much TV - all in one brief note...
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Sodom [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Monday, April 12, 1999 4:08 PM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: RE: virus: Bill's "perspective" on Presidential character and
> too much TV - all in one brief note...
> First off - this is too long, It would take me half the day
> to read and
> another half to reply - since I work for a living, a full
> rebuttal is out of
> the question. I know that you are simply trying to be through
> though - no
> offense intended.
No offense taken. On the other hand, I work too, didn't sleep last night as
we had more to get through than usual, and only took 2 hours to type this in
(and as I have said before, I am a slow typist). I am on a number of
mail-lists, and receive between 300 and 500 mail items on a typical weekday.
Most of these are technical in nature. Maybe American education should spend
more time focusing on improving on-screen reading performance/comprehension
facilities? I wish mine had focused more on typing skills, but they were not
so important way back then :-)
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf
> > Of TheHermit
> > Sent: Monday, April 12, 1999 2:48 PM
> > To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > Subject: virus: Bill's "perspective" on Presidential
> character and too
> > much TV - all in one brief note...
> > This is the most effective character demolition job that I
> > have seen in
> > years! As a visitor here in the United States, I would not
> > have chosen to be
> > so vicious, but I have heard that mirrors are frequently the
> > worst critics.
> > If I didn't know that not all Americans are like this, I
> > suppose I might
> > fall into the trap of believing that the majority of
> > Americans represents
> > the norm. As it is, this seems to be an adequately dreadful
> warning to
> > people considering doing business with Americans...
> So then, what is your definition of the "norm" if it is not a
> majority in
> this case?
I was alluding to, and suggesting that a normal distribution can easily be skewed. A few really way out data points can significantly weight a normal distribution away from the simple arithmetic average. Sorry I didn't make it clearer. I was suggesting that while Bill Clinton's behavior might represent the pinnacle of American ethical behavior to the "majority of Americans", and possibly even epitomize the way Americans are largely perceived by the rest of the world, it is not the "norm" that I have experienced.
As an important note, I don't believe that the voting results indicate that the majority of American voters chose to support President Clinton.
1996 he received 49.24% of the public vote and, 70.4% electoral college votes, in a 49% poll. In other words, he had the vote of 24% of Americans. 1992 he received 43.01% of the public vote and, 68.8% electoral college votes, in a 55.2% poll. In other words, he had the vote of 23.7% of Americans.
> >From his
> > actions and words in
> > past years, it is seems blindingly apparent that Bill Clinton
> > is far more
> > interested in the welfare of Bill Clinton than in the dignity
> > of the office
> > of the President. Ask not for whom the Bill toils, he toils
> > not for thee.
> Certainly you have an example of this that is outside of the Lewinsky
> dress-party? I don't know of any "blindingly apparent" cases
> of Bill being
> selfish other than his zipper problem. Perhaps you can enlighten me.
Sure. See Appendix 3. Note this was not a list drawn up by Clinton's enemies but by his friends. His lies about the draft (see the letters in Appendix 1 and 2) show that his pattern of using and then discarding people was established a long time ago. He has continued to do this over the years. I think everyone has heard the tapes where Bill told Gennifer to "Just Lie! They can't prove it! Just lie!" Where is Gennifer now?
“In politics we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. When we are ill ... we do not ask for the handsomest physician, or the most eloquent one.” Plato
Richard Nixon said it best: "People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook." Today, unfortunately, every American with normal intelligence and access to the news knows today that their president is a crook. This is not just an embarrassment. It is a crisis with profound implications for the future of the American republic. Especially when I believe that <AnotherNick> represents the position of most Americans.
<TheHermit> Yes, but I was thinking about his pattern of using people and
then discarding them. It developed early...
<SomeNick> and those ppl did not aspire to the presidency of the USA
<AnotherNick> I don't believe there is a single politician who doesn't do
that. That's the way politics is.
<SomeNick> does that make it any less abhorrent? <AnotherNick> Hermit, I'm just sick of hearing about Clinton, that's all
And <AnotherNick> is an intelligent, smart, liberal American with a lovely personality and an immense amount of empathy for others.
