Trump put the Purple Heart in his pocket

My friend Tasneem Khalil asked some probing questions about the whole “soldier killed in battle” thing yesterday.

Worshipping the dead soldier is one of the highest rituals of a national security state. Like many other places, we actually have special monuments for this in Bangladesh and India. It is then not surprising to see that even a petulant scumbag like Donald Trump can not get away after insulting two Gold Star parents whose son died in Iraq. This is the same guy, mind you, who got the GOP nomination after calling Mexicans rapists and advocating a blanket ban against Muslims.

Captain Khan was undoubtedly a brave man but was he a hero? A hero for whom? Would any of my Iraqi friends consider him a hero — the fallen soldier of an invading army that waged an illegal war and devastated their country? Which little big book an Iraqi father would pull out of his breast pocket when he gives a speech about his child’s deformed body, thanks to depleted uranium dropped as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom? Are we all free and safe now, because of the sacrifice by young men and women like Captain Khan?

If you are a US citizen, please try to ask yourself these questions. I, herewith, propose a possible answer. If you really are grateful to soldiers like Captain Khan, the best tribute you can pay to their memories is by ensuring that your rulers do not send your children to die in illegal wars in the future.

PS. Those who know me well know that I do not share the lazy anti-Americanism of the Chomsky-quoting, Assange-worshipping left. I, also, do not belong to the flag-waving, soldier-worshipping right.

I think he’s right. I had and have some qualms about the dead soldier worship in connection with the Iraq war. At the same time…I do see the merit of demonstrating that American Muslims are woven into the fabric of the country just like any other citizens, and dying in battle is the ultimate way of demonstrating that. Given a blatantly xenophobic candidate like Trump who talks of banning all Muslims from entry, I can see why that ultimate demonstration was felt necessary.

So, having said that – I give you Khizr Khan on Anderson Cooper’s show:

Khizr Khan on Tuesday accused Donald Trump of dodging the Vietnam War draft, and said he shouldn’t have accepted a Purple Heart given to him at a rally earlier in the day, deeming it the latest sign of his inability to empathize with parents of fallen soldiers.

“You dodged the draft,” Khan, a Muslim whose son was slain in the Iraq War, said of Trump to CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “Put that Purple Heart back on that person’s chest.”

A military veteran supporting Trump had gifted the Republican presidential nominee his Purple Heart, prompting Trump to say he “always wanted to get the Purple Heart” and this was “much easier” than serving in combat.

He did; he said that. He said it cheerfully and flippantly.

“You had the time. You did not serve,” Khan told Cooper. “You should have pinned that back to that veteran’s chest and should have hugged him and thanked him.”

I recommend watching the video clip. Khan gets very heated, then apologizes for getting heated, then gets heated again. I know the feeling. It’s hard not to get in a rage when talking about Trump. Khan is disgusted by Trump’s flippancy and lack of empathy.

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