With John Bolton set to bring his combative spirit to the Trump White House as the president’s national security adviser, liberal critics are dragging out the ghost of the Vietnam War as they react to his appointment.
The Left, in defending Clinton's draft dodging said Vietnam was an immoral, illegal war he was totally justified in avoiding. In Bolton's case, the Left now claims Vietnam was a noble and just war that he should have died fighting in.
— Sean Spoonts (@sean_spoonts) March 26, 2018
Adam Weinstein, who vented about the appointment on the website Task and Purpose, characterized Bolton as a man who “believes dearly that blood makes the grass grow,” and then slammed Bolton for not having served in Vietnam.
“Bolton, it turns out, is known for bolting when the gun bolts start cycling,” he wrote as part of his castigation of Bolton for serving in the National Guard in 1970.
A 22-year-old quote is also used as part of the effort to claim Bolton did the wrong thing.
“I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy,” Bolton wrote in 1995, according to Military.com. “I considered the war in Vietnam already lost.”
Twitter chimed in to bash Bolton for not wanting to fight in Vietnam.
“I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy… I considered the war in Vietnam already lost.” – John Bolton in 1995 https://t.co/w8NfaAExjQ
— Ralph Nader (@RalphNader) March 27, 2018
For someone who loves the idea of sending Americans to fight and die in other countries, John Bolton couldn't sack up and actually serve in Vietnam. Why should we be okay with his bomb everyone, and nation building schemes? @GOP @AmbJohnBolton @POTUS
— Josh (@jwallacethinks) March 27, 2018
none of the soldiers drafted to Vietnam wanted to die in a rice paddy! many did not agree with the war but responded because they were called by country. 45 and Bolton are traitors for their response. 45 as commander in chief? if it weren't so tragic it would be hilarious.
— lifematters (@LifemattersKim) March 24, 2018
But only 3 years before Bolton wrote of his decision to avoid Vietnam, The New York Times offered a different view of the merits of avoiding combat in Vietnam.
The Times wrote that there is nothing wrong with a political candidate who “worked to avoid the draft, at times cleverly, but in ways that accorded with accepted common practice among others of his generation. Against that history, this Vietnam echo looks like an irrelevance that ought not distract New Hampshire voters …”
In this case, The Times was defending presidential candidate Bill Clinton.
“In the crazy time of 1969, other young men found themselves suddenly drawn to divinity school or defense industries. Desperate potential draftees drank their own blood to feign ulcers and gorged on licorice stew because that was supposed to elevate blood pressure. Still others sought refuge in Canada — or went to prison,” The Times wrote in defense of those who found ways to avoid serving in Vietnam.
Bolton is not among those looking back.
“During my career, I have written I don’t know how many articles and op-eds and opinion pieces. I have given I can’t count the number of speeches, I have countless interviews … in the past 11 years. They’re all out there in the public record. I have never been shy about what my views are,” Bolton told Fox News last week, as reported by CNN.
“Frankly, what I have said in private now is behind me. The important thing is what the president says and the advice I give him,” Bolton said.
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