does it matter to you?

i was wondering if voters even noticed whether or not a presidential candidate has military experience. does a candidates' military service, or lackthereof, play any part in your decision for support and/ or potential vote?

personally, it does for me. before sending troops into harm's way, i want that person to understand the effects and ramifications of such actions. without wearing the uniform, i don't think a potential commander-in-chief can fully grasp this. at the same time, i would not disqualify a candidate because of lack of service.

nonetheless, considering the use of the draft and recent wars/ military action, i imagine military service among the contenders will be tougher to come by in the future.

No votes yet

It only seems to matter if you are a Republican. If you are a Democrat you get swift boated and treated like a piece of shit for your military experience...

Google "swift boat" or "swift boating" and any of the following:
John Kerry
Paul Hackett
Jim Web
Joe Sestak
Tammy Duckworth
John Murtha

George Bush did the same thing to John McCain during the 2000 primary. I don

Sensor does do a good job of highlighting many of the issues that come up however he does neglect to point out that even Mr. Bush was a victim of one of these attacks only headed by the head of a major "neutral" "news" organization.

But to address the original post. The military has long been headed by civilian leadership. The mark of a good leader is not whether or not they served in the military. Many military leaders have made bad politicians. Many politicians have made great military decisions.

The mark of the candidate shouldn't be whether they served or not. If they did serve it should be whether that service was honorable. If they did not serve then it should be on their ability to make sound decisions.

As in the case referenced of John Kerry his record should never have been brought into question. He served and received an honorable discharge. End of story. The only questions of his ability as a candidate should have been the merits of his statements he made about his service before congress. Unfortunately no one wanted to pass by the rhetoric and confront these questions.

The same had happened with Bush.



...can ever have personal experience in all aspects of every decision they will be faced with. So having had military experience is not a requirement I feel a candidate needs to have, although I don't think it hurts.

However, if you are running for a position that puts you in charge of a military-type force (US armed forces, national guard), then I want someone who respects and appreciates the service of such men and women, will listen to their sound advice when it comes to their realm of expertise and will not hesitate when it is necessary to ask them to do what they volunteered to do. I also want someone who, when making such a difficult decision to send our military into harm's way, does so only when necessary to protect our country.

And while the election is over and Kerry lost, I always thought the issue was not his military service but rather his actions after his discharge.

having a president who served in the military is much like having a college degree in the private sector. We all know its not really necessary to do a good job...but, it looks good on a resume.

Because the 26th Amendment hadn

Old South End Broadway

for me, it's similar to the other issues. when considering a candidate, i essentially form a list of pro and con's. if the person has military service, it's a pro. if not, it's a con. as mentioned earlier, it isn't a make-or-break issue for me. no single issue is make-or-break for me.

experience can help foster learning, knowledge, and appreciation. that's why i like having military experience in a commander-in-chief.

It only seems to matter if you are a Republican.

well, i'm not a republican and it matters to me. my military service may cause a bit of a bias, but it doesn't seem as powerful as sensor's left-wing proclivity.

I guess I don't know that much about the man. I wasn't aware he was a Christian. And as for being a Muslim, Neighborhood is probably right. I am sure that a "true" Muslim has no trouble with our First Amendment, and that Iraq will eventually have its own "Bill of Rights".

Old South End Broadway

We'll have the new vets to choose from soon. Some are already running in various spots accross the USA.

Keep in mind this, as generations go by, it will be more difficult to find leaders that have not been divorced, criminal in some way, on a drug or two from time to time etc. Culture and apathy have ensured that "pure" people are not everywhere anymore. At this point, nearly all people in the run will have flaws or history that would seem non benificial in the political realm. But that's they way it goes...

Clinton didn't inhale and Bush gave up drinking.

The President of the Unites States is the Commander in Chief, the head of the U.S. Military. I would appreciate a good working knowledge of the military or a person who shows an inclination in the absence of their own expertise, a willingness to use the expertise of others.

