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"Era of civility off to rude start"
By Jim Terp


December 02, 2006

To Whom It May Concern,

I found Dan Thomasson's column "Era of civility off to a rude start" to be in and off itself highly inappropriate.

A few points.

First, Senator Elect Jim Webb is a highly decorated Marine and veteran of the Vietnam war. For his service he received the military's second highest honor, the Navy Cross. Senator Elect Webb has been a vocal critic of this war dating back to a period before the Iraq invasion (including having written a prescient op-ed piece in the Sept. 4, 2002 edition of the Washington Post). This is a man who has put his life on the line for what he believes and for his country. His son, Lance Corporal Jimmy Webb has been in the middle of a war zone for the past couple months. During the recent election campaign, Senator Elect Webb refrained from talking about his son while on the campaign trail, because he did not feel it was appropriate. He has stated that his experience is no different than that of any other parent with a child in a combat zone. He has declined to discuss this matter with Tim Russert on Meet the Press as recently

Second, while the Senator Elect did refuse to stand in a reception line with the president, and declined the opportunity to have his photograph taken with the president; he did respond respectfully to the president's questions after the president had sought him out. A full copy of the exchange as reported in the Washington Post and other newspapers is as follows:
"How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"

"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.

The President's comment "That's not what I asked" is what provoked the Senator Elect. Keep in mind, the Senator Elect has a son in a war zone. Either the president is clueless about what war zones are like, or he is trying to tweak a parent of a soldier for reasons that only people inside Washington, DC can understand. Neither explanation, in my view, is appropriate coming from a commander-in-chief. I believe the Senator Elect showed tremendous restraint in simply ending the conversation and walking away.


Jim Terp
Arlington, VA

Received December 01, 2006 - Published December 02, 2006

Related Column:

Dan K. Thomasson: Era of civility off to rude start - In the spirit of cooperation pledged by both sides to tackle Iraq and other major problems, the newly elected senator from Virginia already has "dissed" the president of the United States in the White House and made it clear he will be his own man no matter what his Democratic colleagues want. - More...
Thursday PM - November 30, 2006



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