[And with an update appended.]
We all have our pet peeves. Last evening Moe addressed one of his, the rampant misogyny of the online left which refuses to treat women with whom it disagrees as actual humans.
I have a different one. As a veteran there are few things I find more disgusting than people using their status as a veteran to not inform their position on a subject but rather as a shield from criticism and a cudgel with which to beat others. The Iraq war and the war in Afghanistan has produced a bumper crop of these twits, (mostly leftists surprise, surprise) who presume that military service gives them some special authority in society.
This is especially true when they are idiots.
Take for instance the recent example of a clown named Eric Robinson, currently a first year grad student in international relations at, naturally, Yale. (h/t to Legal Insurrection at HotAir).
Robinson took to the pages of the Yale Daily News to bash Sarah Palin:
I hadn’t noticed it until I watched MSNBC’s “Hardball” on Tuesday, but it is a memorial bracelet; something familiar to veterans who have lost friends and family in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I wear one commemorating a friend of mine who died in Baghdad in October of 2006, and I know many other veterans — and some still in the armed forces — who wear these bracelets as a reminder of the sacrifices their friends made on behalf of the units in which they served and the country they swore to protect.
This brings me back to my issue with Palin. The name on her black memorial bracelet — one, like the gold star, a demonstration of a friend or associate who was killed in action — is that of her oldest son, Track. Track served honorably in Iraq, and both he and his parents should be thanked for his selfless service to his country. He is also alive.
Commemorating Track’s service by wearing a a black memorial bracelet which is reserved for those dead or even a red bracelet for those missing in action, demonstrates a horrifying contempt for those who gave their last full measure of devotion or an almost unbelievable ignorance of the importance of symbols in American history.
Unfortunately, given Palin’s reputation and frequent public statements, I assume it is the latter.
Sarah Palin, please take off the bracelet. Be thankful you have no reason to wear it.
The problem is that the bracelet worn by Governor Palin is commercially produced by The Trophy House and it is bronze, not black.
Given the gap in life achievements between Robinson and Governor Palin one would have thought that he would at least have taken the time to get his facts straight before launching into a cheap, juvenile ad hominem attack on the Governor. But Robinson, his ego inflated to Godzilla-like proportions by his status as a grad student at Yale and his service as a civil affairs staff officer in Afghanistan, can't be bothered with facts.
A word for Eric Robinson. You were a volunteer when you served in the Armed Forces. That's on you. The fact that you're one of 28 million veterans now alive in the United States doesn't make you smart, it doesn't make you important, and it gives you no special insights into anything other than your own experiences. It certainly doesn't give you a license to criticize anyone else on any subject based on that experience. The fact that you wear a bracelet doesn't mean that such a bracelet is a military tradition or meaningful to anyone but you. It doesn't. And your attempt to conflate this bracelet with a real tradition, the Blue Star and Gold Star, is simply dishonest.
In the future when you have the urge to use your veteran status to belabor someone else, check your facts first. You'll be a douche a lot less frequently.
Robinson has updated his attack (below) on Governor Palin so it is only fitting that I do the same.
Author's Note: In my column in the News Wednesday, I criticized former Alaska governor Sarah Palin for wearing a black memorial bracelet with her son’s name on it, as Track returned unharmed from Iraq last fall. However, Sarah Palin's bracelet was not black; instead, it was a dark brown "DeployedHero" bracelet worn by those who have loved ones currently serving in the military. The bracelet is different from the black one associated with men and women who are killed in action overseas. Recognizing this, I apologize to the governor and to any reader who might have been misled by my piece. I hope that this serves as an important lesson for anyone interested in the importance of these symbols.
Robinson is obviously on his way to blogging for FDL or MMfA and a successful career in Democrat politics. The guy makes an egregious series of attacks on Governor Palin and his "correction" is that he's sorry that any of us might have been misled. He's not sorry for getting his facts wrong. He's not sorry for casting aspersions on Governor Palin's character or intelligence. He's not sorry for misusing his five whole years in uniform to spread a calumny about a politician whom he doesn't like. But he does want to remind us of "the importance of these symbols."
Way to go, Eric. Make your mother proud.