It has been a week since a crazed Muslim fanatic attacked two military locations in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I am still in shock. Not so much for the terrorist attack; that is part of today's world. We are at war with a dangerous and deadly foe-radical Muslim extremists worldwide, including right here at home regardless of whether or not our feckless president recognizes the threat, which he does not. My shock is a result of the handling of this tragedy by our president. He seemingly brushed it off as an annoyance, another interruption in his agenda to implement his liberal ideals while he still has time. He was blatantly inattentive to two main presidential responsibilities in a time of national crisis.
The president did not immediately call the family of the slain military members nor did he take immediate and appropriate action to honor the dead by ordering into effect a longtime custom in such matters-lowering our nation's flag to half mast. He did so eventually after intense press and public scrutiny and outrage by veterans groups. However, it was five days before he responded to the tragedy-an inexplicable delay, an egregious oversight of presidential custom and courtesy, which allows, mandates even, our flag be lowered to half mast in honor, respect, and recognition of those military members who have died tragically, or in this case were killed in combat.
Yes, Mr. President, you heard me correctly! Combat right here in our own country. Did you think it couldn't happen here, not to us safely living in such nice, comfortable cities as Chattanooga? Do you not read their manifestos? Do you not watch their videos? Do you not listen to their leaders?
Like it or not my fellow Americans, we are at war right here in the United States-even if our obtuse president steadfastly refuses to even utter the word "terrorist" to describe these radical Muslims worldwide, and here in our very country. And we better get used to it, we had better be observant, we had better be vigilant, and we had better lay hard on our leaders in Washington, D.C., especially this spineless, uncourageous president.
Headlines, Tuesday, July 21, Washington Post: "Under fire for inaction, Obama orders flags lowered for Chattanooga victims." The Washington Post goes on to say, "President Obama, facing growing criticism from conservatives and some veterans, ordered all American flags on federal grounds to be lowered to half-staff for the remainder of the week to honor the five service members killed at a naval reserve center in Chattanooga, Tenn. The move was announced Tuesday, five days after the shooting rampage and just minutes after Obama delivered a speech here at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in which he defended his Iran nuclear deal, called for more military spending, and criticized Republicans for relying too heavily on military force and threats instead of diplomacy."
To be perfectly clear and fair, the president was not obligated to lower our national emblem. Such honor, recognition, and respect is normally reserved for high ranking American dignitaries or even a select few of those of foreign origin. However, in accordance with formal procedures of flag etiquette, "... the president may order half-staff display of the flag after other tragic events." Such is the case normally and should have been the case in this instance-excepting the president's low esteem for the military itself as an instrument of statecraft and members of our military as needless and costly burdens on American society as has been obvious throughout his term in office. He is a typical left-wing liberal who believes money spent on defense could be better used for his liberal social welfare programs.
Indicative of this president's priorities was the bathing of the White House with lighting in the pride colors of the gay flag on Saturday following the Supreme Court decision to legally recognize gay marriage as acceptable and legal nationwide. Speaking at a joint news conference Tuesday after the ruling, Obama declared it "... a victory for America." Somehow, he was equating it with our success in wars fought for freedom, erringly and disrespectfully elevating a social issue to our military's hard-won battles in such places as Belleau Wood, Normandy, Iwo Jima, Khe Sanh, Fallujah, Bagdad, and countless other battlefields across the world where our dead rest by the tens of thousands in cemeteries abroad.
First off, Mr. President, it seems to me that you must constantly be reminded that the White House is not your house-it's my and every other citizen of this country's house. That you chose to illuminate the White House in rainbow colors in celebration of a Supreme Court ruling concerning gay marriage is reprehensible. For you to despoil our house-even briefly-in such a crass and repulsive manner in celebration of what many find objectionable is truly indicative of your disregard for respect of the office which you hold, and utterly unacceptable denigration of a world-recognized symbol of the very pinnacle of American democracy. The time and effort you and your staff spent-not to mention the cost-to visibly display what are the colors considered the flag of a divergent minority of our total population and not take even one minute to order our true national colors to be lowered in the case of the five members of our military killed in Chattanooga is abhorrent to the majority of Americans everywhere.
Perhaps even more egregious than not acting as our "Commander-in Chief" in a timely, sensitive manner by ordering the flags to half staff immediately, was his failure to call the families of those killed. I watched as several family members were interviewed on national television. None said the president had spoken to them. One mother could not even answer the question as to whether or not the president had called her. Instead, she thought for a moment, and then burst into tears.
