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Wounded Vets Walk Out on Onaugural Ball

Tuesday night marked the latest in a series of missteps with the military for a new president (whose need for on-the-job training is painfully obvious) and/or his supporters:

An inaugural ball honoring U.S. military veterans ended in a kerfluffle as several veterans walked out when a musical act’s attempt at humor backfired.

During the Heroes Red, White & Blue Inaugural Ball honoring the nation’s veterans, a vocalist with George Clinton and the P. Funk All-Stars held up a white towel with large block letters saying “[Expletive] GEORGE,” perturbing many audience members who walked out after the display, interpreting it as a jab at the outgoing commander-in-chief, George W. Bush.

You have to ask “What were they thinking?” when this type of musical act was booked for a formal ball where the attendees would include many who laid their lives on the line for their country:

The audience at the Warner Theater in downtown D.C. included wounded young veterans wearing slings, walking with canes and nursing other visible wounds. Some 300 military service men and women from Walter Reed Hospital and their families were invited. The sweat-pants and bandana sporting members of the funk band were in sharp contrast with the sparkling ball gowns, tuxedos and sharp military uniforms.

The relationship between the rookie president and the nation’s military community began poorly and has gone downhill ever since. While still a candidate for the presidency, Obama cancelled plans to visit soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan at a U.S. military hospital in Germany last July, opting for a workout at a gym instead.

As president-elect on his Hawaii Christmas vacation, Obama made a brief stop at the Kaneche Bay U.S. Marine base, but The One chose to dine at his beach house that night rather than bother to stay at the base long enough to share a meal with the Leathernecks. His reception there was not the stuff of which the fondest scrapbook memories are made.

Just yesterday, the inexperienced president outraged 9/11 families and former military commanders who lost loved ones and brothers in arms to terrorists with his executive draft order to close the detention facility at Guantanimo Bay and halt war crimes trials in progress.

Granted, if you want to be a hit with the troops, a former F-102 driver like George W. Bush is a tough act to follow into the White House. But those who never served in the military have to earn the respect of those who have done so, and such respect is not won by simply paying lip service to those who have worn the uniform.

- JP

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