The Troops, The Chickenhawks and How Ted Nugent Dodged the Draft
By Bob Cesca: During the Bush years, and specifically following the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the line from all of the top Republican A-listers was that criticizing the commander-in-chief while troops were in harm’s way was not only dangerous, it was unpatriotic and treasonous.
“The only ideas that they espouse are ways to undermine the troops in harm’s way and undermine their commander in chief while they’re at war. Your candidates have no idea how to keep this economy strong.”
–Sean Hannity, 10/18/06
“He’s the Commander-in-Chief. And what I find frankly repugnant about you and some of your fellow Democrats – you have undermined our president…”
“You know, Norman, those comments while we are at war, while troops are in harm’s way, while he is the commander in chief, do you not see the outrage in that?”
“I have had it with members of your party undermining our troops, undermining a commander in chief while we are at war…”
“You don’t criticize the Commander-in-Chief in the middle of a firefight. That could be construed as putting U.S. forces in jeopardy and undermining morale.”
“Can we do it without distorting their legacies and pandering to anti-American elites worldwide and using their deaths to embarrass and undermine our commander in chief?”
“On the other hand, if Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat Congress are successful in undermining the commander-in-chief (thereby emboldening the terrorists to kill more Americans in Iraq)…”
“And furthermore, one of the fundamental principles we have in America is that the president is the commander in chief of the armed forces and attempts to undermine the commander in chief during time of war amounts to treason.”
Of course this rule was abandoned as soon as Barack Obama was inaugurated and became the commander-in-chief of the military. From that point on, Republicans have simply let fly all over the new commander-in-chief as if no one ever uttered those quotes.
Obviously it’s okay to, in their own words, put the troops at risk during a Democratic administration.
And also, the modern conservative movement has abandoned any sort of core values in lieu of taking the exactly opposite position of liberals, regardless of how absurd they appear. They’re soulless poseurs, which is also why so many of them are chickenhawks. They claim to support the members of the U.S. military, but when it came time for they themselves to serve, they bailed out — and often with hilarious tales of cowardice.
What’s a chickenhawk, exactly? Chickenhawks are staunchly pro-war conservatives who never served in the military because they engaged in deliberate efforts to avoid the military draft. In the name of politics, they sometimes criticize the service of actual veterans and soldiers, and in way too many cases, they like to play dress-up in military regalia. Not only do they support sending young men and women to war, but by avoiding the draft, someone else had to go to war in their places.
As for various presidents and their involvement in war, it’s also important to note that there’s no rule — moral, constitutional or otherwise — that says our political leaders had to have served in the military in order to support or order our military into a combat situation. In fact, when President Washington resigned his commission prior to taking the presidential oath of office, he established the precedent that the commander-in-chief be a civilian post and that the military be subordinate to a civilian command structure. Imagine if every time a president had to order a military strike against an enemy, he or she had to resign in favor of someone who has served? Or worse, imagine, as an American, being hamstrung into only voting for politicians with military backgrounds. Carried to its furthest extent, only choosing presidents with military service backgrounds would essentially amount to a military junta. Military service should neither qualify nor disqualify an American from elected public service, as long as they’re a civilian when they’re sworn in.
In the interest of full disclosure, I personally never served in the military. I’ve also, however, never supported Bush’s wars, and would never presume to question the military service or patriotism of anyone who has served in those wars. I would never refer to any veteran as a “phony soldier,” as draft-dodger Rush Limbaugh once did, especially if my reason for avoiding the Vietnam draft was as embarrassing as Limbaugh’s. Regarding Afghanistan, I support a pragmatic “finish the job” policy, as was also endorsed by Howard Dean, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and, naturally, President Obama in order to end the war in a responsible way.
I feel as if my position on war and the military is consistent and rational.
Ted Nugent, on the other hand, is a raging chickenhawk in every sense of the word. He’s probably the worst kind of chickenhawk, actually. Not only is he loudly pro-war, but he dresses up in military garb; he criticized — and even talked about assassinating the commander-in-chief while troops are in harm’s way (reminder: conservatives have called this kind of talk unpatriotic, anti-American and treasonous); and, worst of all, he appears to have avoided the Vietnam draft on four occasions.