> > For an American to claim that lies from one branch of
> > government to another
> > are unimportant shows that American schools have utterly
> > failed to do their
> > duty in explaining the principles of government and in
> > particular the duty
> > of the members of government to defend the constitution.
> > Madison, Jefferson
> > and Adams would be horrified, although Jefferson, at least,
> > anticipated
> > assaults of this nature.
> These gentleman, though I love and respect them all, had
> similar problems as
> modern Presidents do, to idolize them and put them above
> human nature is
> simple idolatry. Jefferson was sleeping with his slaves,
> Adams though he was
> a King, even had it etched into the White House fireplace
> mantle "God bless
> all those who rule this country" I think is the quote. To
> look at ours or
> any government and actually believe that Truth and honesty
> rule is simply
You miss the point I think. I didn't hold up people. I held up their ideas about government. Their ideals. Their belief in rational thought, the power of education and in the hope that they could build an ideal republic. These people believed that each person has the duty to develop an ethical code for him or herself, and didn't much care what others did in the privacy of their homes. On the other hand, they did their best to build a country that would be founded on honest effort by reasonably educated average citizens, with reasonable checks and balances.
I don't care what Clinton chooses to do in his private life except when it interferes with his ability to function effectively. If he had restrained his libidinacious exploits to actresses and socialites I don’t believe it would have been anybodies business but his own. I would not have a problem had he chosen to find relief with whores, but that would also have been against the laws that he swore to uphold. The fact that he was not able to control his passions indicates personal failings that would make me extremely reluctant to hire him as a manager, never mind consider him to run the most powerful country on the planet. All this is largely by the by.
My argument was that he is a sleazebag (see Appendix 3) who has learnt how to bend the system so that the checks and balances carefully built into your constitution no longer apply. Because much of Washington is indistinguishable, most Americans are "sick of hearing about Clinton" and believe that "That's the way politics is". Unfortunately, this opinion of Clinton is very prevalent in Europe and the CIS, and that cannot but reflect on the USA as a whole.
Alexis de Tocqueville once said "To commit violent and unjust acts, it is
not enough for a government to have the will or even the power; the habits,
ideas, and passions of the time must lend themselves to their committal."
Maintaining people like President Clinton in power because one is tired of
politics, certainly seems to me to assist in creating the habits, ideas, and
passions conducive to the execution of violent and unjust acts. Most
Europeans have enough knowledge of history and are educated enough to
recognize this as a universal truth. One day Americans will probably realize
this too. It is my hope that it will not take the centuries of pain,
violence and destruction that has taught Europeans to recognize it. Maybe
CoV could be working on this.
"In the end more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free." Edward Gibbon (1737-1794)
> > One of the reasons that the USA has
> > complicated
> > interrelationships and interdependencies between the
> > legislative, executive
> > and judicial branches of government is to attempt to protect
> > the American
> > form of republic from assaults from within. It used to be
> > that even crooked
> > politicians would attempt to elect a reasonably competent
> > president. It used
> > to be that even a crooked president would attempt to rule well when
> > confronted with the requirements of the office. Both of these
> > reflected the
> > effects of education about the workings of the system. Today crooked
> > politicians elect incompetent presidents and one of the 3
> > legs of protection
> > enjoyed by the republic has vanished. A related concern is
> the current
> > tendency for the legislative branch to attempt to prevent
> the judicial
> > branch from monitoring the application of laws. For example
> in certain
> > terrorism and immigration issues. As long as this trend
> continues, the
> > protections afforded the American people will continue to be
> > eroded.
> I agree that it is a problem, but you (and I)are living with
> a microscope on
> our current problems, and ignoring history. There are so many
> cases for this
> argument, I don't even know where to begin. Think about the
> McCarthy era -
> in the 50s, or the black south, or the plight of Gays, Women
> couldn't even
> vote 70 years ago!!!! We are concerned about small swings in
> rights, all of
> which you and I would like to liberalize, but in reality,
> there is no real
> threat to a majority of rights, but there are different
> threats to some
> specific rights that as long as we remain on our toes and
> active, should
> remain intact.
