John Bolton’s wartime experience

John Bolton, Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor, is known to be a keen advocate of war, with a dislike for all things international, including the United Nations. He has never met a war that he didn’t like. I was curious to see whether he had any military experience, so looked up his biography in Wikipedia. I discovered that, like his former boss, George W. Bush, he avoided service in Vietnam by enlisting in the National Guard. He served in the Maryland National Guard for four years, then in the US Army Reserve for two additional years. In those days, without political connections it was difficult to join the National Guard, because that was a way to avoid the draft, and service in Vietnam.

Here is some relevant information that I found in Wikipedia.

John Robert Bolton (born November 20, 1948) is an American diplomat, attorney, and the National Security Advisor of the United States.

Bolton has been called a “war hawk” and is an advocate for regime change in Iran and North Korea and has repeatedly called for the termination of the Iran deal. He was a supporter of the Iraq War and continues to support his decision. He has continuously supported military action and regime change in Syria, Libya, and Iran. He has been labeled as a “neoconservative.” However, Bolton rejects the term, claiming he does not focus on democracy promotion.

As a result of the Johnson and Nixon administrations’ decisions to rely largely on the draft rather than on the reserve forces, joining a Guard or Reserve unit became a way to avoid service in the Vietnam War. Before graduating from Yale in 1970, Bolton enlisted in the Maryland Army National Guard rather than wait to find out if his draft number would be called. He saw active duty for 18 weeks of training at Fort Polk, Louisiana, from July to November 1970. After serving in the National Guard for four years, he served in the United States Army Reserve until the end of his enlistment two years later.

He wrote in his Yale 25th reunion book “I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy. I considered the war in Vietnam already lost.”

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