Controversies of Duty

Remember the Bill Clinton (search) draft evasion story in 1992?

He received a draft deferment after promising to report for ROTC duty. He failed to report and then got lucky with a high lottery number, which was never called. His commanding officer at the time virtually accused Clinton of lying to him about his intentions at the time. It was a huge controversy.

It is worth recalling in light of the controversy created by Democrats — including many who supported Bill Clinton's draft evasion — about President Bush and his service in the National Guard (search).

Bush served. Clinton didn't.

Leading Democratic presidential contender John Kerry (search) at first tried to make an issue of Bush supposedly skipping a few National Guard meetings. Kerry says he won't talk about it anymore. But others will. It is worth recalling what Kerry said in some Senate floor speeches in 1992 during the controversy about Bill Clinton and comparing those remarks with what he and his supporters are saying today.

Oct. 8, 1992: "... If service or no service in the (Vietnam) war is to become a test of qualification for high office ... Our nation would never recover from the divisions created by that war." About President Bush, John Kerry at first said that questions about his military service were legitimate, but then he said this week he wouldn't raise them again. Too late now. The blood is already in the water and the media sharks are circling.

In a Feb. 27, 1992, Senate speech, Kerry said: "We do not need more division. We certainly do not need something as complex and emotional as Vietnam reduced to simple campaign rhetoric .... I hope and pray we will put it behind us and go forward in a constructive spirit for the good of the party and the good of our country."

I like that John Kerry better than the current version.

And that's Column One (search) for this week.

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