Excuse me! I am probably the last person to ignore history or glamorize the past. Your examples are pertinent and relevant and I take no exception to them. To excerpt from one of the Jefferson quotes (to John Taylor, 1816) which I originally included "where the powers of the government, being divided, should be exercised each by representatives chosen either pro hac vice, or for such short terms as should render secure the duty of expressing the will of their constituents." He was suggesting, and I think most Americans would agree, that a republic, governed by ordinary citizens empowered for short periods, and with their powers restricted and divided would be a fair government. I could have mentioned Mark Twain saying in the 1890s, "The best thing that we could do for our country today would be to march on Washington and hang all the lawyers!" I should maybe have said explicitly, and I believe that I would have the support of many Americans, that the problem is "government creep" and the creation of a "professional ruling class" where the odds of an ordinary caring citizen entering federal politics is remote.
This is a topic that deserves pages, but in the light of your time pressure, I will simply suggest that the pressure on your republic has always been significant, but that speaking as an outsider with a lot of knowledge and liking of the American system of government, yet it seems to me that you have been permitting attacks on an aspect of government that does not receive much scrutiny. Namely the balance between the three branches of government and the current willingness of the branches to co-operate based on opinion polls and their hopes of continuing in power. Which never was the idea, and which would not have occurred had ordinary Americans not decided that it was easier to allow the development of a ruling class that is self-perpetuating. If the republic founders, this is most likely to the major reason. If it dies, and I hope it does not, it will die, not with a bang but with a whimper; and ordinary Americans will still be reassuring one another that they need not be concerned as they "still have the constitution" and that "anyway, all politicians are crooks".
This may seem unrelated, but I am told that last week the INS and local police swept into a little town in the Mid-West and arrested people for a number of offenses. They "visited" factories without search warrants using the powers that the INS has to investigate suspected employment of aliens (no search warrants needed), and arrested people that did not seem to be American and could not prove that they were. They entered the "cheap" restaurants, Chinese and Mexican, and detained people that did not fit the stereotype of what an "American" should look like. I surmise that they discovered "other crimes", like drug activity, during the "raids". I am told that some 25 of the people arrested have been moved to an INS detainment center from whence they will be repatriated to South America, without a trial, without a hearing, and without the opportunity for a judge to review what was done and how it was done. Ordinary Americans will not say or do anything, lest the fearsome attention of their government be turned upon them.
I am not for a moment suggesting that the INS or police acted incorrectly or outside the law, or that the job they needed to do was unnecessary. I am not even suggesting that the people that were arrested and will be deported should not be. After all, the American people have voted representatives who feel that this kind of operation is necessary and have made it possible. Yet when I heard about this activity, not reported in the local press at all (Why not? Embarrassment? It is surely unusual), spoken in whispers by people who are citizens here, or on valid visas and residence permits, but who obviously are concerned about the way the system is implemented, I could not help but think back to the days of "passes" at "raids" in the darkest hours of apartheid in South Africa. Or think about the "ethnic cleansing" currently occurring in Kosovo.
"These people" may "deserve it", but they used to have constitutional protection while they were in the United States. A stroke of a pen wielded jointly by the legislative and executive branch has deprived them of it (although it is still potentially subject to challenge by the Supreme court - but who is appointing people to that august body?). They are not alone. There are also cases all around the USA where "suspected terrorists" and even people "suspected of associating with suspected terrorists" have been deprived of their liberty, and where the administration has or is attempting to restrict their recourse to the courts. I could write more. Much more. I won't. You can fill in the blanks for yourself. Pastor Niemoeller's famous words might help focus your thinking, "When the Nazis came for the Communists I said nothing; I was not a Communist. When they came for the Social Democrats 1 said nothing; I was not a Social Democrat. When they came for the Catholics I did not protest; I was not a Catholic. Then they came for me but there was no one to speak up for me".
