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Hmm, yeah. The other guy could, I suppose, have earned his military cred by volunteering for the invasion of Grenada. Or by becoming a baby daddy as a teen so that his kids would be old enough to earn the cred for him now. Is that really the best you have?

No Ardis, I think Dave would first have to explain how military service "certainly provides some credibility" to presidential bids, as though this is some kind of requirement to be a good political leader.

The President is the Commander in Chief, so military service is relevant. Not required, but certainly relevant. Any commander who is going to put troops in harm's way has more credibility if they themselves have been, at some point in the past, in the same position themselves.

He could have joined the Texas Air National Guard, or requested five draft deferments, like some of our True Heroes of the Republic ®.

Mike D., that link does not lead where you think it leads.

There is a fairly widely held view that if Bush, Cheney & the neocon hawks that advocated the Iraq adventure had served in an armed conflict, they would have been less inclined to take down a country's security infrastructure in a situation where there were deep resentments between major population groups. Or to think that "shock and awe" is equal to having a plan.

This views, of course, exists outside the Bush fan club circles. Don't get me wrong, though; I'm no partisan.

In fact, the euphemistic other guy who actually served his country did criticize the way the war was prosecuted.

Dave: Okay, I misread you as implying that it was a requirement. Still, I'm not completely in agreement with the idea that military service lends any significant amount of credibility to a commander in chief. There are so many factors involved in making the political decision to go to war that have nothing to do with what actual soldiers face, such that if one candidate has fought and another hasn't becomes a distinction without a difference.

If one candidate was a former general/admiral, that would be significant difference. Go much further down in the ranks and I just don't think it's worth factoring into my vote (in the way you suggest---I think there are, however, other aspects of character, service, etc. that could still be considered.)

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