Major wars have been the defining events of generations of Americans. But often, the sons of the rich could avoid serving. Indeed, during the Civil War, a wealthy man could openly pay someone else $300 to take the place of his son. The Vietnam War was the defining event of Donald Trump’s generation. Although there was a military draft, relatively few sons of wealthy families served in the military during that period.
Trump’s father, a very rich real estate developer, arranged to have his son classified 4F and exempt from the Vietnam war because of bone spurs in his heels. The podiatrist who certified this condition happened to be a tenant in one of the elder Trump’s buildings.
As Democratic Presidential candidate Peter Buttigieg has put it, Donald Trump faked a disability to get out of serving in Vietnam, and someone else went in his place. Now, some fifty years later, perhaps Trump is finally feeling just a bit of guilt for not having gone to Vietnam.
More than fifty-eight thousand Americans died serving in the Vietnam War, while hundreds of thousands of veterans returned badly wounded or psychically damaged. Among them was perhaps the guy who went in Trump’s place.
President Trump has just acknowledged that just maybe he does owe a debt of sorts to all those who served in Vietnam. He will pay off that debt by spending hundreds of billions on defense. In fact, he believes this beau gest will more than repay his debt.
So yeah, Trump surely does owe a debt all those who went to Vietnam. But the hundreds of billions of taxpayers’ money that he’s spending on our nation’s defense will quickly pay it off.
But if Trump really wants to find out if he’s discharged his debt, why doesn’t he poll the Vietnam war vets themselves? Surely, he’ll get some interesting responses.