> The rest of your message was snipped due to length and
> irrelevancy (not an
> insult) . Look Hermit, I usually like your posts, but quoting
> very long dead
> people, who could not in a million years (or 250 anyway)
> realized the extent
> of communications, population, world dominance, culture
> etc... Is just a
> bunch of wishful thinking. A public figure today has no
> privacy, everything
> they do is open to scrutiny. It is a fact of life. It was
> much easier to
> hide a skeleton in the closet 200 years ago, or 100, on even
> in 1975. Most
> of American rights are still intact, and have a lot of people always
> fighting for them. I can still carry my 357 wherever I go, I can still
> refuse to let an officer in my home without a warrant, I can
> still vote
> unharried by anyone.
I would suggest that those dead white men I quoted were among the founders
of the great American republic (yes, I really think it is, although not so
great as most American’s seem to accept). And I would think that their
thoughts on its functioning are exceptionally relevant to considerations of
where it is going to. On the one hand you seem to be trying to accuse me of
ignoring history, and on the other of quoting irrelevancies. I’ll try to
minimize the quotation business to keep you happy :-) but I still think that
a greater study of and familiarity with their words would benefit all
Americans. These people were not ill-educated isolationist louts. They were
among the world’s greatest political philosophers and were intimately
involved with the immense happenings and stirrings of political awareness in
Europe of their day. The tragedy is that too few Americans know this. Your
comments to their irrelevancy in the world today shows that you have not yet
learnt the bitter lesson that “Those who do not learn from the mistakes of
history are doomed to repeat them.”George Santayana While the situations may
have changed, people have not.
You say it so eloquently, "Most of American rights." Whatever happened to the others? Were they not guaranteed? If they were not, they were not rights. I don't know where you live, but try to cross state lines carrying your 357 and you won't have to travel far to lose that "right". If the officer suspects that you have been meeting with suspected terrorists, or maybe that you are harboring illegal aliens, you do not have the right to demand a warrant. Or perhaps you are living in a zero tolerance town and one of your children is found with drugs - you might find that saying no to an officer gets you shot - it has happened before. If you were a Mexican American living in an area where there is suspected illegal immigrant activity you would not make the claim you do about voting either. I have watched the scrutinizers at a voting booth challenge every non-stereotypical WASP stepping up to a voting booth to prove their citizenship. I assure you that they did not feel unharried.
I am not trying to say you are wrong, or even wrong in the main. Damn it, I once believed that Americans were different. I still believe that Americans can grow up and be different. But living here for as long as I have, I have seen the dark side of America too. American's willingness to look away in order to avoid bother. The immense pressure on most Americans to conform, to self-censure. The smugness that leads Americans to tell others how the world "should be run". It is not as utopianly good as the image you are drawing, and although it is not nearly as bad as the image I am drawing either, I suspect that you rely too much on the idea that "it can never happen here". I am sure that most of the citizens of South Africa did not believe that the horrors that happened under apartheid (trying to avoid using Nazi Germany as an example) would follow when they voted for the National Party in 1948. Yet it did. And they, like the average American, were not "bad" people. Did the average American visualize the treatment Asian-Americans received during WW II when voting for Roosevelt in the 1930s? Or the treatment of "alleged communists" here in the 1950s? Does the average American have any idea how many civilians where killed or injured in Iraq during the last campaign, which even Clinton's supporters agree had a very wave-the-dog deja vue like air? Evil can, evil does happen in America. And if it does happen on a significant scale, CNN will not be covering it. They need their FCC licenses in order to go on broadcasting.
> The one thing that I do wholeheartedly agree with is that the
> lack of people
> taking education seriously is a problem (and I don't blame
> the system like
> many do, I blame parents). My sister in law is an elementary
> school teacher,
> and like I suspected and probably you too, her children are
> almost always a
> reflection of the parents. I am impressed with the quality of
> public schools
> (elementary) in most places I go, but the parents seem to
> continually muck
> things up. I truly believe that my 1st thru 6th grade experience was
No huge disagreements on the parent issue. Yet American 6th grade students are far less "educated" or capable than their European or CIS peers. Is this a reflection on your parents, teachers, children or society. Enough hand wringing already! How does one get an "education is good" meme going? If that is "all" CoV suggests an answer to, it will have done more for the good of the world than 5 decades of educators. I know how to do it one-child-at-a-time. But that is not enough. The barbarians are not outside the gates, they are inside them, and the barbarians are us.