First he received a high school student deferment. Then, having enrolled in community college while also working as a professional musician, he received a college student deferment. And then, he smeared himself in poop, took meth (despite his claim to have never taken drugs) and acted like a maniac. Seriously. In an interview in a 1977 issue of High Times, Nugent said:
I got my physical notice 30 days prior to. Well, on that day I ceased cleansing my body. No more brushing my teeth, no more washing my hair, no baths, no soap, no water. Thirty days of debris build. I stopped shavin’ and I was 18, had a little scraggly beard, really looked like a hippie. I had long hair, and it started gettin’ kinky, matted up. Then two weeks before, I stopped eating any food with nutritional value. I just had chips, Pepsi, beer-stuff I never touched-buttered poop, little jars of Polish sausages, and I’d drink the syrup, I was this side of death, Then a week before, I stopped going to the bathroom. I did it in my pants. poop, pi** the whole shot. My pants got crusted up.
See, I approached the whole thing like, Ted Nugent, cool hard-workin’ dude, is gonna wreak havoc on these imbeciles in the armed forces. I’m gonna play their own game, and I’m gonna destroy ‘em. Now my whole body is crusted in poop and pi**. I was ill. And three or four days before, I started stayin’ awake. I was close to death, but I was in control. I was extremely antidrug as I’ve always been, but I snorted some crystal methedrine. Talk about one wounded motherf****r. A guy put up four lines, and it was for all four of us, but I didn’t know and I’m vacuuming that poop right up. I was a walking, talking hunk of human poop. I was six-foot-three of sin. So the guys took me down to the physical, and my nerves, my emotions were distraught. I was not a good person. I was wounded. But as painful and nauseous as it was – ‘cause I was really into bein’ clean and on the ball – I made gutter swine hippies look like football players. I was deviano.
So I went in, and those guys in uniform couldn’t believe the smell. They were ridiculin’ me and pushin’ me around and I was cryin’, but all the time I was laughin’ to myself. When they stuck the needle in my arm for the blood test I passed out, and when I came to they were kicking me into the wall. Then they made everybody take off their pants, and I did, and this sergeant says, “Oh my God, put those back on! You f*****g swine you!” Then they had a urine test and I couldn’t pi**, but my poop was just like ooze, man, so I poop in the cup and put it on the counter. I had poop on my hand and my arm. The guy almost puked. I was so proud. I knew I had these chumps beat. The last thing I remember was wakin’ up in the ear test booth and they were sweepin’ up. So I went home and cleaned up.
They took a putty knife to me. I got the street rats out of my hair, ate some good steaks, beans, potatoes, cottage cheese, milk. A couple of days and I was ready to kick ass. And in the mail I got this big juicy 4-F. They’d call dead people before they’d call my ass. But you know the funny thing about it? I’d make an incredible army man. I’d be a colonel before you knew what hit you, and I’d have the baddest bunch of motherf****n’ killers you’d ever seen in my platoon. But I just wasn’t into it. I was too busy doin’ my own thing, you know.
To be fair, some time later Nugent backpedaled and said that he never pooped himself. But Selective Service records show that he received a total of four deferments, including a 4-F, which is described by the Army as: “Registrant not acceptable for military service. To be eligible for Class 4-F, a registrant must have been found not qualified for service in the Armed Forces by a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) under the established physical, mental, or moral standards. The standards of physical fitness that would be used in a future draft would come from AR 40-501.”
Recalling that era, Nugent later said, “I did not want to get my ass blown off in Vietnam.” No one can blame him for that, but some other kid had to go in his place. That other kid could’ve had his ass blown off instead, and, while knowing this, Nugent can still go on stage playing dress-em-up in military uniforms and, between concerts, fantasize about killing the commander-in-chief — undermining the troops.
It’s admittedly difficult to fully describe, despite his crazy gun rants and threatening eliminationist language, how cowardly Ted Nugent really is, though chickenhawks like Dick Cheney are far worse, given his five deferments and subsequent involvement in ordering the most recent two wars, in addition to, as Secretary of Defense, the first Gulf War. But Nugent is near the top of the list. Poop or no poop.