This article was first posted on God’s Own Party.  It has been updated for this site.
Recently on a stage with war heroes Mitt Romney praised the sacrifice of the great men and women of every generation who have served in our armed forces.  One thing he did not mention is that not only did he not serve when his time came, he received several deferments despite the fact he marched in support of the war in Vietnam.  As a matter of fact the Mormon church as a whole supported the Vietnam war and I imagine there were many who served from the church just not the chickenhawk Willard.

The son of George Romney, then Michigan’s governor, was one of a limited number of Mormon youth chosen as missionaries — a status that protected him from the draft between July 1966 and February 1969 as a “minister of religion or divinity student.” Essentially, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints re-routed Romney from Vietnam to the south of France, where he served as a missionary. Mitt Romney spent a significant portion of his 30-month mission in a Paris mansion described by fellow American missionaries to The Daily Telegraph as a “palace”. It featured stained glass windows, chandeliers, and an extensive art collection, staffed by two servants — a Spanish chef and a houseboy.

As a matter of fact he received 3 more deferments over the next few years and did not stop applying until he figured out his number was too high to be drafted to serve.
So what he so reveres now as a sacrifice is something the Republican presidential candidate was not willing to make himself. President Barack Obama, Romney’s opponent in this year’s campaign, did not serve in the military either. The Democrat, 50, was a child during the Vietnam conflict and did not enlist when he was older in the voluntary armed forces.  Had he done so he might have been involved in minor skirmishes however more than likely he would have served only a minimal stint(3-4 years) and not re-enlisted.  It might also be noted that President Obama has also never been a warhawk either.
But because Romney, now 65, was of draft age during Vietnam, his military background — or, rather, his lack of one — is facing new scrutiny.  Perhaps if he had been against the war his lack of service would be understandable however when you protest FOR a war then refuse to serve yourself, people are going to question your ethics.  Yes they are going to question your ethics when you are so eager to send others off to die for their country, a sacrifice you refused to make in a war you supported.  A look at Romney’s actions with regard to Vietnam offers a window into a 1960s world that allowed him to avoid combat as fighting peaked.
From the Political Carnival:

May 20, 1966, a 19-year old Romney, whose father was at the time Michigan’s governor, standing with pro-war University president Wallace Sterling. To the young Romney, anti-war activists hoping to end the draft — and the senseless deaths of nearly 60,000 young American men — should not sit-in, they should sit down and shut up in preparation for potential deployment.  With one caveat—not his deployment oh no, Mitt had things to do in France-in a palace-at sidwalk cafes.

In 1994, when he was running for Senate, Willard told The Boston Herald, “I was not planning on signing up for the military. It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam, but nor did I take any actions to remove myself from the pool of young men who were eligible for the draft.”

So, while he is eager to confront Iran or “The Soviet Union”, our “geopolitical enemy” (in his words) and any other comers, he was never willing to put himself in the line of fire.  For someone with no military background he speaks carelessly about taking this country in to another war we can ill afford.  Even though he never stepped onto a battlefield just like the other neo-con war mongers who are on his current staff.  Heck he cannot even decide if he would or would not have gone, according to his words and he figures the best way for his sons to serve their country is to ride in RV’s around the country stumping for his campaign.

In 2007 he said about serving in Vietnam that he had “longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam.”

What the reality of the situation is that he didn’t have the courage to go. He didn’t feel it was important enough to him to serve his country at a time of war… Vietnam was a war that the poor and the people who couldn’t afford to go to college served in while people like Mitt holed up in a mansion in France.  For anyone who has made the trek to our nation’s capitol and visited the Vietnam Wall, stood in the silence of people mourning the lost, or touching the name of a friend or loved one who perished in that war, his disregard for the suffering of others becomes magnified.  There were many who did not support that war but I know, at least for me, it was a general distaste for war overall, not the soldiers I was against.  It was a country willing to lie to it’s citizens in order to effect regime change, chase a “communist insurgence” that was real or imagined but most importantly to secure the rich minerals and rubber in Southeast Asia.   It was a country willing to sacrifice the lives of over 60,000 US Citizens in that endeavor.

In a recurring theme of Frat boy activity, it seems that he also liked to impersonate Michigan State Troopers in his youth and in fact a few of his staffers in 2007 left the campaign after it was learned they, too, impersonated Massachussets State Police.

From the National Memo:

When Mitt Romney was a college freshman, he told fellow residents of his Stanford University dormitory that he sometimes disguised himself as a police officer – a crime in many states, including Michigan and California, where he then lived. And he had the uniform on display as proof.
So recalls Robin Madden, who had also just arrived as a freshman, the startling incident began when Romney called him and two or three other residents into his room, saying, “Come up, I want to show you something.” When they entered Romney’s room, “and laid out on his bed was a Michigan State Trooper’s uniform.”
Madden, a native Texan who graduated from Stanford in 1970 and went on to become a successful television producer and writer, has never forgotten that strange moment, which he has recounted to friends over the years as he observed his former classmate’s political ascent. The National Memo learned of the incident from a longtime Madden friend to whom he had mentioned it years ago.
Said Madden in a recent interview,

“He told us that he had gotten the uniform from his father,” George Romney, then the Governor of Michigan, whose security detail was staffed by uniformed troopers. “He told us that he was using it to pull over drivers on the road. He also had a red flashing light that he would attach to the top of his white Rambler.”……..

