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Purple Hearts and Bandages

September 7, 2004
By punpirate

I want you to remember the name Pat Peale.

Pat Peale is the woman in the photo wearing a "purple heart" band-aid, mocking John Kerry's war wounds. She's also mocking every soldier, sailor, airman or marine ever injured in battle, for whatever reason.

If you think she's just another mindless twit who happened to slap a joke on her chin on her way into the Republican National Convention, think again:

She's known Karl Rove since he was "a youngster."

She's fixed dinner for George W. Bush.

She's also whipped up lunch for that hungry Republican crew of "rioters" in Florida who were determined to stop that nasty ol' vote count from proceeding in the 2000 election.

One of her sons works for Phil Gramm, ex-Republican Senator from Texas, and the other of her sons works for Fred Thompson, ex-Republican Senator from Tennessee.

When Texas Democrats went to Oklahoma to prevent redistricting, she chased after them, doing her "chicken dance" for the cameras.

She's not an accidental delegate, caught with a stupid band-aid on her chin. She's one of the insiders of Republican Texas politics, and she had this to say about her wearing of a "purple heart" band-aid which she intended to shame John Kerry, but ended up shaming all with the medal:

Peale said she does not apologize for her comments or for the bandages, but that she did not mean to insult Purple Heart recipients.

"I'm not apologizing for what I did. It was in jest," she said.

Peale said her behavior pales in comparison to the antics of crowds of liberal protesters outside the convention center.

"There were certainly a lot of things coming from the protesters that were not in jest," she said.

She said along nearby 42nd Street, there were several demonstrations that took pornographic themes. Other protesters, according to Peale, rode bicycles and attempted to run delegates off of the sidewalks. Many were anti-war but shouted angry rhetoric about President George W. Bush.

"It's not fair for the police and the city of New York to pay to protect us from the protesters," she said, adding she believes in the right to protest but that many of the demonstrators have acted "belligerent."

Pat, you believe legitimate protest is horrible, compared to your denigration of a medal signifying suffering in battle. I've got some ABC-type news for you.

No apologies necessary on my part, Pat. Not for me, anyway. I managed to get through three years of military service during a war I despised. No Purple Heart for me. I was lucky.

But, there were the people I knew who didn't fare so well, some who died, some who were injured, one with his arm cut off in a wartime accident, and another, on patrol inside the Cambodian border, who had a grenade rolled at him while his trousers were down, taking a shit. Geez, Pat, it only took off his right hand and laid shrapnel up and down his right side. No big thing, huh?

I'll leave it up to my father to mention his injuries in the "good" war, if he wants, but I will say that they did involve falling out of a burning bomber, his face on fire, broken bones which the Germans did not set and months in prison camp.

Then there's my girlfriend's father, first a Marine in that same "good" war, later a Green Beret, earning, the hard way, a Purple Heart at Guadalcanal and a Bronze Star and Navy Cross in New Guinea.

Then there's all those injured in Korea, Viet Nam (including Kerry) and the first Gulf War.

Then there's the thousands of killed and wounded coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Quite a few people with brain damage and missing limbs.

No biggies. Band-aids would do, right?

What have the chickenhawks been teaching you about honor and sacrifice, Pat Peale? Nothing, from what I can see. They have been teaching you, however, how to smear a veteran who happens to be running for President against your favorite son. In doing so, you've mocked and smeared all veterans - even those haplessly partisan swift boat vets who would choose to lie out of mistaken loyalty to comrades or George W. Bush.

You can say you meant no disrespect, but that's the Republican way - smear and then say, "hey, that's not what I did." Believe me. You did just that - exhibit disrespect - on your chin.

The chickenhawks are the people who are in charge of this government of ours at this moment and who are seeking your vote, and who are claiming to be tough on terror. These people ran from danger, Pat Peale. Bush got preferential treatment to get into the Air National Guard ahead of hundreds of others to avoid Viet Nam (don't believe it? Watch 60 Minutes this Sunday and listen to Ben Barnes). Dick Cheney got five deferments, and applied for his parenthood deferment as soon as his wife, Lynne, was pregnant.

These people avoided service and are now making fun, by proxy, of people who were injured in battle. And they're using you to do it.

Read the following names of high officials in our current government and see if you recognize them: Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Cheney ("more important things to do"), Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, John Bolton, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Karl Rove, Spencer Abraham, Elliot Abrams, Don Evans, Andrew Card, Asa Hutchinson, John Ashcroft, Dennis Hastert (current Speaker of the House - his knees were bad, but damn, he could still wrestle in college).

None of these people served a minute in the armed forces as active duty soldiers, in any capacity. All found a way not to do what John Kerry volunteered to do.

Or how about these well-known personalities? They heavily promoted our most recent wars and/or a Draconian reactionary conservative agenda in this current administration and past administrations:

Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Bill Bennett, Newton "Newt" Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Reagan, Michael Savage, Joe Scarborough, Gary Bauer, Jerry Falwell, Meldrim Thomson (former governor of New Hampshire who spent not a whit of time in the military, but introduced a bill to order the equipping of the NH National Guard with nuclear weapons), Jeb Bush, Saxby Chambliss (who beat triple-amputee veteran Max Cleland in Georgia by putting him on political posters next to Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden), Tom DeLay (House Majority Leader, who once said there were no spots for him - a Caucasian man - in the military during the Viet Nam war because Blacks and Hispanics had snapped up all the spots) and Trent Lott (former U.S. Senate majority leader).

None of these people served, either. These are the people that you, Pat Peale, squeal over, fawn over, swoon to meet. Let's see, what name needs further mention?

Oh, yes, Pat Peale is very fond of George W. Bush. The very same guy who left the Air National Guard well before his term of service was up, refused to take two consecutive annual flight physicals (violations of regulations punishable by board of inquiry and courts martial, if necessary), and still can't prove where he was for months at a time.

Pat Peale, you're the woman who makes fun of people with Purple Hearts, and does it because you're a friend and admirer of George W. Bush, the man who wants all of us to re-elect him to the Presidency. Naturally, you couldn't have had your fun without the help of Morton C. Blackwell, who passed out the fun bandages with the neatly drawn purple hearts on them. Blackwell is another fun guy, who was a proud member of the Emergency Committee to Defeat Al Gore.

As with your friends above, Morton never was in the military, but he did manage to become a board member and executive director of the Council for National Policy, and to co-found The Moral Majority with Jerry Falwell. He even found time to be a special assistant to Pres. Ronald Reagan.

Of course, Pat, you're entitled to favor whomever you wish in this political contest, are entitled to believe that the service your friends did not have to perform should be done by others, and that the rich and well-connected should suffer neither the same obligations as those who did serve nor the need to acknowledge the sacrifices of others. Go right ahead and vote for George. You'll make him and his friends very happy.

I'll bet you'd even send us one of those "purple heart" band-aids. If we pay for the postage and handling and make a nominal donation to George W. Bush.

But, Pat, I don't want your nasty little joke. And I'm betting that a lot of veterans out there don't want it, either. All they want is a little respect, and maybe some of the help with their injuries that the government promised them when they went away to fight on your behalf, something neither you nor the Republican Party are eager to provide.

In fact, I'm betting that, come November 2nd, a fair number of veterans won't want George W. Bush and his merry band of chickenhawks - and that they won't because of you and what you represent.

punpirate is a New Mexico writer who knows that a band-aid is all that veterans can expect to get from this new breed of Republican.

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