The Last Word | June 07, 2012
>>> in tonight's rewrite, what does this guy have in common with this guy? that's right. nothing. but they once had one thing in common. each man tried to use his religion as the reason he should not be drafted in to military service during the vietnam war . mitt romney had no problem doing that because the mormon church established a special relationship with the selective service administration which aloud the church to designate young men like romney as exempt from the draft while they did temporary service of a couple of years trying to convert people to mormonism. the mormon church was the only religion that was allowed to do that. it was an obvious constitutional violation of the separation of church and state , and it provoked more than one federal lawsuit that dragged through the courts and became moot when president nixon ended the draft in 1973 . in order for a member of any other religion to get a so-called minister of religion deferment, he would have had to commit his life to a ministry, not just a couple of years. muhammad ali sought the exact same deferment as mitt romney , but the selective service refused to honor his claim of being a black muslim minister. drafted then under his birth name of cassius clay , muhammad ali stood on principle and refused induction in to the military, a federal crime then punishable by five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. muhammad ali was convicted of that crime and was spared a prison sentence pending the appeal of his case, which he eventually won in the united states supreme court . muhammad ali 's stance against the draft was a principled stance. it was logically and morally aligned with his principled opposition to the vietnam war . muhammad ali said, i ain't got no quarrel with them viet cong . muhammad ali was right, america didn't have a quarrel there. muhammad ali was smarter than the president of the united states , muhammad ali was smarter about vietnam than henry kissinger who had tricked a gullible news media into thinking he was a genius, and muhammad ali was brave enough to face the consequences of his principled stance. he was willing to lose income, to lose his boxing career, to lose his freedom, to go to prison for his beliefs as were many other brave and principled young men of that era. mitt romney on the other hand effortlessly hid from military service in france protected by the unconstitutional arrangements his church had with the selective service . and of course, the romney history here does not involve a matter of principle. the mitt romney who was hiding out in france while muhammad ali was facing the wrath of the federal court system and a prison sentence is the same mitt romney who as freshman in college while hiding behind the college deferment from the draft participated in a demonstration in favor of the vietnam war . mitt romney was in favor of young american men his age being drafted and sent to their deaths in vietnam as long as he wasn't one of them. needless to say, romney hates being asked about what he did in the war of his era. and this campaign season a compliant press has not been asking him about it. it is, of course, relevant because we live in a time of war once again, a time that sometimes feels like it could turn into an era of permanent war, and mitt romney is very, very much in favor of war.
>> governor romney , was the war in iraq , a good idea and worst the blood and tresh yu we have spent?
>> it was the right decision to go into iraq. i supported it at the time, i support it now.
>> but of course that does not mean that mitt romney supported any of his five sons actually serving in that war that he supported or any other war. romney men don't go to war. mitt romney 's father didn't, mitt romney didn't, and his sons didn't. in august of 2007 in a defensive response as to why his sons did not serve in the military in the iraq war , mitt romney said one of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected. he actually said that. romney men support war. they support wars that other people have to fight. mitt romney 's father was in favor of the vietnam war before he was against it, after having claimed famously to have been brainwashed by generals on vietnam . mitt romney has never come close to telling the truth about his relationship to the vietnam war . this is the lie that mitt romney told the last time he was running for president in 2007 . i really don't recall thinking about the political positions when i was knocking at the door in france . there were anti- vietnam war protests in france while mitt romney was there. the french fought the vietnam war before we did. we took over from the french. the vietnam war was covered by the french news media every single day that mitt romney was in france . and romney went on to say, i was supportive of my country. i longed in many respects to actually be in vietnam and be representing our country there. there was not a single able-bodied man who in any respect longed to be in vietnam who was denied a chance to go to vietnam . not one. and romney says -- he says there that he wanted to go to vietnam to represent our country. meaning what? he wanted to be the ambassador? my friends and family members who went to vietnam were not representing their country. they were just trying to survive. they were trying to stay alive in a war that they all quickly learned we could not win. romney also said in 2007 , quote, in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like i was there as part of the troops that were fighting in vietnam . frustrating not to feel like i was there? well, he could feel like he was there a few years later if he went to see "apocalypse now." every man who lived through the vietnam era who was at least of high school age at some point during the vietnam era , knows that mitt romney is lying in every word of that statement. every american who went to vietnam knows that every able-bodied man of draft age who didn't join the military made an active choice not to join. but the same mitt romney who said he kind of sort of wishes he'd gone to vietnam also said, quote, when my dad said that he had been wrong about vietnam and that it was a mistake and they had been brainwashed and so forth, i certainly trusted him and believed him. so there's mitt romney saying he believed his father when his father turned against the vietnam war . and that at least consistent with something romney said when he was 23 years old and in the fifth year of his deferment from the draft. then the same mitt romney who had demonstrated in favor of the draft, in favor of the war said, if it wasn't a political blunder to move into vietnam , i don't know what is. so there's mitt romney in effect agreeing with muhammad ali , that we didn't really have a fight with the vietcong. in his first interviews about this back in 1994 in his first political campaign , mitt romney told "the boston herald ," i was not planning on signing up for the military. it was not my desire to go off and serve in vietnam . now there's none of that, i wish i'd gone to vietnam stuff in that statement. he sounds like me in that statement and most of the people i knew at the time in that statement. r romney now takes his place among the many, the countless, supporters like rush limbaugh who has been, like me, afraid of participating in combat themselves. by the time my number was about to come up in the draft, president nixon ended the draft. so i never had to follow muhammad ali 's brave footsteps into federal court . i live like most people, like most men in fear of combat. all of my friends and relatives who have gone into combat are braver than me, and i know it. and i freely and publicly acknowledge it. i pay them the public respect of being braver than i am. and knowing that i would never be willing to go in to combat myself, like most americans and like most american men, afraid to go into combat, i have never advocated anyone else going into combat at any time. i have never urged us to war, as mitt romney has done and rush limbaugh has done and countless other combat cowards have done and will continue to do. you don't give up the legal right to advocate combat if you're afraid of combat yourself. you don't give up your first amendment right to advocate combat if you're afraid of combat yourself. but i for one believe you give up your moral right to advocate combat, to advocate war if you're afraid of war yourself. if you sat out the war of your era. like me. and mitt romney . 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