Sunday, August 24, 2014


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....

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."
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:
... 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.
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.

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 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.

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.
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.

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.


mccamj said...

If their lips are moving or their fingers are typing they are lying.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your impeccable research. Perhaps, if you have the time, you could tell me how many government representatives there were at the funeral of Denton James Ward, age 18 in 2012?

Waddya mean - who?!

David Duff

Unknown said...

I suppose it's comforting to know that we aren't the only country with racist trolls.
Welcome, racist Limey David Duff!

Victor said...

And if the President had gone, they'd have said he was grandstanding and politicking.

He can't win.
As I've said before, if Obama walked on water, they'd say that n*gger's just to lazy to swim.

Anonymous said...

But ... but ... Peabody, you didn't actually answer the question!

Palli said...

Colonel Morris Davis, an Air Force veteran and former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo That explains prosecution at Quantamamo it suffered from the Colonel's inattention to detail.
Forgive us all.

Unknown said...

Perhaps, Mr. Duff, the White House doesn't follow racist websites that gin up hatred, the way you do.

Anonymous said...

And which, er, racist website would that be, Peabody, and could you provide an example of me 'ginning up' "hatred"?

In the meantime, how are you doing with my original question, to wit, how many government representatives attended the funeral of Denton James Ward?

Dark Avenger said...

I believe Mr. Duff, R.S.F.S.P.(Royal Society For Stupid People) undoubtedly found his info from a site like this:

After further analysis, it was discovered however that Ward did not die due to the incident, but rather the injuries he sustained from the beating – especially the blows to his neck/chin and the back of his head.

There’s no doubt that this was a blatant act of racism yet race hustlers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson remain silent on the home front – at least pertaining to this. As the two only ever speak out if it financially benefits themselves, a black-on-white racist murder does not suit their agenda.

After all, in an effort to enslave blacks further for personal agenda and in the pursuit of money and greed, Sharpton only spins the tail sympathetic to the “oppressed.” In quite the sickening notion, stories like this would only liberate blacks to see that members of their race are actually the ones guilty of some of the most animalistic hate crimes in the country and in need of change.

The family, as of the end of July, was awarded $27 million in a lawsuit against McDonalds – it should go without saying that they’d much rather have their son than any amount of money.

Glennis said...

So it's just a matter of cunting seats at funerals? Perhaps there might be some other reason to send representatives to funerals?

Unless you think that a funeral of an officer killed in combat, a funeral of a long-retired foreign leader who died of natural causes, and the funeral of someone whose unjust death is an ongoing domestic justice issue are exactly the same.

Mr. Duff, "begging the question" hardly begins to describe the utter and shameless trollery you're attempting. I don't imagine there's any response that would satisfy you as much as the one you've already assumed.

Glennis said...

Pardon my unfortunate typo above. "counting"

Anonymous said...

Auntie, I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked! What would Her Majesty say?

Even so, whilst "begging the question" is not quite correct, you could call it, I suppose, a rhetorical question to which, unsurprisingly, no-one here has had the courage to come out and answer clearly - why am I not surprised?

And I would remind you that the subject of the original post was who did and did not attend various funerals, so my question was not "trollery" (whatever that is) but germane.

(Now, I must check my spelling!)

Glennis said...

Right, because all funerals are exactly the same, so it's just a matter of keeping score.

Joseph Nobles said...

And just tonight, I hear Obama didn't send anyone to James Foley's memorial service! Please don't make us put -gate on the end of the word funeral.

Babur Shehzad said...

May be he had other important things to do but attending the funeral program of a Major General who spent his life for the country cannot be ignored. At-least there must be somebody to represent Mr. President if he was not able to attend the memorial service.