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Soldiers welcomed home

Eight soldiers were flying home from Iraq for two weeks of R&R, and first class passengers offered to swap seats with them. A stewardess said: "The soldiers were very, very happy, and the whole aircraft had a different feeling."

Discussions - 9 Comments

Why weren’t those soldiers flying first class to begin with??

I agree whole-heartedly with your sentiment. Unfortunately, the burden to the taxpayer would be great and I doubt the airlines will soon unilaterally take that step. However, my "immature buddies" (I believe that’s what you previously called them) and I will soon be coming home and will gladly and respectfully accept your magnanimous donation.

I apologize for my previous remark, but in the context at the time of the post I was simply "returning fire" so to speak. As far as what you call the "burden to the taxpayer," I’d say it’s a damn small price to pay for what you’ve given and they ought to be happy to shoulder that burden. In a somewhat related vein I can assure you that because of my own experiences, as well as those of many of my friends, I came to realise a long time ago just how hypocritical and disrespectful many US government leaders(of both parties) really are toward those who serve. It’s very easy to give lip service, but talk is cheap and the ones who are doing the talkin sure as hell ain’t out there doing the fightin! That’s one(of many) reasons why I despise George Bush: when it comes to US servicemen he’s the all time hypocrite.

I appreciate your clarification, and I still echo your sentiment - with one (obvious - coming from a conservative) exception. I believe your hatred of the president is misplaced, if it is placed at all on him being a "hypocrite," as you claim. I’m assuming that you are referring to his service in the National Guard during Vietnam and the often-stated liberal assertion of nepotism that placed him there? As a fighter pilot, the president - whether National Guard or not - placed his life at risk (granted, not the risk of Hanoi SAMs) each time he flew. As a National Guard officer and fighter pilot, he was also at fairly substantial risk of deployment to SE Asia - a risk far greater than if he had served in the Army National Guard, or if he had attended Oxford or fled to Canada, needless to say. Let’s also not forget that he volunteered. Are you saying that it’s hypocritical to volunteer for service in the National Guard in the attempt to avoid being drafted? Many men did so, and I don’t feel that any who did should be ridiculed for it. It was not a popular war, and most men realized that it was not a war that they wanted to find themselves fighting. Considering the other avoidance options, I would say that his was quite honorable. To claim that he was a hypocrite because of his service in the National Guard is unfair and demeaning to the many hundreds of thousands who served and continue to serve (and die) honorably in the National Guard both at home and overseas. As a National Guard officer myself, I’m frankly quite proud to have another as my Commander-in-Chief; and this hypocrite will gladly obey the orders of that hypocrite (as I will gladly obey the orders of the highly decorated hypocrite who challenges him).

Now, if you’re referring to the president’s alleged absenteeism while in the Guard, you’ll have to do something that nobody else from the left has yet been able to do: Offer proof. Any proof.

I appreciate your time and new-found civility and am interested in your further thoughts on the matter. If you’re interested in my claim that Kerry is the real hypocrite, I’ll gladly explain.

Mr. Gordon: Having re-read your post, I’m not sure that I correctly identified the source of or the reason for your "hypocrite" remark. If it is because of some factor not identified above, please explain.

LT Naum,
In answer to your question -no I wasn’t thinking at all about George Bush’s military service when I wrote that. It was reported several months ago(by a Republican columnist by the way) that George Bush was the first president who had not attended a single military funeral. I don’t recall the name of the columnist, but if pressed and I can find some time, I might be able to find the article. I never liked Bush to begin with(for many reasons which aren’t relevant here), but that was the final nail for me. A nail into the heart of common decency and honor towards those who made the ultimate sacrifice. The commander in chief no less. There is no doubt in my mind that Bush’s refusal to do so was dictated by political considerations. Nuff said. As to your other question(about the records involving his missing service), I won’t be posting them here and no else will either. They don’t exist because they were "inadvertently" destroyed, or so it was reported by cbs. Something about one of those Pentagon screw ups. About volunteering: as I recall, it was really hard to get into the guard back then. I know they hardly ever got called up, so that’s not surprising. Maybe down in Texas it wasn’t a problem, I don’t know.
But no, I have nothing against someone who served in the guard.

I think it’s quite a stretch to claim that the president ever "refused" to attend the funeral of a fallen soldier. On top of that, I simply find it hard to believe. If you can provide it, I would certainly appreciate a cite to the article and author. I’ll not substantively address the theoretical conspiracy implication regarding the other topic as I don’t feel it warrants comment.

On another note, please take my word from family experience that it was certainly not difficult to join the National Guard in Texas during the Vietnam War - and I can quite confidently (though not definitively) assert that it has never been difficult in any place. The doors to the National Guard have been wide open everywhere for as long as it has existed (over 300 years, in one form or another). Again, if you have other data, objective or subjective, please share.

Thank you again for this discussion and for the civil tone. I appreciate your frank admission of personal disdain for the president, and wish that individuals on both sides would make such admissions in our "debates" without resorting to specious "political" statements.

Mr. Gordon, I did a little rudimentary research for you. As far as I can determine, you are right; there is no evidence that the President has attended the funeral of a military member killed in action. However, I was unable to find any proof that he "refuses" to do so. He chooses (a significant difference) not to for some very good reasons. See for a good explanation of these. I think they are sound reasons, and respectful - and I think you might agree if you imagine a similar funeral for a loved one killed in action. As for his general treatment of the fallen, he has taken many steps to honor them. (Again, see the above citation), to include signing an executive order to give citizenship to those from other nations who serve and die our armed forces.

Interestingly, though there was no evidence of President Bush attending a military funeral to date, I also found no evidence that President Clinton ever attended the funeral of a serviceman who was killed following his orders, either. In fact, it appears that he may have adhered to the same policy as his successor; and I find no dishonor in that (though Mr. Clinton happens to be a man in whom I personally find little honor at all).

Hope this helps.

LT Naum -Thanks for the link. I read it, but I’ve heard those excuses before. I don’t buy it. I’m sure you’ve heard the arguments on the other side of the argument too, i.e. Bush can attend fund raisers to futher his political career, go golfing, etc. Those are good objections, but I think they all miss the point. I found an article by Krauthammer(not the article I was looking for, but it’ll do). In discussing this, he opined that it would be a "strategic error" if Bush were to start attending the funerals(and yes I read the entire article carefully). Now you put yourself in the shoes of say a mother or father who has lost a son and tell them about that "strategic error." I’m not going to discuss this topic any further. I’m sure you’re doing a great job at what you do(is it airborne?) and I wish you all the best.

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