29 August 2014

General’s Death Exploited by People with OIP Derangement Syndrome

On 14 August, Maj. Gen. Harold Greene was interred at Arlington National Cemetery, nine days after he had been shot and killed by an Afghan soldier. A military engineer who had never been deployed to a combat zone before, Greene was the highest-ranking US military officer killed by enemy action since the 2001 attack on the Pentagon, the highest-ranking US general killed since the Vietnam War.

Even before that funeral, right-wing critics of President Barack Obama started to complain that he’d show his disrespect for the military by not attending. Morris Davis, a retired US Air Force colonel now teaching at Howard University, saw a need to respond. As he explained to a contributor to the online Washington Examiner:
A couple of days ago I saw several people observe that President Obama was somewhere between disrespectful and treasonous for not attending the funeral of Major General Greene, which triggered the usual flood of anti-Obama hate that is prolific in some right-wing circles.

I knew from my 25 years of military service that it wasn’t common for Presidents to attend military funerals and I figured this fell into the same category as Obama is a communist because he was seen without an American flag pin on his jacket lapel or Obama hates the military because he didn’t go to Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day; in other words, I knew he was getting bashed again for doing exactly the same thing most of his Republican predecessors had done in similar circumstances.

To note the hypocrisy of the Obama-haters, I used sarcasm and tweeted that he had broken with the tradition Presidents Nixon and Bush 43 set when they attended the funerals of the last General killed in the Vietnam War and the highest ranking officer killed in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon, which, of course, neither of them had done.

And in the right-wing’s bash-Obama glee, my tweet has been retweeted a couple of hundred times without anyone taking two minutes to Google to see if it’s true. It’s similar to a Chinese news agency reprinting that Kim Jong-un had been named the sexiest man alive without checking and finding that The Onion is a satirical site. It’s also a sad commentary on how gullible people can be and how willing they are to latch onto “news” that supports the narrative they want.
In sum, Col. Davis laid a trap for people with OIP Derangement Syndrome.

Davis sent that clear explanation to one of the “journalists” who had based a dispatch on his tweet without confirming that they had interpreted it correctly. The contributor issued a retraction, albeit one that blamed the colonel instead of his own lack of fact-checking.

Of course, that correction and the precedents set by previous Presidents haven’t stopped complaints from right-wing media. After all, as Col. Davis noted, OIP Derangement Syndrome is based on double standards.

People with visceral dislike of President Obama are also complaining:
  • That the Secretary of Defense didn’t attend the funeral, either. I got to see that in my Facebook feed. Yet standard, easily found news sources, including the New York Times, National Public Radio, and Stars and Stripes, reported that Chuck Hagel and other Defense Department officials had been at the event. Hagel appears above in a photograph from the army’s homepage.
  • That the White House sent a more respectful delegation to the funeral of Michael Brown, the unarmed eighteen-year-old shot with his hands in the air outside St. Louis. In fact, the federal delegation to that event consisted of an “Assistant to the President and White House Cabinet Secretary,” a “Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement,” and “an advisor to the public engagement office.” In Washington protocol, none of those officials come close to Hagel, a Cabinet secretary.
  • That President Obama “hasn’t even ordered flags to be flown at half-staff, like he did for the death…of singer Whitney Houston.“ In fact, Gov. Chris Christie ordered flags to half-staff in New Jersey, Houston’s native state; the President took no such action.
Snopes called that last lie “a long-running piece of political misinformation.” In other words, it’s one of the ways people with OIP Derangement Syndrome try to justify their deep-seated prejudices.

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