Saturday, August 09, 2008

Why Our National Leaders Must Know Our Military

OK, so this is a bit late, but still relevant.

U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney [D-FL] - yes, a Democratic Congressman - sent out a mailing in late June, "Honoring Those Who Defend Our Freedom."

Unfortunately, however, one of the illustrations (above) showed a veteran, yes, from the Soviet Union. [Seriously.]

Blogger and Combat Journalist Jeff Emanuel said it best:
Freshman "Blue Dog" Democrat Congressman Tim Mahoney, FL-16, loves the troops so much that neither he nor his staff could tell the difference between an American veteran and a former soldier in Iron Joe Stalin's Red Army.
Jeff Emanuel continues:
Asked about the photo by Cox Newspapers-Washington, Mahoney spokeswoman Leslie Pollner-Levey said, “We’d like more time to respond. We’re looking into it.”

That tone changed quickly. When the staff realized the magnitude of their error, Charles Halloran, Mahoney's chief of staff, had this to say: “This was an honest staff error. We deeply apologize to those who were offended and we will take steps to ensure that this mistake doesn’t happen in the future.”

Kudos to them for being willing to "take steps to ensure that this mistake doesn’t happen in the future." After all, getting it right the first time -- which could have been ensured had one single U.S. military veteran been shown the mailpiece supposedly "honoring" veterans before it was sent out.

Sometimes it takes a massive screw-up to teach folks to kick the laziness habit and reinforce attention to detail, I suppose. [Emphasis in bold added.]
OYE Comment:

Frankly, even a staff member who personally knew someone currently serving in our military would probably have noticed something unusual about the photo, such as the shape of the ribbons, enough to prompt further review.

At least, we hope so.

We are frankly appalled by this entire episode. To Rep. Mahoney's credit, his Chief of Staff promptly, and "deeply," apologized. As long as they don't screw up again, we urge all Americans to accept their apology.


At 10 August, 2008 01:21, Blogger Icarus said...

A Congressman and his staff are supposed to be true professionals. This error is frankly inexcusable. There's a thing called Vetting. They should have done it.

At 10 August, 2008 20:55, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had the congressman or any of his staff served they would have not made such a mistake.

At 10 August, 2008 22:42, Blogger Wek said...

Jeebus, one of the guy's awards has the ole Soviet sickle and hammer on it. I guess that isn't enough of a clue to some folks.

At 11 August, 2008 16:28, Blogger Doppelganger said...

Yes, big mistake.

And yes, people in government are supposed to be professionals. Like the Middle East experts in the White House, or maybe the Attorney General's office.


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