This is how screwed up we are as a country. Last week everyone should have been talking about Sgt. La David Johnson, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright. Instead, all of the talk was about President Trump, Chief of Staff John Kelly, and Congresswoman Fredrica Wilson, and what they were saying. For the record, all of what they said would only be useful if you use it to fertilize your garden next spring.
The four soldiers I mentioned above were killed in an ambush in Niger, Africa, on Oct. 4. The President didn't get around to mentioning them until Oct. 16, and then, only in replying to a reporter's question. So much for his "outrage" over NFL players disrespecting the troops.
As much as I dislike the President, both as a person and as President, I am willing to cut him some slack on the phone call he made to the widow of Sgt. LaDavid. I don't think he was trying to be flippant or disrespectful, he was just trying to use the talking points that John Kelly gave him, and he did it badly.
To be fair, a lot of us might say the wrong thing when talking to a grieving widow, but it is probably a lot harder for Trump. In his mind, the world is made up of winners and losers. He, of course, sees himself as a winner and has no use or sympathy for losers. And we all know that Trump considers soldiers who get killed or captured as losers. He told us so during the campaign when he said that John McCain was not a hero because he had been captured.
While everyone was debating Trump's phone manners, we were further distracted by the "he said, she said" between Chief of Staff Kelly and Congresswoman Wilson. Kelly accused Wilson of taking credit for getting the funding for a new FBI building in Miami. A video proved that Wilson was only taking credit for getting the building named for two FBI agents killed in the line of duty. Wilson then tried to claim that Kelly used a racist term when he referred to her as an empty barrel. A report by CNN, and cited by Fox News, showed that there was no proof of any racial connotation to the phrase "empty barrel."
While all of this back and forth between politicians and talking heads made for entertaining television, no one was offering up answers to two questions I had. For one, why do we have a military presence in Niger? The other was, why don't those troops have the equipment that they need?
The four soldiers killed in that ambush were riding in a vehicle that wasn't armored. If it had been, the results might have been different. We already knew that soldiers were killed or maimed at the start of this war because the company supplying vehicles to the military wouldn't stop making more profitable trucks for civilians to make enough armored ones for the troops. That was in 2003. It shouldn't still be happening in 2017.
During World War II, everything at home was rationed. We wanted to be sure that the soldiers had everything they needed before the public did. Car and plane companies didn't produce new models in the war years. They only built what the military needed. We did it because we knew it was what we had to do to win the war. We should be doing no less for the men and women fighting ISIS and religious radicals around the world.
For weeks, a debate has been raging about whether or not football players should protest during the national anthem because some see that as disrespecting the troops. Why don't we see some of that outrage aimed at companies that are putting profits before the troops? You may not like what those players are doing, but at least their actions won't get any soldiers killed.