You can bet your last dollar that when the tragic shooting deaths occurred in Charleston, South Carolina, Obama was on the phone almost immediately to each and every family member, probably including any distant cousins, in-laws, or anyone even remotely connected to the victims of that nightmare.
Mr., President, you need a time-out. You need to go find a quiet, solitary room in "our" White House and reflect on your priorities, reassess your office as president and the responsibilities that come with it, and reset your goals and objectives for your remaining time in office rather than improvidently pandering to the ultra-liberal segments of our society.
To revitalize your appreciation of our nation's service men and women whose gallant history of bravery, courage, and sacrifice as part of our long road to becoming the world's most prominent example of democracy, to reinvigorate your slacking in your duty as Commander-in-Chief to our military members, may I suggest, some late evening, you take a short, incognito journey across the bridge and down the road to the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, sited across from Arlington National Cemetery where countless rows of white crosses, stretching endlessly, row upon row, perfectly aligned as in a military formation, provide a final resting place for thousands upon thousands of those brave souls who have given their last full measure fighting for the ideals of this country. There, Mr. President, are the true symbols of "victory for America."
As you approach what is commonly referred to as the Iwo Jima monument, on the front (West side) you will see, chiseled in granite, what will move you to be grateful for others who have come before us, particularly men who fought a determined enemy on a far-off island in the Pacific Ocean somewhere distant to our shores. In a 36-day assault immortalized in the words of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, who, having witnessed the battle at close hand from his Naval command vessel offshore, observed, "Among the Americans who served on Iwo Island, uncommon valor was a common virtue." Sobering verse isn't it, Mr. President?
More than 68,000 Americans perished on that minuscule atoll during that brief but ferocious battle, just one of countless others over the two hundred forty plus years of our history. That, Mr. President, was a "victory for America"-not so of a court ruling in favor of a social pressure group of a small minority of malcontents.
Stand there silently and let your eyes drift upward to the six bronze figures atop the granite base, hands symbolically outstretched for eternity as they struggle on 23 February 1945 to raise the flag of our country on that island early in the campaign. Of the six depicted, three would die on the sands of Iwo Jima during their fighting for a "victory."
Continue looking skyward, Mr. President, and you will see a tilted pole, the object the six brave men thrust upward in defiance of Japanese enemy soldiers dangerously and lethally close at hand. At the very top of that staff, waving in the evening breeze, you will observe our star spangled banner, even at night, proudly exhibited for the entire world to see as was the flag on that remote island more than seventy years ago. In 1814, Francis Scott Key, in the familiar, pleading words of his song, asked, "Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave... O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"
Yes, it certainly does, Mr. President, and a whole lot of Americans are very proud that is the case. Something about seeing that flag raised makes one all patriotic and goose-bumpy, even to the point of bringing a little moisture to one's eyes. Well, for most that is. Others, and they are an insignificant minority, a pitiful assortment of complainers and ungrateful ne're-do-wells, would rather parade around with their rainbow flag as if that were an equivalent-simply, they are nothing more than a self-absorbed gaggle of narcissists intent on forcing their gay agenda and lifestyle on others.
Obviously, they have taken hold of you, Mr. President, and coaxed you into committing a most-foolish public display of overindulgence wholely to appease those who consider themselves "victims" of sorts as you neglect the bona fide victims-five dead young men who did nothing more wrong than serve their nation, while you neglect your presidential duties, and while you shine their rainbow "flag" on our White House," effectively masking our true colors-red, white, and blue.
Look closely at the top of that pole at one of the most recognized symbols of America in the world, Mr. President. Yes, that star-spangled banner still waves at the Marine Corps War Memorial as it does all over the world at all of our military facilities, even at our far-flung outposts in the most perilous locations.
What you do not see-and never will see-atop that pole is a rainbow flag of any color or hue. And it should never have been projected onto our national "House of Presidents." Not for one minute, not for any such cause or celebration, not under any circumstances, Mr. President.
For both oversights-the flag failing to be lowered in a timely manner and not contacting the families-this president has repeatedly shown himself to be careless, deficient of the level of dignity commensurate to the office he was elected to, inattentive to duty, and a complete and utter failure as a leader.
Major Dennis Copson, USMC (RET)
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