Thursday, August 28, 2003

More on Dean's draft deferment.

Slate has a new series of articles on the candidates, this time examining "the story that supposedly shows each candidate at his worst". Today they are talk about Dean. In particular, they talk about the suggestion that Dean skipped out on serving in Vietnam because of a back problem but then went on to ski "80 days" in Aspen and work the summer pouring concrete. Slate basically knocks this story down by quoting Dean in full from his MTP appearance:
Defense: Dean told Russert, "I was given an examination. I had a previous back problem, which is evidently congenital, which prevented me from doing any sustained running, a problem that I've had since then, since that time, which requires that when I get out of the car I often have some pains up and down my leg and back and so forth. But I have been able to exercise [and have] a vigorous athletic life except for some things. One of those is long-distance running, which is how the problem came to my attention in the first place. I noticed the pain when I was in high school running track. Â… After the physical, I received a 1-Y deferment, [which] means you can only be called in times of national emergency. I didn't have anything to do with choosing any draft deferment. Â… The United States government said this is your classification. I'm not responsible for that.
There is something more to add to this defense: the physical that Dean took that identified the problem and resulted in his 1-Y classification(*) was an induction physical. That means it was the physical he took on the day he showed up to be inducted into the army. In other words, he didn't avoid the draft. He showed up to fulfill his obligation and it was the army that turned him away. It is important to bone up on the facts on this point because you know damn well that the right-wing will try to smear Dean as some kind of shirker because he "skied for 80 days" in Aspen while our boys were dying in Vietnam. You can respond to this smear with the above facts, but you should also throw it back in the accusers face by asking why they aren't concerned about Bush's failure to complete his national guard duty. (* A 1-Y classification is not as strong as a 4-F. When you get a 1-Y it means the army doesn't consider you fit for duty at this time but that they might still call you back at a later time if the need for additional bodies becomes so pressing that they would risk taking someone with certain health problems.)


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