You can read the rest of the article and the Boston Globe articles on his staffers who ultimately resigned the campaign here:

This habit of lying or flip flopping or even some of the practical jokes he thought were funny are part of a very disturbing pattern.  Not only was he cruel in his pranks, he has never, to this day, given a heartfelt apology to my knowledge.  We all do silly things as young people but I would hope, at some point in our lives, we show sincere misgivings about such actions.  Romney does not seem to be that person.  We all have changes of heart, but how many times in a lifetime do you change your core values?  In my opinion it would take a life changing experience not a run for public office every few years.  So, as it is with most of Romeny’s core beliefs, it is not surprising that he has told different stories regarding this time in his life.  His recollection of those days and his decisions,  have evolved as well, all in relation to whatever office he is running for at any given time.
The Etch-a-Sketch does not work in real life.  In fact we all know etch-a-sketch is not permanent.  All you have to do is turn it over, shake it a bit and you have a clean slate.  That is very seldom the case in the real world.  Your actions count, they matter and they can have devastating or incredibly positive repercussions.  Your word should count as well and I personally have a hard time believing you can have a Commander in Chief who lies whenever it suits him become a good influence on the nation as a whole.  Yet Republicans are lining up in a row to vote for this man.  Once again they are voting with their anger which is how we got a Tea Party Do Nothing Congress.  Do nothing because their ideas are so stuck in some bizarre ideologue they cannot publish any meaningful bills.  In a world where this country is still recovering from another Frat Boy the right gave to us it would seem to be a cruel trick of nature to foist another spoiled, richie rich empty headed candidate on us.  It would seem the Evangelicals are even willing to compromise their beliefs to stand behind a man who in all Evangelical teachings belongs to a cult.  So it would seem they also can compromise their values in order to insure Republican is the word in Washington DC.  In the real world people who think their values can be changed like an etch a sketch have no business leading our country.

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“I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam…it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam.” Romney, 2007

“It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam, but nor did I take any actions to remove myself from the pool of young men who were eligible for the draft.” Romney, 1994

But Romeny did remove himself from the pool by applying for and receiving four draft deferments to keep him from being drafted.


Sue,one day on Kolob is equal to 1000 years on this Earth, which the Egyptians call Jah-oh-eh. Its said our sun receives its light from Kolob through the medium of Kae-e-vanrash, the Grand key which governs the heavens.

Bringing these pearls of wisdom to the unwashed heathens in France is why Mitt decided not to serve in Vietnam

That’s one to grow on. Great article!!


Sue, excellent article!

As we’ve discussed, one key aspect of Mitt Romney that can’t be argued otherwise, is that he is a liar and a coward.

These two traits are cemented together in this poor excuse of a man. I do reject every description of him as a “success” because being a liar and a coward makes one a failure as a human being in my book.

It’s very enlightening but far from surprising that in this case as in others, Romney has acted in a way that solely benefits himself then lied to cover up that he is such a tool.

The entitled believe in one thing, being entitled. And that gives them license to steal, lie, harm and disregard the lives of others. It is a free pass in their minds to evade social and personal responsibilities if they come between them and what they want.

It makes them bullies who deep down, like most bullies, are cowards. Mitt Romney has never done anything that was brave, he is the type to pick on weaker people and to run away from a fair fight.

We’ve seen this in the campaign and we’ll see more of it but when he is forced into something close to a fair fight, as the debates will be, I think he will stumble badly because fighting fair is something that the wealthy and bullies are quite frightened of.


Sue, I am exactly the same age as Mittens. I was drafted in 1967 at 21 and spent 1969 in Vietnam. Upon return to the “world” as we called America I protested the WAR and have been loud about being against the present WARS we are in.

I strongly recommend that we study history and learn from our folly in Nam and the Russian folly in Afghanistan. There is no upside to waging WAR with anyone.

If America were invaded like we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq I would take up arms and resist in any way possible. How can we expect to win the “hearts and minds ” of the people who’s country we invaded?

We never seem to learn from our experience.


I agree completely Nirek. Unfortunately, in America, war is big business, which I’m sure you already know. Millions of American jobs are in the defense industry. Those in Congress bring military contracts to just about every state there is. They have to do something with all these weapons. Of course, our wars are always fought in the name of “spreading democracy.”

I have no doubt that you know from experience that we should never have been in Vietnam. We were spending huge amounts of money, fighting and dying, to support a “democracy,” that never really existed. The government of South Vietnam was a sham democracy, at best.

