Generation Nearest Exit

Though Bolton supported the Vietnam War, he declined to enter combat duty, instead enlisting in the National Guard and attending law school after his 1970 graduation. “I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy,” Bolton wrote of his decision in the 25th reunion book. “I considered the war in Vietnam already lost.”

I guess it is no surprise that someone who is as consistently wrong as Bill Kristol would actually commission an article from someone who is as consistently stupid as Dean Barnett. For those unfamiliar with Barnett, he’s been described as Hugh Hewitt’s “right hand man” which, in a similar industry, is commonly referred to as a “fluffer”. Had you to bet your house during the 2006 election based upon Barnett’s predictions, you’d probably be living in a refrigerator box in the alley right now. But that kind of wrongness must be appealing to Bill Kristol, possibly because he sees a little bit of himself in Barnett. The part that is both consistently wrong and stupid.

All of which would explain Barnett’s cover story in Kristol’s Weekly Standard; a magazine best described as wingnut welfare-subsidized whacking material for neocons. In an effort to pay tribute to those boys Over There who are fighting and dying in Bill Kristol’s Wet Dream War, Barnett seeks to contrast their courage against an entire generation of strawmen:

In the 1960s, history called the Baby Boomers. They didn’t answer the phone.

Confronted with a generation-defining conflict, the cold war, the Boomers–those, at any rate, who came to be emblematic of their generation–took the opposite path from their parents during World War II. Sadly, the excesses of Woodstock became the face of the Boomers’ response to their moment of challenge. War protests where agitated youths derided American soldiers as baby-killers added no luster to their image.

Few of the leading lights of that generation joined the military. Most calculated how they could avoid military service, and their attitude rippled through the rest of the century. In the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s, military service didn’t occur to most young people as an option, let alone a duty.

But now, once again, history is calling. Fortunately, the present generation appears more reminiscent of their grandparents than their parents.

Excuse me but, as my grandmother used to say: what the fuck?

First off, Barnett takes an entire generation, generally considered to be those born between 1944 and 1964, and decides that the dirty fucking hippies are “emblematic” of every single one of the 76 million Americans born during that period. Now, of course, he’s not counting the almost three million Americans who served in Viet Nam, and certainly not the 58,000 Americans who died there . So what we end up with is roughly 73 million cowardly bastards who refused to answer the bell; dirty hippies one and all who spit on soldiers and called them baby killers. But that’s silly. Obviously, they weren’t all hippies and, to refute that absurd idea, context is called for. The kind of context like you may find here using the Few Bad Apples Defense :

To provide necessary context, I have to once again list the tales told in TNR’s controversial story. If you already have the potential tall tales committed to memory, feel free to skip the rest of this paragraph. The soldiers in the story humiliate a woman in a military dining hall who has been disfigured in an IED explosion; they discover human remains and one private spends a day and night playing around with a child’s skull (“which even had chunks of hair”), amusing his fellow soldiers; and one private routinely drives a Bradley Fighting Vehicle recklessly and uses the vehicle to kill stray dogs My summary, which was basically stolen from Bill Kristol’s summary of the TNR story, makes the piece sound more benign than it really is.

Repeatedly, both on the air and in print, I said that even if The New Republic’s story turns out to be accurate right down to every last detail, the magazine’s publication of the piece without putting the reported misdeeds in the context of the 160,000 soldiers in Iraq who are performing their duties honorably is unconscionable. The New Republic ran a story that stated directly that war does awful things to men’s souls. The unmistakable implication of the “Diarist” (as The New Republic calls such reports) is that what the story reported wasn’t isolated incidents, but rather a common and predictable effect of war, especially one started by George W. Bush.

That would be Dean again.

One might say that the “unmistakable implication” of Dean’s Weekly Standard cover story is that all of the baby boomers are tainted by the unconscionable acts of the dirty fucking draft-dodging military-hating Commie-loving hippies and thank God for this generation of selfless conservative realists who are fighting Them over there so that we don’t have to fight Them over here ( a concept once called the Domino Theory, starring America the Land of the Free as the last domino, for those of you old enough to remember). Of course, with a little research, Dean might have discovered the Real 9/11 Generation who are all about fighting Them over there so we don’t have to fight Them over here…

…as long as someone else is doing the fighting.

In all fairness Dean is not entirely wrong about how a few of the leading lights of the Baby Boomer generation chose to avoid duty when history came a’knockin’, and how their attitude towards military service came to infect a generation of Young Republicans, as seen above . In fact, you can find a few of the culprits right here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and especially here .

All Dean Barnett had to do was look to his Right…

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Yeah. Like I would tell you....