to justify government action to resist it. I also admit it’s hard to decide what should have been done.

          Maybe instead of fighting communism, the govt could have invited more communist leaders to tour the US so they would see the superiority of a market economy or sent more Americans to communist countries so they could see how horrible it was. Or maybe the US should have tried to boost trade and diplomatic relations with communist countries. Maybe the US should have just sent weapons and ammo into communist countries so the people there could fight for themselves.

          Should US government help oppressed people in other countries? The only answer I came up with is “it depends”.

          It’s like the question of whether you should come to the defense of a complete stranger. I don’t think there is moral duty for it, but it is praiseworthy.

          1. Derp,
            You say: “I think communism was evil enough to justify government action to resist it. I also admit it’s hard to decide what should have been done.”

            I agree, but AC already covered that:
            “When war is ineffective it becomes immoral. No matter how noble the goal.”

            If the war had actually accomplished something toward that end, I might not mind having spent several years in slavery.
            It didn’t, I do.

      2. It’s reasonable say the war was a mistake, but it’s lunacy to pretend the communists were heroic freedom fighters or that the efforts to resist them were wrong.

        What was wrong was for the US government to force American citizens to sacrifice their lives and their property to resist Vietnamese communists; it wasn’t our war to fight, and that was a violation of our liberties.

        1. Yes, conscription is a hideous form of slavery. It’s ridiculous to enslave people to prevent other people from being enslaved.

          1. …and also wrong to extort money from people to prevent other people from being extorted.

  49. Not many were killed in Laos. Basically, government bureaucrats fled to Thailand and the Communists moved into their offices with new flags.

  50. Sheldon, as a person 7 years younger than you, your article resonated with me. I always worried about what I would do if I were drafted into what seemed an unending war. My father was a Democrat turned libertarian and a Colonel in the Air Force judge advocate general’s office who did not approve of the Vietnam war, though he flew in WWII.
    Signing for and receiving my draft card was a chilling and offensive mandate as was being required to carry it at all times. The man who had the courage to oppose the draft, dodge it, and refuse to kill innocent people defending their INDEPENDENCE and country are the best of America. Those who blindly went to Vietnam because the elitists in Gov’t said killing commies is good, were mostly good people who were lied to and duped by Gov’t into serving immoral imperialism. What was accomplished by the 70,000 dead Americans, and even more Vietnamese? It divided the nation and brought animus toward America from the world.
    I say thank you Sheldon for your service to justice, better Gov’t, and moral ideals.

    1. “The man who had the courage to oppose the draft, dodge it, and refuse to kill innocent people defending their INDEPENDENCE and country are the best of America. Those who blindly went to Vietnam because the elitists in Gov’t said killing commies is good, were mostly good people who were lied to and duped by Gov’t into serving immoral imperialism.”

      ^^^ Perfect example of insecurities coming to the surface, right here.

      War dodgers = The best of America.

      War fighters = Blindly went, lied to, duped.

      This is what one says to themselves when deep down they know they’re cowards.

      1. A number of war fighters actually volunteered for service in ‘Nam. Many of them actually survived to tell us how they were lied to and duped. Perhaps you’d like to tell them how cowardly they were.

      2. Yep. At least Mohammad Ali had the courage of his convictions and went to jail for his moral stance. People like this author were cowards who used their upper middle class advantages and made excuses about it afterwards.

        I respect Ali. I detest rationalizing cowards like this author. (And yes, I served in uniform as a Marine infantryman.)

  51. War vet here. For me, it wasn’t political. I joined knowing that I was about to fight an ideological war that would most likely go nowhere and that crony-capitalism was a big part of it. Joined to back up those who already did. I empathize with those who didn’t join or didn’t want to. War dodgers I don’t really relate to, but I try not to focus on my personal negative opinions when meeting/talking to people.

    I was a medic on a trauma surgical team. I burned amputated body parts in the burn pit every Friday (it’s not like we had an incinerator) along with expired whole blood/fresh frozen plasma and sharps. Mutilated bodies of both allies and enemies you get used to. It’s part of the deal. Pretty nasty and not what I like to think about. Fighting with your brothers is the best thing and I think something hard to explain to others who haven’t been in that kind of environment. Not all vets I relate to exactly either. Many of them, actually. Within the huge fighting force, there is a breed that intimately dealt with life/death a lot (infantry, snipers, medics, special operations, most marines, pj’s, etc).

    If a kid asked me if he should join or he was about to drafted, I’d also look at the politics. If it was something terrible like the Nazi’s were about, then no, I would tell him not to. I don’t think Vietnam was like that, so I would tell him not to dodge. I would tell him to join and get a specific MOS he/she wanted, if it was inevitable that they were going to be drafted.

  52. The President who granted amnesty for draft resistors was none other than the much-maligned Jimmy Carter. He deserves at least four stars on the libertarian walk of fame for that!

    1. If I recall correctly, the amnesty was conditional on coming home and performing some sort of community service to atone for refusing to allow the government its share of your life that it thought it was entitled to. But the government isn’t morally entitled to any part of your life, nor are your fellow citizens. So no, Jimmy doesn’t deserve squat.

