Okay, this is complicated.
On August 14, Major General Harold Greene was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. He was the first U.S. general to die in combat in decades. President Obama did not attend his funeral.
On August 15, William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection published a post titled "Guess Who Was Missing at Funeral of Highest Ranking Officer Killed in Combat Since Vietnam War." In this post, Jacobson quoted a tweet from a man named Matt Drachenberg:
This was followed by a tweet from Colonel Morris Davis, an Air Force veteran and former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo. He wrote:
(Major General John Dillard was General Greene's most recent predecessor; he died in a helicopter crash in Vietnam in 1970. The second officer mentioned in Davis's tweet is Lieutenant General Timothy Maude, who was killed at the Pentagon on 9/11.)
Byron York, on Twitter, linked to the Legal Insurrection post, paraphrased the Davis tweet, and, for good measure noted that Obama was playing golf during General Greene's funeral.
As York now acknowledges, most of what was alleged in the tweets and the Legal Insurrection post was a crock:
It turns out Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel did, in fact, attend the Greene funeral, a fact I should have known.... If I had looked into it just a bit more, I would have seen, for example, a Stars & Stripes article that specifically mentioned Hagel's presence....The weirdest aspect of this is that Colonel Davis didn't post that tweet because he's a wingnut -- he posted it because he doesn't like wingnuts. He's left-wing. (Here he is agreeing with a Cornel West attack on President Obama from the left.) He apparently had the cockamamie notion that fooling right-wingers with this tweet would make a point about their ignorance. As he told York when asked about it:
Curious about what Davis had said, I looked for any sign that Nixon had attended the Dillard funeral. I went to the Nixon Library website, which has posted the minute-by-minute White House logs of Nixon's activities. They're very detailed; if Nixon had gone to the general's funeral, it would have been listed. I looked through the month after Dillard's death and found no evidence Nixon had attended. Likewise, it turned out Bush did not attend the Maude funeral....
Just to summarize the facts in this convoluted affair: Hagel did attend the Greene funeral. Obama and Biden did not. Nixon did not attend the Dillard funeral, and Bush did not attend the Maude funeral. There is no "tradition" of presidential attendance at generals' funerals that Obama "bucked."
... 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.Genius plan, Colonel -- because now this bit of disinformation will live indefinitely. York's piece debunking all this misinformation appeared six days ago. The Legal Insurrection post was updated with an acknowledgment of what York wrote. But just today, this appeared at Townhall:
The Obama administration announced this weekend that it will be sending not one, but three, officials to attend the funeral of Michael Brown on Monday.The last link in the quote above is to a post at the right-wing BizPac Review, which quotes -- you guessed it -- the tweets from Matt Drachenberg and Colonel Morris Davis, and asserts flatly that Secretary Hagel also did not attend General Greene's funeral. The BizPac Review post has not been updated.
President Barack Obama is sending three White House officials to the funeral service of the Missouri teenager whose death in a police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, has sparked days of racial unrest.The decision would be highly questionable as is, but when compared to the White House's presence at, say, the funerals of Maj. Gen. Harold Greene or British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, it's deplorable.
Leading the group for Monday's service will be the chairman of the My Brother's Keeper Task Force, Broderick Johnson. My Brother's Keeper is an Obama initiative that aims to empower young minorities. Johnson is also the secretary for the Cabinet.
Also attending will be the deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, Marlon Marshall, and an adviser for the office, Heather Foster.
The White House has been selective in sending representatives to funerals -- recall that only a low-level delegation was sent to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's service last year. More recently,President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden skipped the funeral ofMajor General Harold Greene, the 2-star general killed in Afghanistan on Aug. 5.
So right-wingers continue to be told that Secretary of Defense Hagel did not attend General Greene's funeral (he did) and that presidents routinely attend the funerals of generals who are killed (they don't) -- because no damaging assertion ever completely dies on the right. And hey, Colonel Davis, thanks for giving the wingers more propaganda to catapult.
And with regard to the Brown funeral: I'd say the delegation Obama is sending is the definition of "low-level" -- no president, vice president, neither of their wives, no Cabinet members. The supposedly "low-level" delegation to the Thatcher funeral included two former secretaries of state and two top diplomats.