> We seem so often to be very contradictory - we look into
> history and see all
> the awful things we did - Annihilating the Indians, Enslaving
> the Blacks,
> herding Japanese into camps, Tuskogee, Vietnam etc... to show
> how great we
> are today. But when we want to insult the current population
> and culture,
> the bad things in history fade away so we can say "look how
> cool we were -
> Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, the Bill of Rights" to make
> the new point.
> This whole cycle is absurd. In my eyes we have gone from the
> Barbarians with
> hope for the future, to semi-civilized people who often act
> like barbarians.
> A line that is slowly improving when all things are measured.
> More of us
> today live longer and fuller lives than we ever could have then.
Agreed. On the other hand, Cornelius Tacitus once said, "The more corrupt the State the more numerous the laws." The United States has more laws, more lawyers and more felons than any other nation today. If Tacitus is still correct this might hold a lesson for us all.
> Bill Roh
<a quick snip>
The greatest evils, are from within us; and from ourselves also we must look for the greatest good. Jeremy Taylor
As a Rhodes scholar, Bill Clinton wrote this letter, dated December 3, 1969, to Colonel Eugene J. Holmes, Commandant of the ROTC program at the University of Arkansas, detailing how he deceived Col. Holmes in order to dodge the draft. Transcribed from The Congressional Record--House, July 30, 1993, p. H5550.
Text of Bill Clinton's Letter to ROTC Colonel I am sorry to be so long in writing. I know I promised to let you hear from me at least once a month, and from now on you will, but I have had to have some time to think about this first letter. Almost daily since my return to England I have thought about writing, about what I want to and ought to say.
First, I want to thank you, not just for saving me from the draft, but for being so kind and decent to me last summer, when I was as low as I have ever been. One thing which made the bond we struck in good faith somewhat palatable to me was my high regard for you personally. In retrospect, it seems that the admiration might not have been mutual had you known a little more about me, about my political beliefs and activities. At least you might have thought me more fit for the draft than for ROTC.
Let me try to explain. As you know, I worked for two years in a very minor position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I did it for the experience and the salary but also for the opportunity, however small, of working every day against a war I opposed and despised with a depth of feeling I had reserved solely for racism in America before Vietnam. I did not take the matter lightly but studied it carefully, and there was a time when not many people had more information about Vietnam at hand than I did.
I have written and spoken and marched against the war. One of the national organizers of the Vietnam Moratorium is a close friend of mine. After I left Arkansas last summer, I went to Washington to work in the national headquarters of the Moratorium, then to England to organize the Americans here for demonstrations Oct. 15 and Nov. 16.
Interlock with the war is the draft issue, which I did not begin to consider separately until early 1968. For a law seminar at Georgetown I wrote a paper on the legal arguments for and against allowing, within the Selective Service System, the classification of selective conscientious objection for those opposed to participation in a particular war, not simply to "participation in war in any form."
>From my work I came to believe that the draft system itself is illegitimate.
No government really rooted in limited, parliamentary democracy should have the power to make its citizens fight and kill and die in a war they may oppose, a war which even possibly may be wrong, a war which, in any case, does not involve immediately the peace and freedom of the nation.
The draft was justified in World War II because the life of the people collectively was at stake. Individuals had to fight, if the nation was to survive, for the lives of their countrymen and their way of life. Vietnam is no such case. Nor was Korea an example where, in my opinion, certain military action was justified but the draft was not, for the reasons stated above.
Because of my opposition to the draft and the war, I am in great sympathy with those who are not willing to fight, kill and maybe die for their country (i.e. the particular policy of a particular government) right or wrong. Two of my friends at Oxford are conscientious objectors. I wrote a letter of recommendation for one of them to his Mississippi draft board, a letter which I am more proud of than anything else I wrote at Oxford last year. One of my roommates is a draft resister who is possibly under indictment and may never be able to go home again. He is one of the bravest, best men I know. His country needs men like him more than they know. That he is considered a criminal is an obscenity.
