Take a knee.
On Memorial Day Weekend, as President Trump and Congressman Pete King made idiots of themselves over protesting NFL players, they should have been taking a knee to apologize for the endless war in Iraq.
I took a quiet moment to reflect on the family of Staff Sgt. Dashan Briggs, 30, an HH-60G special missions aviation flight engineer of the 106th Rescue Wing who was home based since 2010 at F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach.
Briggs was a full-time husband, father, and military member. He previously deployed to Afghanistan as a munitions system specialist with the 106th Maintenance Group, and to Texas and the Caribbean for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma as a member of the 101st.
On March 15, Sgt. Dashan Briggs, the man of the Briggs house on King St. in Port Jefferson Station, was killed with six other soldiers — three from Long Island — in a helicopter crash in Iraq.
That crash, in western Iraq near a town called Al Qa’im, killed Sgt. Briggs and Capt. Andreas O’Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches, Master Sgt. Christopher Raguso, 39, of Commack, and Capt. Christopher Zanetis, 37, of Long Island City in a war that was started by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, who never served a day of military combat.
This war in Iraq continues today under President Trump, who couldn’t fight a cold without a bodyguard. When he was of military draft age in the late-1960s, Trump supported the war in Vietnam.
But, see, Donald Trump was different than other kids from Queens who got drafted and were sent to Vietnam. Donald Trump was a rich kid from ritzy Jamaica Estates, so his wealthy daddy found a doctor to diagnose his little boy with heel spurs.
Trump became a draft dodger and those heel spurs kept him off the battlefield. But funny how they never seem to interfere with the over 100 days of golf Trump put in since taking office, even though in a campaign speech in August 2016 he promised, “I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to go play golf.”
Those heel spurs also never stop Trump from telling us how tough and patriotic he is. So, leading up to Memorial Day, Trump and Long Island Congressman Pete King were busy telling us how disrespectful NFL players who take a knee were to our troops. Tough-guy Trump said of the protesting players, “Maybe they should leave the country.”
But when it came to showing us how tough he was when kids his age were leaving the country to fight the war in Vietnam, Donald Trump took a rich kid deferment.
Trump took a knee.
Then, in a 1993 radio interview with Howard Stern, Trump talked about how brave he was bedding women during the AIDS epidemic: “You know, if you’re young, and in this era, and if you have any guilt about not having gone to Vietnam, we have our own Vietnam — it’s called the dating game. Dating is like being in Vietnam. You’re the equivalent of a soldier going over to Vietnam.”
Tell that to the families of the 55,000 kids Trump’s age that came home from Vietnam in flag draped coffins.
In 1997, Howard Stern again asked him how he dealt with having lots of sex with lots of women without contracting STDs and AIDS. Trump answered, “It’s amazing, I can’t even believe it. I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world; it is a dangerous world out there. It’s like Vietnam, sort of. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave solider.”
This is now our Commander in Chief.
The same CIC Trump who finds no problem with bashing the Muslim Gold Star parents of US Army Capt. Humayan Khan, who died in Iraq saving fellow soldiers. The same Trump who told the wife of US Army Sgt. LaDavid Johnson, who died in an ambush in a secret operation in Niger, that her husband “knew what he was getting into.”
He wasn’t getting into a pair of golf shoes, Donald.
Sgt. Johnson died with his combat boots on. Which no Trump has ever worn, especially his loudmouth sons who love to pose for photos over slaughtered jungle animals killed with high tech rifles, but who couldn’t fistfight their way out of a convent.
When Trump was busy bashing NFL players for disrespecting our troops by taking a knee, I was reminded that, in 2016, Donnie the Draft Dodger said of John McCain, who was tortured for five years in the Hanoi Hilton as a POW, “He’s not a hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured, okay?”
This from a guy who never served anyone but himself.
Then we have Congressman Pete King who, in 2016, commented on Trump to Newsday: “He is not fit to be president —morally or intellectually.”
Today, like the rest of the Republican Congress, King takes a knee daily to kiss the ring of Don Trump and has even adopted Trump’s same reckless tweeting that he once criticized: “Disgraceful that @nyjets owner will pay fines for players who kneel for National Anthem. Encouraging a movement premised on lies vs. police. Would he support all player protests? Would he pay fines of players giving Nazi salutes or spew racism? It’s time to say goodbye to Jets!”
Um, Pete, it was your new best friend forever Trump who said of the Nazi march in Charlottesville: “There were very good people on both sides.”
Ya know, alternative Nazis.
Pete King is a good guy who was once the loudest voice in Congress calling for civil rights for the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland, crossing the aisle to help President Bill Clinton to broker the peace in Ulster.
So, one wonders if King would have objected to Irish Catholic soccer players taking a knee in a Belfast stadium when they played “God Save the Queen” to protest the brutality of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and British military in their minority community.
Remember, too, that Pete King took the king’s shilling when Bush and Dick Cheney lied us into the war in Iraq with bogus claims of weapons of mass destruction.
Fifteen years after the invasion of Iraq, Bush, Cheney, Trump, and King, who never saw a day of combat among them, should all take a knee to apologize to the American people for this never-ending war in Iraq that this year claimed Sgt. Briggs, Capt. O’Keefe, Master Sgt. Raguso, and Capt. Zanetis of Long Island.