Joseph McWilliams – 9/10/18


This page was last updated on October 18, 2018.

Draft-dodging Trump made issue of peaceful protest; Joseph “Eddie Mac” McWilliams (JM); Beaver County Times; September 10, 2018.

Reviews of previous letters are here and here.

Below is a review of the subject letter.

“In the 1960s and ’70s, I witnessed my share of protests against the Vietnam War.  People burned the flag, made jeans and vests out of it and desecrated it in every way possible.  Yet, the Supreme Court ruled that this was a First Amendment right under the Constitution.”

[RWC] Before I proceed with the review, here’s Carl Davidson’s (KD) take on JM’s experience of “get[ting] spat at or called ‘baby killer.’”  KD wrote:

“Mr. McWilliams, no GI was ever ‘spat upon’ by antiwar protestors.  It’s a phony ‘urban legend.’  Decades back, Vietnam Veterans Against the War offered, on national TV and Radio, $500 to any GI who would name the place and date he or she was ‘spat upon.’  No one has ever taken them up on it.”

KD just called JM a liar.  I found no evidence of the alleged VVAW “$500 to any GI who would name the place and date he or she was ‘spat upon.’”  The only hit I got was on one of KD’s websites, “Keep On Keepin’ On.”  Even on the VVAW website there are plenty of pieces denying the spitting on soldiers ever happened, but no mention of KD’s alleged $500 bounty.

“Disrespect for Vietnam vets is fact, not fiction” is an op-ed piece written by a Vietnam vet who alleges he faced treatment similar to JM’s.

“I served in the military throughout the 1970s and early on could not travel in my military uniform because I would get spat at or called ‘baby killer.’  Compared to what John McCain endured, this doesn’t deserve mention.  Yet, It [sic] took the entire Washington establishment to convince Donald Trump to fly the flag at half-staff for a war hero.  When Trump was called to serve, he claimed five deferments, but went on to a college sports career and stated his Vietnam was fought in Studio 54 trying to avoid venereal diseases.”

[RWC] I don’t know where JM got his info.  JM’s claim President Trump (DT) had to be convinced “to fly the flag at half-staff for a war hero” is false.  As I noted in a previous review, DT followed federal law “4 U.S. Code § 7 (m) - Position and manner of display.”  As per this law, the White House flag was flown at half-staff starting Saturday evening and was returned to full staff Monday morning.  Succumbing to pressure, President Trump (DT) issued a proclamation directing the flag to be flown at half-staff at all federal facilities until sunset the day of Sen. McCain’s (JM) interment.

DT had four student deferments, not five, while former VP Joe Biden had five student deferments.  I didn’t see JM complain about JB’s deferments.  Both men were ultimately disqualified for physical reasons.  Let’s not forget Bill Clinton, an honest-to-gosh draft evader.

DT’s four deferments were student deferments.  “After graduating from Wharton, he was reclassified 1-A on 9 July 1968.  Trump underwent an Armed Forces physical examination (with a result listed only as ‘DISQ’) on 19 September 1968 and was reclassified 1-Y (qualified for service only in time of war or national emergency) on 15 October 1968.”  Being DQ’d for military service for health reasons doesn’t mean you can’t participate normally in sports or have a physically challenging job, however.  For example, during an employment physical long ago, my back x-ray indicated a problem with my lower back.  The doctor told me the defect would disqualify me for military service (but not for the job), even though the defect would probably never bother me (and it hasn’t so far).

Ultimately for DT, the 1-Y/4-F classification didn’t matter.  In the 1969 draft lottery for 1970 call-ups, DT’s birthday (6/14/1968) was picked 356th.  As it turned out, only those picked 195 and lower were called up.

Regarding JM’s comment DT “went on to a college sports career, MaxPreps says “[DT] didn’t play any sports in college.”

Regarding the VD comment by DT, about all I can say is it was in a 1998 interview with Howard Stern.  

“The NFL players kneeling on Sundays are engaging in a peaceful protest to bring attention to a social issue that has become a national epidemic.  They kneel over black people being shot and killed by police officers.  If this president didn’t make kneeling an issue, it wouldn’t be one.”

[RWC] Sure.

“This president isn’t a patriot and this isn’t about the flag.  It’s about the color of the people kneeling and a guy who couldn’t buy an NFL team.  He never had any skin in the game when it comes to the flag and your First Amendment rights mean nothing to him.”

[RWC] President Trump (DT) is a racist?

Believe it or not, DT is covered by “First Amendment rights,” meaning he’s free to offer his opinion just like the rest of us.

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