The decision not to be a resister and the related subsequent decisions were the most difficult of my life. I decided to accept the draft in spite of my beliefs for one reason: to maintain my political viability within the system. For years I have worked to prepare myself for a political life characterized by both practical political ability and concern for rapid social progress. It is a life I still feel compelled to try to lead. I do not think our system of government is by definition corrupt, however dangerous and inadequate it has been in recent years. (The society may be corrupt, but that is not the same thing, and if that is true, we are all finished anyway.)
When the draft came, despite political convictions, I was having a hard time facing the prospect of fighting a war I had been fighting against, and that is why I contacted you. ROTC was the one way left in which I could possibly, but not positively, avoid both Vietnam and resistance. Going on with my education, even coming back to England, played no part in my decision to join ROTC. I am back here, and would have been at Arkansas Law School because there is nothing else I can do. In fact, I would like to have been able to take a year out perhaps to teach in a small college or work on some community action project and in the process to decide whether to attend law school or graduate school and how to begin putting what I have learned to use.
But the particulars of my personal life are not nearly as important to me as the principles involved. After I signed the ROTC letter of intent, I began to wonder whether the compromise I had made with myself was not more objectionable than the draft would have been, because I had no interest in the ROTC program in itself and all I seemed to have done was to protect myself from physical harm. Also, I began to think I had deceived you, not by lies--there were none--but by failing to tell you all the things I'm writing now. I doubt that I had the mental coherence to articulate them then.
At that time, after we had made our agreement and you had sent my 1-D deferment to my draft board, the anguish and loss of my self-regard and self-confidence really set in. I hardly slept for weeks and kept going by eating compulsively and reading until exhaustion brought sleep. Finally, on Sept. 12 I stayed up all night writing a letter to the chairman of my draft board, saying basically what is in the preceding paragraph, thanking him for trying to help in a case where he really couldn't, and stating that I couldn't do the ROTC after all and would he please draft me as soon as possible.
I never mailed the letter, but I did carry it on me every day until I got on the plane to return to England. I didn't mail the letter because I didn't see, in the end, how my going in the Army and maybe going to Vietnam would achieve anything except a feeling that I had punished myself and gotten what I deserved. So I came back to England to try to make something of this second year of my Rhodes scholarship.
And that is where I am now, writing to you because you have been good to me and have a right to know what I think and feel. I am writing too in the hope that my telling this one story will help you to understand more clearly how so many fine people have come to find themselves still loving their country but loathing the military, to which you and other good men have devoted years, lifetimes, of the best service you could give. To many of us, it is no longer clear what is service and what is disservice, or if it is clear, the conclusion is likely to be illegal.
Forgive the length of this letter. There was much to say. There is still a lot to be said, but it can wait. Please say hello to Col. Jones for me.
Return to Contents
During the 1992 Presidential campaign, in response to Bill Clinton's continued dissembling on the issue, Colonel Eugene J. Holmes wrote this notarized memorandum for record detailing how Clinton deceived him in 1969 in order to dodge the draft. Transcribed from The Congressional Record--House, July 30, 1993, pp. H5550-1.
Memorandum for Record by Colonel Eugene J. Holmes
September 7, 1992
Memorandum for Record
Subject: Bill Clinton and the University of Arkansas ROTC Program
There have been many unanswered questions as to the circumstances surrounding Bill Clinton's involvement with the ROTC department at the University of Arkansas. Prior to this time I have not felt the necessity for discussing the details. The reason I have not done so before is that my poor physical health (a consequence of participation in the Bataan Death March and the subsequent 3 1/2 years internment in Japanese POW camps) has precluded me from getting into what I felt was unnecessary involvement. However, present polls show that there is the imminent danger to our country of a draft dodger becoming the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States. While it is true, as Mr. Clinton has stated, that there were many others who avoided serving their country in the Vietnam war, they are not aspiring to be the President of the United States.
