Nothing unites the Republican candidates for president or excites the conservative base more than their bellicose barking about war and confrontation. The GOP presidential debates often sound like a tough-man competition, with Rudolph Giuliani denouncing the "cut-and-run" Democrats, Mitt Romney demanding a double-size Guantánamo detention camp, and the rest of the pack struggling to keep pace with the snarling alpha dogs.
Consider Giuliani, the former New York mayor who has remained among the most vocal supporters of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. He never hesitates to suggest that politicians with differing opinions simply lack guts. When he spoke at the 2004 Republican convention, he gleefully insinuated that Democratic nominee John Kerry lacked the fortitude to combat terrorism. Now he denigrates the supposedly spineless Democrats running for president in 2008.
But he has always confined his enthusiasm for war to podium speeches and position papers. Born in 1944, young Rudy was highly eligible for military service when he reached his 20s during the Vietnam War. He did not volunteer for combat -- as Kerry did -- and instead found a highly creative way to dodge the draft.
If Giuliani has a draft problem, Romney's may be even worse. The former Massachusetts governor, whose supporters object strenuously to any discussion of his religious beliefs, got his military service deferred thanks to the Mormon church. Read more...