I once had a friend who was a Navy corpsman. That’s what the Navy calls their medics. When America invaded Iraq, he was assigned to a Marine Unit, because for some reason, Marines don’t train their own medics. His name is Mike, but the Marines all called him “Doc”, which I am told is a sign of of respect and acceptance by the unit. The Marines considered him one of them, and from his emails, I always thought he liked the guys he served with.
When his year in Iraq was finished and he was back stateside, Mike was given some choices as to what his next assignment would be, and during a discussion of the pros and cons of each possibility, he made what I thought at the time was an odd statement. He said, he didn’t care where he went, as long as he didn’t have to serve with the Marines for another tour. He said, “Those motherf…ers are crazier than batshit.” Then he told me this story:
The unit Mike was with lost a man to an IED – an improvised explosive device – buried along the roadside. The Marines were understandably angry, and they wanted revenge, so they roused the people who lived in the nearby houses, and learned from them that the elderly woman who lived in the house closest to the blast had a grown son. The woman swore her son hadn’t lived there in twenty years, but he suddenly became their prime suspect and they were determined to find him.
But the old woman wouldn’t give up her son. She continued to insist it could not have been him, and eventually the Marines grew tired of her refusal, and brought in a heavy vehicle that in my head looks like a bulldozer, but in real life probably didn’t. They told the woman, through an interpreter, that if she didn’t tell them where to find her son, they would tear down her house. Mike said he thought it was just a threat made to loosen her tongue, not something they would ever really do.
The woman cried. She begged. Mike said at one point she got down on her knees in front of the Marines and pleaded, pressing her face to the hand of the lieutenant in charge. But she wouldn’t tell them where to find her son, so they did what they threatened. They tore her house down.
But that wasn’t the worst of it.
The Marines took the rest of the villagers to an olive grove, where Mike said there were trees 100 years old. They brought in the heavy vehicle and told the Iraqis if they didn’t tell them who planted the IED that they would tear down the orchard. The villagers begged, just as the old woman had, on their knees. But they didn’t give up a name, so Marines tore down the trees. Mike said while they did it, they blasted Grateful Dead music so they didn’t have to hear the prayers of the villagers.
There are very few people who can hear a story like that and think, on that particular day, the Marines were the good guys, but Elisabeth Hasselbeck would be one of them. Seven years ago, she attacked Rosie O’Donnell for trying to point out there are times the men and women we send to war do not act in an honorable way. Elisabeth turned Rosie’s remark about how our soldiers act like terrorists, into the accusation that Rose O’Donnell thinks all American soldiers are terrorists.
We all know how that dust-up ended. Rosie left The View, and Elisabeth declared victory. Weeks of rehashing the “cat fight” followed, but there was never a serious discussion about the substance of the argument: the conduct of our soldiers. To Elisabeth, if Americans did it, it must be ok. She says things like: “Terrible things happen in war”, but never admits “our soldiers do terrible things in war, and she is ready to declare jihad on anyone, like Rosie, who offers any critique on the conduct of our armed forces. I wish I could ask Elisabeth how she would characterize the Marines who left the old woman sitting in the rubble of all her worldly possessions. On that day, in that moment, didn’t those Marines behave like terrorists against helpless civilians?
This week, The View announced Rosie O’Donnell will be rejoining the program in the fall. To say Elisabeth reacted badly, would be an understatement. It’s been seven years; she has a new job hosting Fox and Friends, yet the news of Rosie’s return stung so badly she called into her show while on vacation just to trash Rosie, and immediately began her old line of attack saying:
“I know Rosie very well. We worked quite closely. Talk about not securing the border. Here in comes to ‘The View’ the very woman who spit in the face of our military…”
But Elisabeth has a problem with her “Rosie hates our soldiers” accusation this time around. Rosie’s oldest son, Parker, is attending The Citadel. And the View-mates Elisabeth appeared with have refused to offer her any support. Joy Behar called her attack “below the belt” “nasty” and “hate-filled” on CNN. Whoopi Goldberg, who Elisabeth predicted would be fighting with Rosie for the soul of The View, took time in a Hot Topics segment to address the nastiness, putting her hands in the air like claws and saying “I’m not this way.” Whoopi didn’t mention Elisabeth by name, but her reference was clear. Whoopi said she’s not a fighter, she a debater, and whoever ends up around the View table will discuss things like “grown-ass women.”
Rosie is returning in September, and there is nothing Elisabeth can do about it but meow. Rosie and Whoopi will be discussing Hot Topics like “grown-ass women” without Elisabeth. I’d like to suggest that one of those topics be the link between the “terroristic” things our troops did in Iraq and Afghanistan and the huge number of veteran suicides. For all Elisabeth’s good intentions, her head-in-the-sand attitude offers no help to them; it adds to their burden of guilt.
So welcome back Rosie! Perhaps the View crew can leave out a saucer of milk for Elisabeth Hasselbeck.