Sunday, February 3, 2013

Who's the hero, McCain or Hagel?

I've gone over Hagel's strange Army career, one that's perhaps even stranger than mine was. Dropped out of three colleges and then volunteered for the draft. Yes, there was such a thing. If a person knew that he was going to get drafted and wanted to "get it over with" sooner, he could do that, and no, it was not quite the same as "volunteering."  Not being a college student in good standing, Hagel, just like me, knew his number was coming up so rather than spend time in limbo, like I did, he went to the draft board and said "draft me now."

A good trainee, Hagel was sent to a special top secret training and he was bound to be deployed to Germany. Just nine guys wee picked for this training of all the trainees they had access to - they went with a three time college drop out.

The story has Hagel packing his gear for his flight to Germany whee he was to do his two years pretty much safe and clean. But at the very last minute Hagel asked his commanding officer not to send him to Germany, because he wanted to go where the real war was happening, (a slap in the face to his commander, maybe, ) but the C.O. sent for a shrink and a chaplain as the story goes and after three hours they decided that yes, Hagel was to forget about this top secret training, the army would write off the cost of all of it and because an army private wanted his orders changed they would do just that! And send him to the insane zoo that Vietnam had become.
(Where these top secret training matters would never be spoken of?)

 Vietnam had become a place where the troops were smoking tons of weed, refusing to go on missions, and sometimes tossing live grenades at their leaders. That's part of the reason why a relatively new soldier like Hagel could be made a sergeant and a squad leader with almost no experience. That part does compute, but the part where he is in the same squad as his brother is just one bridge too far to cross. Stuff like that didn't happen, just like army privates didn't get their orders changed on their own whims.

Now let's do McCain:

Being taken prisoner is not an honor for military people, especially if taken prisoner because of their own stupid actions. Andrew Sullivan said that McCain was not tortured.