Friday, April 29, 2011

Donald Trump, “Death Dodger,” avoids war service
by — gasp! — common, legal, and honest methods

 see update at end of thread

Snarky nay-sayers to Trump:
Why didn’t you drop dead?
Donald Trump, we are learning today, sought student and medical deferments during the Vietnam war, according Selective Service records obtained by the Web site The Smoking Gun. He received the deferments before his draft number came up.

He got student deferments, allowing him to complete his education, and was later disqualified for medical reasons; by the time his number came up, he wasn’t required to serve.

Somehow this is supposed to be a big deal.

Nowhere in the story is it asserted that he lied or stretched the truth to avoid service. Neither does it say any doctor lied about his health, or that he really wasn’t in school when he said he was. Nor is it claimed Trump, his family, or his friends used any sort of influence to help him. No illegal or irregular actions by Trump the student are claimed. Only that he got deferments, which are legal.

The worst The Smoking Gun can come up with is a sin of omission, decades after the war: “[t]he word “deferment” was not mentioned by Trump during his chat...” in a TV interview Tuesday on WNYW. The story doesn’t come right out and claim that he lied; such a statement wouldn’t hold up. But by innuendo, and even by the very words “smoking gun,” they are trying to play a game of gotcha. If a gun is smoking, doesn’t that mean a crime (or lie) occurred?

The real failed attempt to paint Trump as a liar is as follows: Trump says that, while at Wharton, he was watching as they did the draft numbers and he got a very high number they never got to. But, cluck his critics, they did get to his number eventually — eighteen months after he left Wharton. See? He’s lying!

This accusation is flimsy when you actually look at it. Read Trump’s statement carefully: He said he was at Wharton watching when his number did not come up. That is the truth. His number never came up while he was at Wharton.

There’s nothing here, children. No improper deferments decades ago, no lies about it today.

I found it interesting that no byline appears over the story at TSG; whatever is proven or not proven about the piece, no single person can be blamed. I called TSG this afternoon to ask who wrote it, and learned from Managing Editor Andrew Goldberg, who answered the phone, that in fact all four staff members — himself, Willliam Bastone, Joseph Jesselli, and Miranda Lin — wrote and contributed to the piece; he said this is the practice for all pieces on the site. Goldberg was forthcoming enough with this information (I did have to persist a bit), and he was a bit frustrated that I did not tell him exactly where I was headed with my inquiry (after his repeated questioning, I told him I was writing a commentary, and gave him the name of this Web site).

Goldberg gave the impression that I should have ascertained authorship by reading TSG’s About page. It was already open in my browser when I phoned, but based on the information on the page, one could only make assumptions about who wrote any given piece. Under the heading Staff, the page includes names of two editors (himself and Bastone) and two reporters (Jesselli and Lin). I think it’s admirable that TSG hangs its reputation on its whole team, but perhaps a clarification about authorship of all articles would be in order.

Authorship is, perhaps, a side issue; either all four worked together to frame a false narrative to go with their Selective Service information, or one person came up with the “dodge” and “obfuscate” angles and we’re not being told who. My guess is, one person came up with the angle, and the other three jumped in gleefully. Either way, the deferments are a non-issue, and Trumps’s statement Tuesday is being puffed up into something it isn’t.

The heart of the story being fed to us, and echoed thoughtlessly, is that Trump avoided the draft. What about that?

Our country provided men of draft age with the opportunity to avoid service in Vietnam using respectful, honorable, and completely legal means. George Bush served honorably in the Guard, and John Kerry served dishonorably, lying about it afterwards, thus rightfully losing his grab for power. (And, thankfully, this prevented the equally repugnant John Edwards from joining him in the White House.)

Donald Trump did not serve in Vietnam. Is there something shameful about that? Of course not. And no stories we are being fed provide evidence he did anything dishonest then or now.

I for one am glad that Trump did not die in Vietnam. Is that wrong of me? Can’t we be glad that he obeyed the law, got a first-class education, dodged injury or, worse, a cruel death, and built a company that actually makes something and employs thousands? Obama (peace be on him) cannot claim to have done anything close to this. He went to school, he worked at Baskin-Robbins, he sat at the feet of America-haters and even a terrorist, and he agitated his way into state office, the U.S. Senate, and the Oval Office. But he has never run a company, has never made payroll, has never offered a product to the public (besides anger and resentment disguised as hope and change), and has never come through on his many grand campaign promises. He has not been open and transparent (an easy task) and he has not subdued the oceans (a messianic feat). He has turned out to be a phony, in every real sense of the word.

It is typical of many on the left to denounce the horrible Vietnam war, rewrite its history, praise anyone who protested it, and denounce anyone in leadership who contributed to it — while employing a double standard by accusing those that oppose them of being draft dodgers. Creepy John Kerry went further, shaming the men he served with and our country in general, claiming that atrocities he described were “not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command...”

In other words, even if Trump had served, he would have been guilty of war crimes.

UPDATE: 7:02 PM | I just found my own smoking gun; even I can miss a lie when it’s in plain sight. This one is in the very first line of The Smoking Gun’s story. Do you notice the word “solely” in that sentence? “Despite Donald Trump’s claim this week that he avoided serving in the Vietnam War solely due to a high draft number...”

When did Trump ever claim that he avoided military service solely due to a high draft number?

The Smoking Gun gets caught in a lie,
providing critics a smoking gun of their own.
The fact is, he never did. I listened to the entire interview carefully. The Smoking Gun lied. All four of them, evidently.

Listen, you fools at The Smoking Gun: When you play gotcha on word-play and falsely accuse people of lying, you yourselves will get caught lying and will be exposed for the amateur deceivers you are.

Readers, are you beginning to see what lengths people will go to when truth is not really their agenda? When they’re scrambling to shovel us shit and call it sugar, in the name of journalism? Shame on The Smoking Gun, but let’s thank them for giving us a smoking gun of our own. Next time, let’s all be careful about jumping on a story just because our chains are being yanked by these clowns.

Hey, I’m not even a big fan of the Donald. I’m not happy about his lack of conservative bone fides, and I’m not sure he could be a good commander-in-chief. But I’m not standing by and watching a bunch of Dumpster divers set fires and then yell, “Smoke!”

Now, let’s hope they have the decency to publish a correction.


Anonymous said...

What a fool. I feel dumb after reading this. Sigh. I hope you have a day job. Why do you take pleasure is being an idiot?

Anonymous said...

Excellent commentary! Thank you for taking the time to set the record straight!