Monday, May 02, 2016

Howard Buffett: The anti-Trump

Howard Buffett


Donald Trump: Chickenhawk

...Donald Trump’s selective service file reads as follows: Between 1964 and 1966, as American troop commitment in Vietnam escalated and the military draft began in earnest, Trump received three 2-S classifications—student deferments—for being enrolled at Fordham University and later at Wharton business school. In the ’60s, graduate school was an easy way to extend a student deferment until you turned 26, at which point you aged out of the draft. 

Unsurprisingly, graduate schools became wildly popular destinations in the ’60s. One survey showed 90 percent of MBA applicants were motivated by fear of conscription. Trump’s reasons for pursuing a business degree were, like anyone’s, surely mixed, but the real story lies in Trump’s two medical exams. 

In July 1968, Trump received a 1-A classification, signaling he was fit to serve on the basis of a physical he had taken roughly two years earlier. Then, in October 1968, Trump was examined again, and classified 1-Y. He was no longer protected by a grad student deferral, but it didn’t matter. He had been made exempt from military service due to an unspecified medical condition.

Not surprisingly, Trump has dissembled on the issue, claiming his high draft lottery number prevented a call-up. But Trump’s publicly available files show he received his 1-Y classification before the lottery went into effect, in 1969. When Trump’s biographer confronted him about the timeline, a curious exchange ensued. “As he talked, Trump slipped off his black loafer and pointed to his heel, where a little bulge pushed against his sock. ‘Heel spurs,’ he explained, ‘on both feet.’ ” 

By his own account, Trump was a golden boy athlete through high school, “always the best player” on the field, one who excelled “not just in baseball, in every sport.” Yet somehow, thanks to a minor protuberance, he was declared unfit for military service...

Never one to settle for the garden-variety howler, Trump, who was shipped off to a posh military school as a teenager, has insisted, “I always felt I was in the military,” or “I always felt I was in the military in the true sense.” 

What did Trump do, when confronted by the actual sacrifice of John McCain? He simply negated it, ex tempore, with bluster. Thus Trump completed the boomer triple play: He evaded service; he nonetheless arrogates to himself the language of military valor; and he treats those who actually served as chumps...

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Quote of the day

From Dwight Garner's review of Jenny Diski's last book in the NY Times:

“The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.” (Vladimir Nabokov, "Speak Memory")

That is, Diski didn't "pass" or "pass away." She died and she will be dead forever.

Diski's essays in the London Review of Books are, as Garner noted, free of platitudes and cliches.

An earlier post on Diski.

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