Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Monday, April 23, 2007

  Bush awarded a Purple Heart for wounded feelings

My friend Milo sent me this story, which he'd noticed on a recent trip to Texas, but I was already onto it.

It turns out that a veteran who was decorated with three Purple Hearts in Vietnam decided to award one of them to the President, in recognition of all the harsh assessments of his many signal failures that Bush has had to endure. Or possibly it was the heart-ache of having ruined the nation's standing in the world?

Anyhow, this Texas veteran appears to be a perfect example of the irony-impaired Republican loyalists who put Bush in the White House and then kept him there after four years of hard experience had demonstrated conclusively that Bush was nearly the last person who ought to entrusted with the keys to the Oval Office.

Here is the Killeen Daily Herald's description of veteran Bill Thomas' thinking on the matter:

Thomas said he and his wife came up with the unprecedented idea to present the president with the Purple Heart over breakfast one morning a few months ago as they discussed the verbal attacks, both foreign and domestic, the commander in chief has withstood during his time in office.

"We feel like emotional wounds and scars are as hard to carry as physical wounds," Thomas said.

The medal was awarded to Thomas on Dec. 18, 1965, following injuries he sustained while serving in heavy combat with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam.

It is one of three he was awarded during his service.

Thomas said the Purple Heart he is presenting the president has special meaning to him because the injury he suffered to earn it occurred just after a friend, Richard Peterson, lost his life attempting to save him.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usNot content merely to dream up such an insulting use for this award, Thomas actually carried out his plan. And Bush, far from being humiliated to be offered a combat decoration that he had not merited, was so delighted with the Purple Heart that he wanted to draw further attention to the 'award'.

Thomas said he drew up a citation and he and his wife signed it before dropping it and the medal off with Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, to forward to President Bush.

"Congressman Carter called me last week and said the President was very moved by it, and would like us to present it in person," Thomas said.

Evidently nobody in the White House had the courage to tell Bush that this was an appallingly bad idea. The same paper has the details of the grand presentation:

Bill and Georgia Thomas reported they were elated Monday when they met in the Oval Office with President George W. Bush to present him with a Purple Heart.

"We were just absolutely bowled over. Without reservation, it was one of the highlights of our life. He was such a gracious host," Thomas said. "It was just an incredible, incredible experience."

The couple was able to meet with President Bush for about 20 minutes to present him with one of three Purple Hearts that Bill Thomas received during his service in Vietnam.

Image Hosted by"He said he didn't feel like he had earned it," Thomas said, noting the president looked thinner in person than on television.

The Thomases also were able to meet Barney, the president's Scottish terrier...

He has drawn criticism from some locals who have learned of his actions, Thomas said. Nevertheless, he said he earned the Purple Heart and it is his to do with it as he sees fit.

"I feel the President deserved one," he said.

Sadly, the President was never in a position to earn his own Purple Heart because by chance Bush avoided the draft during the Vietnam War.

"I'm saying to myself, 'What do I want to do?' I think I don't want to be an infantry guy as a private in Vietnam. What I do decide to want to do is learn to fly."

That meant, inevitably, serving in the Texas Air National Guard rather than in Vietnam where, in retrospect, there was a war going on.

"I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes."

His dedicated service to Texas, ironically enough, got in the way of Bush's earning his own Purple Heart--much as he would have liked to have had one in 2004.

"I don't want to play like I was somebody out there marching when I wasn't. It was either Canada or the service.

Again, by a stroke of bad luck, by the time Bush decided to go AWOL from the National Guard, the draft had ended and any malingerers and such in the Guard were no longer being shipped over to fight in Vietnam.

''It appears that no one wanted to hold him accountable," said retired Major General Paul A. Weaver Jr., who retired in 2002 as the Pentagon's director of the Air National Guard.

And there's nothing like an unearned Purple Heart award to say "All is forgiven." Odd that there are still so many supine Republicans to be found who want to do George Bush favors...however ridiculous. Maybe it's the honor of meeting Barney.

crossposted from Unbossed

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