Mr. Wilson is a veteran of Viet Nam, significantly disabled, and a strong proponent of the military and service therein. I post here his commentary to me for all readers to see and I write this to inform readers of Mr. Wilson's unimpeachable character. He wrote the note below in response to a comment I made that Ali was a "dodger." I now subordinate my thinking to that of Michael Wilson, one who has far more credibility on this issue than do I. I've long admired Ali's talent and with Mr. Wilson's opinion so convincingly expressed, I will remember him as an honorable man. RIP Muhammid Ali
Michael Wilson's Comments
Joe, Ali did not run off to Canada or Europe. He stayed here to face the music. The music in his case was a 5 year prison sentence, $10k fine, and banishment from boxing. While he never actually served time as a result of the sentence, he did lose 3 years from his career during what should have been his most productive period. While he might have been used by the NOI, he took responsibility for his decision, as we all should.
If I, who served 2 year in country and have a 20% disability as result of wounds, can find it my heart to forgive him and allow that his subsequent behavior expiated whatever sin he might have committed in his youth, why can those who never served there either not put his behavior of a half century past behind us? It would seem that for some Marc Antony's words at Caesar' funeral are still true: "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is often interred with their bones..."
Where was, and is, the outrage at Jimmy Carter's blanket pardon of all the draft dodgers and traitors who ran away rather than serve or stay here to face the music? Ali was prepared to pay whatever price was necessary as a result of his decision. These people weren't, and the one thing for which I will never forgive Carter is his allowing them back into the country with no penalty whatever. I will credit Ali for his life after his decision and reserve my bile for Carter and those whom he forgave, and whom I have not forgiven and never will forgive.