The drumbeat of outrage: Veteran’s are outraged- and they ought to be

Published 13 years ago -  - 13y ago 6


veteransImage courtesy of Fort Rucker under CC BY 2.0.

Some things ‘should’ overshadow partisan bickering. Empirically (even in our contemporary decay of moral relativism) some things are just plainly right, and some things (still) are flat out wrong. You don’t kick a blind man. You don’t steal money from the collection plate in church. You don’t lie, cheat, steal, or redefine words without consequence.

I regularly end my radio program by reminding listeners “Knowledge is power…IF…if you take that knowledge and do something with it…..” It is encouraging to learn that occasionally, people actually listen to both the form and substance of words.

I recently received an email from Richard DeMarco, a listener in Cleveland. I have never met Richard, but I am proud of him. He was writing in response to a mini rant I did about Governor Howard Dean’s brother being accorded military honors.

DeMarco’s letter to the editor of the ‘Cleveland Plain Dealer’ noted, “When I see of the pictures of the military color guard receiving Howard Dean’s brother’s remains, I literally shake with anger, thinking of many a good man who died face-down in the mud, whose returning caskets were treated with marked indifference, if not outright scorn, by their “countrymen” in the ’60s.” He is NOT the Lone Ranger.

Charles Dean was a 24-year-old civilian who disappeared in 1974 while traveling through Southeast Asia as a tourist. He is believed to have been imprisoned and killed by communist insurgents who took over Laos in 1975.

Since U.S.-sponsored recovery teams started operating in Laos in 1992, 182 Americans have been recovered. Almost 400 Americans are still missing in Laos from the Vietnam War.

In the wake of my itching and moaning about the personal abuse of presumptive power, DeMarco started organizing and encouraging others to write media and politicians. He writes that there has been beaucoup traffic back and forth on various veterans’ boards, newsletters et al and that universally, our veteran community is big time P.O.-ed. The veteran community is outraged…and they ought to be.

Major General Edward M. Browne, USA (Retired) is one of the many letter writers. The General observed, “Records reveal that Howard Dean evaded military service, claiming serious back problems. He then spent the next 10 months skiing in the Rockies.”

Dean is not the first politician to avoid military service (see Bill Clinton’s letter to Col Holmes and Col Holmes affidavit).

“He too never served his country in any military service connection that could be stretched into authorizing military honors for Charles Dean.” Browne continues, “Additionally it is reported that pressure was applied to provide honors and priority to confirm Deans identity ahead of known military service members KIA/MIA.”

Such abuse is sufficient to gag maggots.

No one denies the obvious great personal tragedy for the Dean family. The loss of a brother to violence is terrible. However, to offer full military honors and priority preferential treating in identification of the body to a civilian is an insult to the families and loved ones of MIA/KIA who were bumped to accommodate the family of a presidential wannabe.

I have previously observed the recovery of the presumed remains of Governor Dean’s brother ‘could’ have been a unique opportunity for the presidential hopeful to score points by just doing the right thing. Had Howard Dean insisted his brother NOT received ‘special treatment’ it could have done much to mitigate his own dubious military avoidance. It was a unique opportunity the hotheaded, loose-lipped Dean squandered. And there ARE consequences.

General Browne asks all the right questions, and I encourage ALL veterans to inquire in writing to your congressional representative requesting answers to the same questions General Browne seeks:

  1. Who authorized the full military honors accorded Charles Dean?
  2. What are the criteria for according full military honors?
  3. What qualified Charles Dean for such honors?
  4. Was, is Charles Dean in fact receiving priority in any manner, shape or form over known KIA/MIA military personnel?
  5. How much did it cost to provide honors to Charles Dean (preparations, personnel time, materials, etc….)?
  6. Is the Dean family reimbursing the government for those costs or are the taxpayers paying for the accommodation?
  7. Are there any known plans to inter Charles Dean in a Military cemetery and/or provide further military honors?

It is a bittersweet blessing that the Dean family may finally have closure to their huge personal loss. However, it is blessing still denied to THOUSANDS of family members of thousands of MIA/KIA servicemen who have again been reduced to second-class status by the presumption of hubris.

Dr. Dean lacked the insight and perception to exploit a potential public relations gift when it was offered. He can try to ignore this issue, or shift accountability. However, there ARE consequences to things we do in life.

Whereas others may with ease choose to ignore veterans when it becomes uncomfortable, veterans do NOT forget.

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