Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Tag: Vietnam War


Can Romney count on ‘the military vote’?

It’s long been a political given that military voters skew Republican. Georgetown University professor Rosa Brooks, writing in Foreign Policy, says that may have been the case in the 1980s and ’90s; now military voters more closely track how the general population votes. And on some issues, service members are even slightly more liberal than civilians.

Here’s the article.

The Myth of the Republican Military Voter

By Rosa Brooks
(c) 2012, Foreign Policy

WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are said to be tussling over the fabled “military vote,” and during this extraordinarily tedious election season, both have highlighted their fondness for all things military. Despite the efforts of both candidates to drum up military support, however, most commentators assume that the military “naturally” supports Republicans over Democrats. But will “the military vote” really favor Romney next week?

Romney hopes it will, and right-wing conspiracy theorists are convinced it will — that’s why they keep huffing and puffing about alleged Obama campaign attempts to suppress military votes, through methods as devious as neglecting to inform service members of their voting rights and supposedly burning military ballots.

But the Obama campaign has no reason to hope that service members don’t vote, and Romney shouldn’t count his chickens before they hatch. The military is far from a “natural” Republican voting bloc. Although the military appears to have skewed Republican in the 1980s and ’90s , for most of the last century the politics of military personnel appear to have more or less mirrored the politics of the civilian population.

There’s ample reason to believe that this is the case again today.
Read more »


Moon landing news was slow to reach Hanoi Hilton

We get a lot of really good stories over the opinion wire that we don’t have room to run in print. I liked this piece by Arizona Sen. John McCain on how he learned that the U.S. had put a man on the moon – a few years after it happened.

From the Moon to Hanoi

By John McCain
Special to The Washington Post

Neil Armstrong’s passing reminded me of the moment I learned of his historic accomplishment. I didn’t gather with my family around the television to watch him take his “small step” onto the surface of the moon. When the momentous event occurred, I had no idea it was happening. I and several hundred comrades were otherwise engaged — prisoners of war in the enemy’s capital, where in 1969, news could travel slowly.

Our captors in Hanoi went to considerable lengths to keep us in the dark. They didn’t restrict our access to all news but were selective about the information they allowed to reach us. They routinely apprised us of anti-war protests, race riots, assassinations and the like. Reports were usually piped into our cells during Hanoi Hannah’s “Voice of Vietnam,” an often unintentionally funny, if repetitious, daily broadcast about America’s manifold sins and woes.

“American GIs, don’t fight in this illegal and immoral war,” Hannah would plead, while cheerfully regaling us with victories by the people’s liberation forces and the latest evidence that the United States had become a dystopian society.
Read more »


Military can catalog World War I bombs but not medals?

This editorial, which will appear in Monday’s print edition, is an expanded version of an earlier blog posting.

For the last six years, Lt. Col. Jenns Robertson has been compiling a database listing every bomb the Air Force has dropped since World War I.

Sounds like a monumental mission, right? For World War II alone, he had to scan an estimated 10,000 pages of bombing reports.

Yet the Pentagon has long said that it would be too hard for it to compile another database – one listing medals given to service members. Such an online database would allow the media and individuals to verify claims many people falsely make regarding decorations they supposedly received.
Read more »


Wanted: Children of the Sixties

We received an interesting letter this week from a Missouri history professor. He’s writing a book about the experiences of children in the turbulent 1960s, and he’d like to hear from you if you were a kid during that decade.

Here’s his letter:

As a history professor with a special interest in the Vietnam era, I have a project that might be of interest to your readers. I am researching and writing a book on the 1960s as seen through the eyes of American children.

For many Americans like myself who were born between 1956 and 1970 – and are now in our 40s and 50s – the “Sixties experience” was a fundamental part of our childhood and remains central in our lives today. I would like to hear stories from this generation about growing up in the United States during the turbulent 1960s in order to understand the meaning of “the Sixties” from the perspective of children.
Read more »