Purple Hearts and Bandages
September 7, 2004
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
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
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
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
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).
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.