Monday, December 12, 2005

Dead Soldiers Coming Home as Freight

The next time President Bush speaks before one of his hand-picked, military audiences, I have a suggested question for any military man or woman picked to participate in a little Q and A with the president:

"Sir, if I should be killed in Iraq, will my body be returned next-day or 3-day UPS air freight?"

Some grieving families of Marines killed in Iraq are finding that to be reality, versus the sick joke it should be and yet another reflection of the bogus nature of the Bush administration's respect and admiration for our people in uniform.

A San Diego television station is reporting that the bodies of fallen Marines are being sent home on commercial airliners as air freight and not receiving the full honors required by both tradition and common decency. Military dead are supposed to be escorted home in military aircraft, treated with tremendous care and greeted by a full color guard.

Instead, Marine families are reporting that many bodies are coming back as freight and riding in the same manner as passenger baggage and other air cargo.

The parents of Matthew Holley, who was killed in Iraq in November, were shocked when they received word that their son's body would arrive in San Diego as freight on a commercial airliner.

"When someone dies in combat, they need to give them due respect they deserve for (the) sacrifice they made," said John Holley.

After some intervention by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) – following calls by the Holleys, who are both ex-military and recognized the hideous impropriety of the situation – Matthew Holley's remains were met with full military honors. But that may not happen for all families who, in addition to losing a loved one in Bush's Iraq quagmire, now have to face this ultimate scenario of insult-to-injury.

Just when you think Team Bush can't get any worse, they find a way to lower the bar yet again.