Open Letter To General Clark: Become Dr. Dean's Best Friend, Not His/Our Enemy
No one out here in Democratic Supporter land (Vast Left Wing Conspiracy:-) was happier than I at the prospect of getting General Clark into the race to take back our White House. And I know you to be a very straightforward, unscripted candidate. I have never perceived any mean streak, just the high end of genius with a good bit of that conservative 'compassion' goppers admire, but do not have.
Still, I want to comment on an issue I have with you. It is rumored you have implied that a deferrment granted by an Army physician (such as 1-Y or 4-F) makes one less of a person than someone without such a medical problem.
I had a deferment, too. Same one, 1Y, that Dr. Dean received, General Clark.
I am sure, Sir, you remember how it worked: You got a card in the mail from your local draft board telling you to appear for a draft physical on a date certain.
The form told you to bring your medical records with you, which I did, and Dr. Dean did.
Then the Army's doctor takes a look at all of it and tells you to cram it up your ass or agrees with your treating physician, in which case you are given a change in draft status.
Everyone starts as 1A. After the physical they can be 4F--unfit for duty. Or they can be 1-Y, suitable for duty in case of declared war (which VN was not) or to defend against an attack by foreign troops. Which we were not.
No one wanted to go to VN, General. No one who had a medical history of one kind or another kept it a secret...because to do so would have been answering the question on the medical form "Do you have any medical history for treatment of the following?" as a LIE.
Dr. Dean did not lie on that form. I did not lie on that form. None of the thousands of young Americans whose number came up on the lottery system of draft in effect at that time actually WANTED TO GO TO VIET NAM. But to imply, as General Clark may have, that to receive a deferment was some sort of skull-duggery, was simply not true. But that is also the tack that was taken by war hawks of the day, in Johnson's and then Nixon's administration. And now, General Clark, you are making that implication.
Take it back, sir. Apologize to me, and Dr. Dean, and the hundreds of thousands of other men who were told they could not go into the service because of medical problems.
You are certainly man enough to admit you were wrong about that attack on Dr. Dean, as well as everyone who ever was draft deferred, are you not?
History has proven that not only was VN a terrible move for America, but everyone of the nearly 60,000 soldiers who died there died for NOTHING. 200,000 maimed and injured--for NOTHING.
I'm glad I was draft deferred. I am sure Dr. Dean is glad he was deferred. I would gladly have gone in time of national emergency. I am sure Dr. Dean would have responded in kind.
Goppers may still use your condemnation to some advantage to firm up their base, Sir. But I would hope you would direct your derision more at the current resident of the White House who actually went "GONE" during his oath to take part in the TANG.
Thank you for your reconsideration, General.