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Tulsi Gabbard and the Military

It’s not a requirement that our presidents serve in the military, but it used to be—or nearly so. For the five decades following World War II, serving in uniform was not only a kind of litmus test for patriotic sacrifice, it was a sure-fire way to burnish a political resume.

So it was that, for those fifty-odd years, every president could claim military service: Harry Truman (as an artillery officer in World War I), Dwight Eisenhower (as the U.S. commander in Europe during World War II), John Kennedy (the celebrated commander of PT-109), Lyndon Johnson (who was a junior officer in the naval reserve), Richard Nixon (as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy), Gerald Ford (a navigator aboard an aircraft carrier), Jimmy Carter (as a young nuclear sub officer), Ronald Reagan (who was a PR officer for the Army) and George H.W. Bush (whose fighter was shot down by the Japanese).

In 1992, Bill Clinton broke the mold…

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