Father of fallen Marine outraged over condolence ‘form letter’ from president
posted at 11:56 am on October 10, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
The choice on Nov. 6 is simple. On the one hand you have Mitt Romney, a greedy, money-hungry capitalist who doesn’t care about the middle class and wants to eliminate Big Bird. On the other you have President Barack Obama, who so identifies with the common man and feels his pain that he believes empathy should be a factor in matters of jurisprudence.
Well, that’s what he says anyway. His compassion was in short supply when he sent out a letter of condolence to Houston resident Tom Logan, whose son, USMC Cpl. Joseph D. Logan, was killed Jan. 19, 2012 in a helicopter crash. The elder Logan insists that the letter, which arrived by UPS truck four months after Cpl. Logan’s death, “opened up a wound in our heart you can’t fix. You can’t send another letter. You can’t make it right.”
Apart from the lateness of its arrival, the letter struck Logan as impersonal, a sense that was confirmed when he shared it with station KPRC in Houston. Reporters there compared the letter with two others Obama had sent to families of soldiers killed in action. Except for the name, rank, and service branch, the letters were identical: All were typed, short (about a third of a page), and impersonal. The letters, both dated May 9, can be viewed here and here.
Although there is no standard protocol regarding presidential condolence letters, one might expect a man who places so much importance on compassion to reach out in a more heartfelt way to families who suffered so grievous a loss. His much-maligned predecessor, George W. Bush, did. He sent personal letters of sympathy, some of them handwritten, to each of the 4,000 troops who died in Iraq and Afghanistan during his two terms in office. He also met personally with 500 grieving families. But the true test of his commitment to being what he called “comforter in chief” was a clandestine operation he and Dick Cheney set up inside the White House to provide aid and comfort to families of slain servicemen. These activities, moreover, were kept off the public calendar and often done behind the backs of the media.
But Obama’s biggest failing as “comforter in chief” was his decision to send a form letter to the families of fallen SEAL Team 6 members following an especially deadly mission in Afghanistan in August of 2011. The 30 troops who died in that conflict deserved better, and so did their families.
In fairness, Obama has sent at least one personal condolence letter since taking the oath of office. It was to the family of rapper Heavy D, who died at 44 this past August. Part of the letter, which Al Sharpton read at the funeral reads”
We extend our heartfelt condolences at this difficult time. He will be remembered for his infectious optimism and many contributions to American music. Please know that you and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers.
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