Debate:Is a candidate's military record relevant anymore?
Look at recent elections. 1992: Bill Clinton (draft dodger) beats George Bush (combat veteran). 1996: Bill Clinton (draft doger) beats Bob Dole (wounded combat veteran). 2000: George W. Bush (draft dodger) beats Al Gore (veteran, did not see combat). 2004: George Bush (draft dodger) beats John Kerry (wounded combat veteran). Now in 2008 John McCain (former POW) is lagging behind Obama (never served). Are voters now more interested in a candidate's political record than their time in the military? CraigC 09:56, 7 September 2008 (EDT)
It is always a mistake to make broad assertions and generalizations based on stereotypes and prejudices. Especially when they contain errors based on a political misinformation campaign. The error of calling George W. Bush a draft dodger when he actually served in the Air National Guard. Or the incomplete assertion that names John Kerry as a wounded combat veteran without also mentioning his anti-military actions such as calling all American forces in Viet Nam as being war criminals. These differences in military service did make an impact on the elections. The relevance is especially pronounced to anyone who has ever served in the military or even had a family member that served. It also is relevant to the voter who sees their military service being belittled, slandered, lied about, or shown contempt for by those people who've never served their country. In the current election it has been attempted repeatedly to make John McCains military service record irrelevant since his opponent never served in the military. Which it looks to be as one of the goals of this debate, by the way. Everything is relevant in any election.--Roopilots6 09:07, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
- Correct, everything is relevant, but that does not answer the question as to what /ought/ be relevant. I think military service certainly helps, but it's not the end all be all that McCain wants it to be. Soldiers are people first, and people are fallible; there are bad soldiers just as there are bad people and pointing that out (such as when Kerry went before Congress) isn't a bad thing at all. The point? Serving your country doesn't make you better or worse than anyone else, it just adds variety. Jirby 09:39, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
- So then the addition of military service record as variety in an election is relevant. But then you say it is irrelevant in that it doesn't make you a better or worse candidate. So which one is it to be, relevant or irrelevant?--Roopilots6 10:20, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
- Do you not read? Indeed, EVERYTHING is relevant; that's the way things are, but here's the kicker, that says nothing of what /ought/ be relevant. Palin's daughter, for example, was highly relevant in the days after the story broke about her being pregnant, but it shouldn't have ever been broken in the first place: Bristol isn't going to be the vice president, and what happened to McCain in Vietnam doesn't suddenly make him a superior leader because Obama /hasn't/ served in the military. Jirby 10:25, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
- So you say it is irrelevant. But you also say everything is relevant. Here is my point to you. I served in the military for thirteen years. I know it made me a better person. I also know that for some people it will bring out the bad characteristics in them. Any hardship or challenge will do this and the challenges faced during a persons military service are very relevant towards their future tasks. To those who have a contempt for military service I doubt will be able to recognize what that relevance is for a candidate. You just get it, or you don't. It is an individual stance and not a collective one.--Roopilots6 10:45, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
- You seem to be not getting this on purpose, and now I am becoming annoyed but I shall persevere: Anything that can be reported is relevant, insofar as people will read/listen to it, I.e., Bristol's pregnancy. However, OUGHT it be relevant; should it really matter? The answer is no, not everything ought be relevant. When we're talking about McCain's military record being relevant, it is to a degree, however, it isn't relevant as pitched by McCain et al; it's not the only relevant thing. If McCain had his way, then his military record is the only thing necessary to run President of the United States, but it's not; it's one of many areas that demonstrate the character and integrity of the person in question. McCain served his country, Barack served his community. Is there a difference? Maybe a superficial one. The Military is just another job; you can attach as much symbolism and meaning to that job as you want, but do the cold steely eyes of logic (and more importantly, God), a soldier is no different than a plumber; they are both but men.
- I also disagree with the rather subtle assertion that I or anyone else have contempt for the military (for why else would you bother mentioning it?) simply because we disagree that McCain's service record necessarily makes him the second coming. You're 'you either get it or you don't' statement isn't even an argument; if we disagree we don't get it, whatever. That is essentially saying "if you argue you're wrong!" Well, denied. I'm a future marine, but just because that is the case doesn't mean I think all marines would make good presidents simply because they are marines. That's called a circle. Jirby 13:00, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
- I wasn't being subtle, but if it fits then go with it. If you think that the difference between community service and military service is merely a superficial one then this dialogue has just entered the realm of irrelevancy. I'm supposing you mean circular reasoning. So that's all I got to say about that.--Roopilots6 17:44, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
- So you disagree? If so, then please, I enjoy these sort of discussions, though not when the other participant gives the equivalent of a throwing-their-hands-in-the-air response.Jirby 19:32, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
In a debate, when you've gone off topic and start focusing on the person you're debating with then you've already lost that debate. If you have anything "relevant" that relates to the topic then go ahead and type it down.--Roopilots6 09:15, 11 September 2008 (EDT)
I think the relevancy of the military record of a candidate depends on his role in the war. If the person was a regular soldier (I am not familiar with rank so excuse the layman's language, I believe it is the rank of Private, but am not sure) then honestly, no I don't think it does. I am not in anyway trying to lessen the sacrifice that privates make in battle; I respect them 100% for the sacrifices they make. These sacrifices, however, do not necessarily translate into superior ability to be commander in chief. A private in the military makes no strategical decisions in the larger picture, that is the job of majors, generals etc. A commander in chief is chiefly concerned with overall strategy. Thus a private really has no greater advantage in this situation. If the candidate, however, was a a major or general or some other strategical position, then yes, in the context of commander in chief, it does matter. That record as a strategy decider, however, cannot be the only attribute that makes a candidate successful. Being commander in chief is only one of the many responsibilities of a president. In a way, it is almost of slightly lesser importance (before you all scream, hear me out). As commander in chief, the president (once in a declared war in congress) has the ultimate authority on strategy. Thus he can listen to his advisors and generals and such, make a decision, and have it enacted. Domestic and foreign policy, however, must go through congress. A president needs tremendous political skill to work a plan through congress (vis a vis FDR). In policy decisions, the president must work with congress and satisfy congress. In military strategy, the president has practically free reign. My 2 cents --AndrasK 19:28, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
- There used to be a thing called the art of character building. Whether you started out as a regular enlisted rank or a wet behind the ears 0fficer just out of some elitest college didn't matter a lick. What you do with what you have does. Showing progress and staying out of trouble is more relevant than the worthless opinion of an elitest establishment looking down their collective noses at the lowly enlisted ranks. Let me repeat what I've already said before in the vain hope of it leaving an impression on someone. Unless you've actually served in the military, you really don't understand the level of sacrifice being offered by those serving or having served in the military. You will never understand the relevance it will give you in understanding others sacrifice in going into harms way today, tommorow or even past conflicts. If you think community service is like military service then you've proven my point. Progressing through the ranks and obtaining an Honorable Discharge is more relevant than to whether they obtained a high enough rank to qualify for an executive position. A candidate for any job will be asked what type of discharge and what rank was obtained. In the position of President of the United States of America, the Commander in Chief never has free reign with military strategy. The Chiefs of Staff will outline the choices to be made, A through Z, which the Commander in Chief then chooses from. Only dictators, or monarchs have free reign in such matters. Thank God we live in a Republic here in the U.S.A.--Roopilots6 10:00, 11 September 2008 (EDT)