      1. ^ this.
        ‘Well let you back in so long as you admit we own your life!’

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  55. I don’t know if it was necessarily “moral” to avoid serving–some other kid had to go fight instead (if it weren’t for the draft, you could at least say that the only people going to fight were volunteers). But then, I was never in the position of facing the draft so can’t say I wouldn’t have felt the same–there could hardly have been anything less pleasant than running around with heavy equipment in 100 degree heat and humidity, in a bug-infested jungle surrounded by booby-traps, deadly snakes, and a hidden enemy that dressed like the locals. While I don’t think the cause itself (of preventing a takeover by a more-antidemocratic North) was immoral, it was certainly not America’s business and as in all wars it required us to do a lot of awful things.

    Sadly there’s a prevailing attitude among Americans (including both the Democratic nominee and most of the GOP nominees for president) that demonstrates they have learned nothing from the mistakes of Vietnam, and are determined to waste innocent lives in further overseas adventures.

  56. People like this guy who rationalizes his cowardice are the reason Rand Paul must be defeated at all costs.

  57. Jeez, I understand not wanting to get shot, but lying thru your teeth about the war to justify your cowardice is not acceptable. The war was probably the most idealistic the U.S. ever fought – this country had nothing to gain (economically) from spending all that money to fight the war – the gain
    was to prevent Communism from taking over Southeast Asia. Whether this was a good idea depends almost entirely upon the nature of the war that followed. Had Goldwater been CIC
    the war certainly would not have been carried out as it was – LBJ was just plain stupid. The
    war would have consisted of not so many U.S. ground troops and plenty of air bombardment of Hanoi (a Goldwater specialty) with minor casualties. The war would have been quickly won and faded from view. It wasn’t until Desert Storm that this country fought an efficient war.
    Vietnam is an example of how not to fight a war, not so much whether the war was a good idea.

      1. That his allergies were enough to keep him from military service. He lied by commission and by omission.

    1. WRONG the pols and industry had everything to gain. Oil, monies spent to the military industrial complex. Increased taxation. Wars are never fought to save lives, they always cost some the only real thing they have of value, their life. The amount of control the government placed on it’s own people would NEVER be allowed with out some boogie man threatening our freedom. The only real threat to our freedom is our government. You, I see, believe what you have been taught and by whom? The very same people who have a vested interest in war profits. As soon as the draft calls up every able bodied politicians children FIRST and in a combat roll, I might only might think that war is just.

  58. “I discovered I was a coward. That’s my new religion. I’m a big believer in it. Cowardice will save the world. War isn’t hell at all. It’s man at his best; the highest morality he’s capable of. It’s not war that’s insane, you see. It’s the morality of it. It’s not greed or ambition that makes war: it’s goodness. Wars are always fought for the best of reasons: for liberation or manifest destiny. Always against tyranny and always in the interest of humanity. So far this war [WWII], we’ve managed to butcher some ten million humans in the interest of humanity. Next war it seems we’ll have to destroy all of man in order to preserve his damn dignity. It’s not war that’s unnatural to us, it’s virtue. As long as valor remains a virtue, we shall have soldiers. So, I preach cowardice. Through cowardice, we shall all be saved.”
    –Paddy Chayefsky, “The Americanization of Emily”

  59. Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
    Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
    And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
    Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
    But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
    Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

    Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!?An ecstasy of fumbling
    Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
    And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.?
    Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
    As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

    In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
    He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

    If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
    Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
    And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
    His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,?
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
    Pro patria mori

  60. We should not use moral kidnap everyone.

  61. I have heard of my fathers generation called the “greatest generation”, fought WW2. I think of them as the “greatest failure generation”. First the income tax causing the great depression.They allowed FDR to take us off of real monies, gold and silver making the depression worsen. Allowed social security to start, welfare and endless wars for peace. In order to return to a good and just country we must force the end of ALL FOREIGN ENTANGLEMENTS. We must bring back real monies. We must stop paying people to sit at home living without working. Stop giving away free things to buy votes. “I got my Obama phone!”. Most of all we must require by law that any politician have no more worth after office as prior to election. If these things were in place there would have been no WW2 as we would have never entered WW1. Without wars WW1 and WW2 there would have been no Vietnam. Without the taxes needed to fight these murderous unlawful wars and striping of the gold and silver standard there would have been no inflation. Wake up and stop voting for people who care nothing for the populaces only their our selfish needs.

  62. I’m a coward, too, but not smart (crafty, precocious, moral, choose your adjective) enough to avoid the draft, so I “served” for three years, doing no one but perhaps my shipmates any good (I hurt no one, but WAS part of The Machine, and drew my pay every payday).

    I regret my service in every way possible.It cost me, it cost you, and it even cost them in a small way somehow.

    I apologize for being too stupid to find a way to spare myself, and everybody else. I think I’m the main victim in my case.

    No, you’re NOT welcome for my service.

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