Former South Dakota Senator Larry Pressler pops up on the op-ed page of the New York Times, decrying what he calls the "Technicality Generation." Pressler is reacting to the news that Connecticut Attorney General (and current Senate candidate) Richard Blumenthal dodged the Vietnam draft by seeking deferments and ultimately enlisting in the Marine Reserve. (Feel free to discuss differences with George W. Bush's service in the Air National Guard.)
Many of those who didn’t serve were helped by an inherently unfair draft. I don’t fault anyone for taking advantage of the law. Where I do find fault is among those who say they were avoiding the draft because they were idealistically opposed to the war — when, in fact, they mostly didn’t want to make the sacrifice [Larry Pressler, "The Technicality Generation," New York Times, 2010.05.18].
Stop right there. Didn't Larry sit in on any rhetoric classes at Oxford? When you say "in fact," you are generally expeced to present fact, not unsubstantiated assertion.
Pressler proceeds to indict a great swath of nameless, faceless targets. He asserts that "many" in his generation "cloaked themselves in idealism but deep down had to know that they were engaging in a charade." Had to know? Hmmm... speculating as to the mindset of the defendant... surely some prof at Harvard Law mentioned that's a bad strategy.
"This intellectual justification continues to this day," says Pressler, "only now these men are among our country’s leaders." Oh really? Which ones? Care to get specific?
Of course not. Pressler refers to private conversations where he was told "over and over" about the "deeply insidious thing" many of his classmates did. Many, too many... but never any specifics.
Pressler's vague assertions smell a bit of Gordon Howie's unsubstantiated claims about his budget independence. It sure sounds nice, but without any hard evidence, can we really buy it?