Friday, November 20, 2009

E-mails I Receive

My right-wing nutjob Army Ranger brother has declined to remove me from this right-wing nutjob e-mail blast list, so if there's a hot right-wing meme being flung through the interwebz, it'll land in my inbox eventually. Yesterday I got this one; have you seen it?

Picture from Wednesday's Veterans Day Ceremony...

Check out this latest picture from WEDNESDAY, Veterans Day 11/11/09 at the Ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery. I don't know whether the National Anthem is being played, or the Flag is going by, or WHAT, but EVERYBODY in the picture is either saluting or has his hand over the HEART.

All except ONE. Guess who??? And some people actually call him our President!!!???

I do not make this stuff up!

You would think he could, at least, fake it.

Really, I don't blame my brother. Why not just mindlessly click on "forward" when it would take an entire thirty seconds online and possibly THREE clicks to ascertain that the words accompanying the picture are, shall we say, flat-out wrong? The photo is actually from the Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington, and was snapped not during the anthem, but immediately after Obama walked onto the dais during "Hail to the Chief." Later, when the national anthem was played, Obama indeed placed his hand over his heart, as other photos show.

Simple enough, no? I replied to his e-mail with this information, including links to AND a corroborating piece on Free Republic (shudder), as a public service to the peeps on his list who think Snopes is a liberal conspiracy, as well as links to both the C-SPAN video of the ceremony and a cellphone video posted on YouTube. And this is the reponse I got from one of my brother's buddies:

Just a point of military and civilian ceremonial courtesy; when Hail to the Chief is played military officers do not generally salute forward, they face the direction of advance of the Commander and Chief, and upon facial recognition or 12 paces render a hand salute. ADM Mullen and the Lieutenant Colonel pictured are both facing forward. Also as a point of civilian courtesy the gentlemen to the Presidents left would not have his hand over his heart facing away from the President, he would not have his hand over his heart at all. If he did (which is fine but not proper) he would still turn to face the President as he advances. When Hail to the Chief is played the President continues to move past all other U.S. officials (civilian and military) at least two paces. This signifies that he is the highest ranking U.S. official in attendance, he would not have halted his advance behind the official party and crossed his hands. While I dispute you rendition of the facts I do not contend the President was in anyway being disrespectful, just that the facts do not fit the picture. Even if the cermony was altered and all parties remained facing forward, the President would have continued forward past his subordinates.

Protocol is huge, at least to the military so I highly doubt the scenario you laid out is accurate. Having served in a protocol position in the military and dealt with these types of events I feel qualified to dispute your findings.

I find this response fascinating for its "protocol mandates x; therefore y is impossible" mindset. Despite the "Hail to the Chief" explanation, hell, despite the video showing--complete with sound!--Obama walking onto the stage as HttC plays and the officers salute and the civilian clamps his hand over his heart, and despite the fact the the position of the table and chairs as shown in the photo leaves no space for Obama to have continued to a spot two paces in front of his subordinates (he is standing even with them against the table, not behind them as the e-mailer alleges), the former protocol officer highly doubts the scenario and feels qualified to dispute it. Protocol is huge in the military and mandates one specific procedure for the president to walk onto a stage, so therefore that is the only way he could have walked onto the stage, and I can tell you exactly how the photo would have looked if they'd taken a photo, which they couldn't have since the photo you showed me does not match what I know the photo should look like. I am aware that the speed limit on this road is 65, officer, so it is simply impossible that I was traveling at 85, and I am qualified to dispute your findings.

So of course I wrote him back with specific links to video, telling him that regardless of protocol, the evidence shows that something slightly different happened. His response?

I would guess the report is wrong but I can confirm thru a friend who commands one of the honor guard companies at Arlington. Not to be arrogant but [your brother] will tell you I am rarely wrong.

In other words, who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes? I would dearly love to be so goddamn sure that everything I think--or, I suppose, everything I have been compelled to think by my institutions--is the only possible reality. Curse this career devoted to science for compelling me to draw conclusions from evidence even when they contradict expectations!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

*waves* Hi, you don't know me, I totally stumbled here through the "Abby Wambach has teh GHEY!", and became hooked. (which she totally is, and thats why we love her.) Anywhoo. Reading your brother's email and his buddy's response made me laugh. I could have told him that wasn't Vet's Day. Look at the dude in the whites. He should be wearing dark blue/ black uniform if it's "fall" like Veterans Day. Dumbass. (and I would know, cuz that's my boss. The joys of being a janitor in the "world's finest Navy!" ugh.)
Anywhoo. Awesome journal, and your soccer commentaries make me giggle most unprofessionaly. Please don't stop.