I would like to see a candidate who discusses, realistically, the requirements of the job and what makes them a good candidate. No person can be an expert or to have had real experiences in all areas - so a person who has a healthy enough self-esteem to say "No, I am not an expert in economics, since my experience has been military - but I would appoint so and so as my economic advisor", or "No, I am not experienced in military matters so I would need to appoint an experienced advisor".

When do we ever hear the most basic conversations that would take place in any other hiring process like that? Does it ever boil down to a discussion about the job and the qualifications?

Not sure about anybody else, but the majority of campaigns I see the last 10 years or so are the candidates just talking about their opponents. Never about their own qualifications.

Heck, you couldn't get hired at Burger King like that - but we put somebody in the Whitehouse every four years like that.

If you're here to tell me it's my fault - you're right. I meant to do it. It was alot of fun. That's why I have this happy smile on my face.

I hate to write, "What he said!"

It's good to have a veteran who is scaling the education wall contribute. I still have fingernail marks where I was struggling up that same incline.

Didn't we do this already?

No, I am not experienced in military matters so I would need to appoint an experienced advisor".

We had Rumsfeld. Colin Powell tried to advise on some levels as did Rice and Rumsfeld would have none of it and the parade of generals all with plans and statements that we can expect a troop pull down to occur shortly, no wait scratch general...going well..troops should be able to come home in the near wait...scratch that....and on and on it goes.

And also listened to them. Every President in my lifetime has had a hand picked cabinet. Some Presidents have installed knowledgeable cabinet members and listened to their advice. Some choose not to listen. Doesn't mean they were each wrong about having a cabinet.

MikeyA I didn't direct my comments toward any candidate in particular, insider or outsider. It's just my own wish list.

If you're here to tell me it's my fault - you're right. I meant to do it. It was alot of fun. That's why I have this happy smile on my face.

You're right Mike, I did forget about the forged document fiasco. Of course there were major repercussions from it and multiple people lost their jobs and a major news anchor was sacked

"As for the other party I might vote for Clinton (even though she is a woman), but I fret a little about Obama. A Muslim in the Whitehouse bothers me a little. Oh, I know, he says he

Obama's father was a non-practicing Muslim; he however is a Christian

I see your point Kate but sometimes an outsider can be a good thing.

An outsider can sometimes come in and evaluate more honestly. They can ask 'Why do we do it like this?' and make changes for the better that normally wouldn't gain steam.

For instance I think President Clinton was mainly an effective military leader. The military made two big changes under him. One, women became fighter pilots, and two, the don't ask don't tell policy.

I think he as an outsider was able to come in and say "We are refusing the service of many qualified individuals." and he made changes that I think improved the overall quality of the military.

A former military member might have been apt to not make those changes because "that's not the way it's done".

I am confident that in my life women will be allowed into combat. I highly doubt that'll come from a president with military experience. But I am equally confident that that change will make the military better.



Kate I wasn't trying to attack and I'm sorry if it came off that way. I was just trying to give an example. I do respect your opinion and I don't think it's unreasonable.

OldSouthEndBrdy, thank you for your story. Issues like this are best impacted on personal experience. I have served with many gay people but because of the policy it was never discussed. I will say that the Dept. of Defense has a long tradition of determining what groups are eligible to serve and I don't think that should change. I think the best thing about the Don't ask Don't Tell policy is that it maintains a persons sexual preference should be a personal decision and not in the public forum.

Just for the record, the military also discharges adulterers. And it does it despite the presence of a legal seperation or not. This is one of the largest charged crimes in the military. The belief for that is that if someone is unfaithful to their wife that could be used as leverage in order to get secrets from them. Very similar to the homosexual ban.



"Of course there were major repercussions from it and multiple people lost their jobs and a major news anchor was sacked


I remember when I was overseas. In our unit we all had

Old South End Broadway

No the real difference is that the Veterans for

...if I remember the facts wrong...but I thought that the Swift Boat Veterans offered their opinion....