The tremendous implications of the possibility of his becoming Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces compels me now to comment on the facts concerning Mr. Clinton's evasion of the draft.
This account would not have been imperative had Bill Clinton been completely honest with the American public concerning this matter. But as Mr. Clinton replied on a news conference this evening (September 5, 1992) after being asked another particular about his dodging the draft, "Almost everyone concerned with these incidents are dead. I have no more comments to make." Since I may be the only person living who can give a first hand account of what actually transpired, I am obligated by my love for my country and my sense of duty to divulge what actually happened and make it a matter of record.
Bill Clinton came to see me at my home in 1969 to discuss his desire to enroll in the ROTC program at the University of Arkansas. We engaged in an extensive, approximately two (2) hour interview. At no time during this long conversation about his desire to join the program did he inform me of his involvement, participation and actually organizing protests against the United States involvement in South East Asia. He was shrewd enough to realize that had I been aware of his activities, he would not have been accepted into the ROTC program as a potential officer in the United States Army.
The next day I began to receive phone calls regarding Bill Clinton's draft status. I was informed by the draft board that it was of interest to Senator Fullbright's office that Bill Clinton, a Rhodes Scholar, should be admitted to the ROTC program. I received several such calls. The general message conveyed by the draft board to me was that Senator Fullbright's office was putting pressure on them and that they needed my help. I then made the necessary arrangements to enroll Mr. Clinton into the ROTC program at the University of Arkansas.
I was not "saving" him from serving his country, as he erroneously thanked me for in his letter from England (dated December 3, 1969). I was making it possible for a Rhodes Scholar to serve in the military as an officer.
In retrospect I see that Mr. Clinton had no intention of following through with his agreement to join the Army ROTC program at the University of Arkansas or to attend the University of Arkansas Law School. I had explained to him the necessity of enrolling at the University of Arkansas as a student in order to be eligible to take the ROTC program at the University. He never enrolled at the University of Arkansas, but instead enrolled at Yale after attending Oxford. I believe that he purposely deceived me, using the possibility of joining the ROTC as a ploy to work with the draft board to delay his induction and get a new draft classification.
The December 3rd letter written to me by Mr. Clinton, and subsequently taken from the files by Lt. Col. Clint Jones, my executive officer, was placed into the ROTC files so that a record would be available in case the applicant should again petition to enter into the ROTC program. The information in that letter alone would have restricted Bill Clinton from ever qualifying to be an officer in the United States Military. Even more significant was his lack of veracity in purposefully defrauding the military by deceiving me, both in concealing his anti-military activities overseas and his counterfeit intentions for later military service. These actions cause me to question both his patriotism and his integrity.
When I consider the calibre, the bravery, and the patriotism of the fine young soldiers whose deaths I have witnessed, and others whose funerals I have attended * * *. When I reflect on not only the willingness but eagerness that so many of them displayed in their earnest desire to defend and serve their country, it is untenable and incomprehensible to me that a man who was not merely unwilling to serve his country, but actually protested against its military, should ever be in the position of Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces.
I write this declaration not only for the living and future generations, but for those who fought and died for our country. If space and time permitted I would include the names of the ones I knew and fought with, and along with them I would mention my brother Bob, who was killed during World War II and is buried in Cambridge, England (at the age of 23, about the age Bill Clinton was when he was over in England protesting the war).
I have agonized over whether or not to submit this statement to the American people. But, I realize that even though I served my country by being in the military for over 32 years, and having gone through the ordeal of months of combat under the worst of conditions followed by years of imprisonment by the Japanese, it is not enough. I'm writing these comments to let everyone know that I love my country more than I do my own personal security and well-being. I will go to my grave loving these United States of America and the liberty for which so many men have fought and died.
Because of my poor physical condition this will be my final statement. I will make no further comments to any of the media regarding this issue.
Eugene J. Holmes,
Colonel, U.S.A., Ret.