The dreaded “Domino Theory,” never became a reality. So much was lost in the cold war frenzy to “stop communism,” wherever it reared it’s head. Now we have replaced the fear of communism with the fear of Islamic extremism. Fortunately, the fight against Islamic extremism is a slightly smaller fight than the one in Southeast Asia. I completely agree, that we need to end these treasury draining wars that get so many good people killed, on both sides.


KT, I was told outright lies while in the army. They said we were fighting over there (Vietnam) so we would not have to fight them here. I knew that was bullshit. I saw lots of corruption while in country. And the South Vietnamese harbored (I don’t blame them) VC and tried to divert our attention so the VC could get away. We could not tell VC from SV. They all dressed in black PJs and wore those conical hats and Ho Chi Minh sandals (made from tires).


Nice work, BFF!

I know someone who is almost exactly Myth Romney’s age, and like Romney he is a die-hard Republican. He’s very big on raising the flag on the 4th of July and Memorial Day. He cries when he hears patriotic music. He has no respect for our President. But he did everything short of wearing a dress to avoid serving in Viet Nam. Not only did he never even CONSIDER signing up to go fight the war he was so much in favor of; he consciously maneuvered to get out of being drafted.

I guess he never did manage to figure out the difference between sentimentality and sacrifice when it came to patriotism.

The guys who actively demonstrated against the war had more integrity in their little fingers than this guy or Mitt.

Sometimes I think Mitt’s father is/was a major part of the problem. Did it ever occur to him that sending his little boy off to France to be waited on by a cook and a “houseboy,” while condoning poor and minority kids going off to fight and die in an unjust war, was beyond hypocrisy? And what kind of father GIVES his teenage son a State Trooper’s uniform to play with? The message those actions send is: “You, Young Prince, never have to do anything difficult. You will have privilege without effort, respect without risk. I will open every door and shield you from ever having to accept the consequences of your actions.”

That’s a recipe for a spoiled brat. And you’re right, Sue, when you ask:

Do we really need another one of those?


Sue and kes – you have NAILED this. I was fine with men doing whatever they had to to avoid Vietnam but also knew a whole lot of vets who could not get any kind of deferment and served. Even now several of those friends have PTSD and other very hard lingering problems.

Went to Vietnam? Honorable. Opposed the war and either went CO or found another way out? Honorable. SUPPORTED the war but evaded every way possible to go and trashed those who opposed it? CHICKENHAWK indeed! I once knew a guy living in a classy apartment in Marina del Rey who coldly told me that anyone who opposed the war was a shit. When I asked him why he didn’t go (he worked for a defense contractor and got big bucks as an engineer – complete with deferment) he said, “I’m too good to be cannon fodder for the war. I’m doing my bit here.” Problem with that rationale? He worked on the space research side of things. So there he was, sitting in his beautiful place, long-stemmed wine glass in hand, demanding that others die – but not him. Asshole. Just a complete and total asshole. I’m SURE he’s voting for Romney. Birds (Chickhawks) of a feather…

You can sacrifice yourself all your want in honor of your principles, but you have NO principles if you sacrific only others. Those are the men to whom, during WW I, they used to give “Four Feathers” to indicated cowardice.

You have to stand for something. SOMETHING. I have too many friends with wounds from Vietnam and too many who served hard time in prison for their conscience to think advocating that others should go and die while you don’t is a nifty thing.

CHICKENHAWKS are chickenshits. No principle, nohow.


CL, as I said I was drafted in 67 , if my Dad had not been a career soldier and WWII vet I would have gone to Canada. I was against the WAR, but served because I could not disgrace Dad. Served my two years and got out. Protested the WAR and hold no grudge against anyone who avoided the draft. That said I agree that if one was pro WAR he should have served. Otherwise he (Mitt) deserves the title “chickenhawk” !


Is it just me or does Mitt Romney seem like someone who could actually HAVE skeletons in his closet?! This man has so little sympathy, empathy or compassion for others.

He scares the heck out of me.

Thank you for your article. I think it’s important for people to know the bizarre Willard.


GirlOutWest – wouldn’t you love to be a private investigator who has the know-how to scratch Willard’s nasty past? The more we learn, the worse it gets. I think something evil is lurking beneath that frozen smile and glazed eyes. AdLib’s query about whether he’s a sociopath haunts me. Willard IS the scariest dude running for the most powerful position in the world, and I think we are all right to be very afraid.


I totally think he’s a freak…literally. Everyone raves about Mrs. Romney but when I look at her she looks scared and like she’s got the biggest burden. I know that she suffers from MS but I get something different from her. Maybe fear because she knows the real Mitt?

I also wonder about a man who would put his ill wife through the campaign and possible Presidency (please GOD..don’t let it happen). The truth is their life is all about Mitt, 24/7 in my opinion.