My hate email is increasing in both volume and intensity as the campaign enters its season of denouement. Amid the rest of it today I got a personal email from a senior retired Navy officer who apparently can’t restrain his bigotry over our civilian President. The screed he forwarded to me fit his previously-expressed disdain that derives from Barack Obama’s lack of military experience, something he had previously derided by speculating that “Obama had to be taught how to salute”. So if any of the rest of you out there have not served in the military, you may consider yourself ineligible for high office because of that deficiency.
This latest accusation, an email with a long list of addressees, was that Obama is so inept and unfeeling regarding patriotism that he failed to show proper respect for the shooting victims during ceremonies at Ft. Hood. The anonymous originator was voluble with outraged indignation. It was blatantly false of course, and easily proven so by a quick visit to Snopes.com which had documented the photo as real, but completely out of context. The President was not saluting because he wasn’t supposed to. The picture was taken during (required) honors to him, the President, not to the flag nor to the national anthem. Not only was the accusation false, but its anonymous author had even changed the venue to make it seem like a more recent occurrence! The original picture was taken 3 years ago at Arlington, not at Ft. Hood, therefore my Navy acquaintance was not only duped, but intentionally manipulated, both by his former shipmate who sent it to him without checking, and by its original anonymous author, a fraud.
Political passions are rising and giving way to more blatant forms of deception. The hate shines through, and I submit it is most intense and most deceitful coming from the right. It is one thing to use a possibly inaccurate anonymous attribution about Mitt Romney’s taxes to put more pressure on him to do the right thing, as the feisty little boxer Harry Reid did, and quite another to foment intentionally hateful and bigoted lies. I urge everyone to view their “in” boxes with skepticism. I doubt very much that my Navy source forwarded the item knowing it was false, but he has been a victim of confirmation bias many times before. He believes what he wishes to believe, and his disdain for the truth has ruined his credibility with me.
Not all military officers have the same contempt for our President’s lack of military experience. I came across an item just today that supports that. Here is the first part of it:
Retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark said Thursday he wants the American public to understand what a “great commander in chief” President Barack Obama is.
“He’s made some really great decisions, some tough decisions and he’s been extremely successful,” Clark told the Daily Press. “Not only that, he’s been stronger in support of veterans in actual resources and programs than any president in my life time.”
Clark, a Democratic presidential candidate in 2004, was part of an Obama campaign roll out of military leaders in Roanoke Wednesday, along with retired Army Maj. Gen. James Kelley and retired Navy Rear Adm. Jamie Barnett. Clark praised the president for ending the war in Iraq, taking down Osama bin Laden and the surge in Afghanistan.
“I think the facts are clearly on the president’s side and that’s what we’re out to show,” said the former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces.
I myself served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy for 22 years, but I have to say it disgusts me to hear others demean those who did not serve as somehow being morally, patriotically, or culturally deficient. Such people wear their service on their sleeves, much as others do relative to their religion. It is xenophobic, it is destructive, and it is unAmerican. It is also unbecomingly prideful of them.
- Wesley Clark wants veterans to support Obama (wsls.com)