State of Arkansas,
County of Washington,
Barbara J. Powers,
My commission expires--12/1/93
It will be noted that none of these matters touch on legitimate policy differences, such as AmeriCorps, or whether or not a national missile defense is necessary, or the size of budgets for social programs, or how to balance the budget, or reform Social Security or welfare, or the coddling of terrorists.
None concern foreign policy decisions which are simply dumb, but not criminal, such as jeopardizing American national security by removing export controls on supercomputers and global positioning systems, or making deals with North Korea allowing them to keep their nuclear bombs and making it easier for them to make more.
None of these matters involve what might be described as generational or morality differences, such as a lackadaisical attitude toward extra marital affairs, or sexual harassment, or teenage drug use, or turning the American military into an international "meals-on-wheels" by meddling militarily where there is no arguable American national interest.
None of these touch on the merely insensitive, such as celebrating the 50th anniversary of VE day in Moscow, an ally of the Nazis when Germany invaded Poland, or claiming to be on active military duty in order to avoid the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit.
None of these issues involve the gratituitous lying about a multitude of matters, such as who actually wrote Hillary Clinton's book, or Bill Clinton's "memories" of church burnings which never happened.
None involve misrepresentations, such as the 100,000 new cops on the street, or Clinton's claim that his policies have reduced the deficit, or that he has submitted a balanced budget, or breaking his many 1992 campaign promises.
None fall into the category of what might be termed the "simply stupid", such as hiring Craig Livingstone to run the White House security office, or hiring Joycelyn Elders as Surgeon General.
None involve demeaning the office of the President, such as discussions of his underwear on national television. On the contrary, all of these scandals relate to matters and activities which, if the details which are alleged are proven in a court of law, involve criminal activity for which people could go to jail.
Supporters of Bill Clinton may contend that the White House was forced to address all of the above issues, which were raised solely by vindictive republicans and Clinton enemies. It stretches credibility, indeed gullibility, however, to pretend that Bill and Hillary are entirely innocent in each and every one of these matters, mere babes in the woods, while "invented" scandals swirl all around them.
The lies, deception, fraud, and outright criminality of this administration, what democrats used to call the "sleaze factor" when referring to republicans, has been too well documented, by too many people, over too long a period of time, to be blamed solely on some vast republican plot to "get" Bill and Hillary. To take that position speaks either of blind partisanship, clinical paranoia, or a denial of reality.
The rampant corruption of the Clinton administration is a fact. The real question is whether it matters. Supporters of Bill Clinton pretend to believe that character doesn't matter. They have no choice but to believe that, given the nature of the man they support. But, as Bill Bennett asked, is there anything more important, in a political context, than the character of the President of the United States?
One more question: If Clinton supporters are correct, and character does not matter, then why are they so upset about the ethics allegations against Speaker Gingrich which, even in David Bonior's wildest dreams, pale by comparison to Clinton's transgressions? After all, Gingrich's business partners have not been convicted of multiple counts of fraud, Bill's have. Gingrich's wife has not been accused by the FDIC of helping to perpetrate that fraud, Bill's has. If the American people demonstrate, by their votes, that lies, corruption, and criminality in the highest elective office in the land is irrelevant, what does that say about the nature of our society, and the nature of our people?
"There are two passions which have a powerful influence on the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power, and the love of money. Separately each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effects. Place before the eyes of such men a post of honor that shall be at the same time a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it. And of what kind are the men that will strive for this profitable pre-eminence...? It will not be the wise and the moderate; the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust. It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your government and be your rulers..." -- Benjamin Franklin
The impeachment debate is long past us, and we all know that the Democrats and their fellow travelers argued that Clinton's perjury and obstruction of justice are minor matters that could not justify impeachment. This despite the fact that these crimes together carry a combined maximum sentence of twenty years. Clinton's crimes involve his private life, we were told, not his public duties. He should have just apologized for breaking the law so that the country could move on. Apparently American politics are now so degraded that they actually had to have a serious national debate about whether a potential felon could stay out of jail by clinging to the Oval Office, and decided that it was right that he should. Sigh.