And as with any situation - including this post - you can disagree with someone's opinion, but it doesn't make the opinion wrong...

The Swift Boat jerks didn

Part of the comments on Kerry was his alleged lack of patriotism with regards to the Vietnam war.

Being home to the Toledo Blade and the stories of Tiger Force I always and still find it odd that when someone speaks out about alleged or documented actions that are far outside of the norm in times of war, the person or persons are unpatriotic as if to say to be patriotic one needs to tow the line and not speak their mind.

You raise a good point neighborhood but many in the military still remember the Tailwind scandal vividly.

In that CNN accused the American military of using agent orange and sarin gas on american military who were defectors. The story was broadcast, given top billing on all the networks. The problem was it wasn't true.

Sensor can bitch and moan and whine about Fox and the swiftvets all he wants but the truth is they never blatantly tried to swing an election. CBS aired faked documents as real in an effort to try to swing an election. Reporting on what a group is saying is one thing reporting what a group is saying as fact is another.

As I referenced with Tailwind there has been an anti-military stance throughout the media. Some say it's a reflection of a more open military since there are less constraints as there was in WWII. It's been highlighted in a number of events from the Pentagon Papers to the use of embedded journalists of the Iraq invasion.


MikeyA make a distinction between attacking someone's military service versus attacking their current positions/opinions/statements.

There are a lot of positions that Kerry and McCain have (I picked one of each party) with which I disagree. But I have never said anything negative about the time they spent - or the actions they took - when wearing the uniform of our country.

And Sensor - I'd add W. Clark to that list as well. I don't like a lot of what he says today, but that has nothing to do with his time as a general. I'd even defend him if, as a general, he carried out his commander in chief's policies publicly while disagreeing with them personally - and if he today has public opinions that, as a result, contradict his statements when a general.

LOL I have a problem with Clark's decisions while in the military. But only because I studied some of what he did a few years ago and most wouldn't normally wouldn't know about them. But like I said I take issue with his decisions, not his service.

Same with McCain. I have no problem with his service. I do have a problem with his actions after his service notably the McCain/Feingold bill and also with his links to the S&L scandal as one of the "Keating Five".




...since you don't provide any examples of what you mean when you say that Dem's military service is attacked, I went out to media matters to read the transcript of Rush Limbaugh's show comments about Paul Hackett.

He said, basically, two things.

Primarily, all but one of his comments are about Hackett hiding his liberalism behind a military uniform. I don't see that as attacking his service. I see that as an attack on his policy positions and the fact that he emphasized his military service over his political positions.

But this is a criticism that many had - individuals who have rather liberal views on things emphasizing something (in this case, their military service) because they think it will be received better by the public. This is no different from a conservative de-emphasizing something that they think might be 'too liberal' for their base.

The one thing I did see that I think Rush was wrong on, was when Rush accused Hackett of going back to Iraq to 'pad his resume.' He said this once, according to mediamatters. And that's not acceptable. However, also according to media matters (and other sites that come up), Rush took a significant amount of flak over that statement - yes, even from his predominately conservative audience.

So, SensorG, don't paint all Republicans with such a wide brush simply because some talk show host says something. And using a columnist like Ann Coulter as an example doesn't wash either...lots of Republicans dislike her as much as Democrats do.

Limbaugh also called Major Paul Hackett nothing but a

Sensor you're the one who's coping out.

You are attacking Fox for putting the swiftvets on as "news". Guess what 527's run campaigns now-a-days. What they're saying is news because they're the only ones saying provacative things.

However CBS took faked documents from a source that was clearly biased. Didn't fact check them. And presented them as news. This is a lapse of many hard journalism ethics.

I could accuse MSNBC of the same thing you are accusing Fox of with Cindy Sheehan. MSNBC had Cindy Sheehan on every chance possible. Was this a violation of journalism ethics? No. Each time she was on they presented her as a third party giving an opinion. That is the point.



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