Down with the General!

Down with the General!

Order #1, that is. Best of the Web reports:

Our item yesterday on a homeless-vets story brought numerous responses along the lines of this one, from a reader who asks not to be identified:
I love the column, and I agree about the tiresome "homeless vet" stereotype. I must disagree, however, with your conclusion that the soldier who received vodka disguised as Scope must have had other problems to begin with.

A college friend of mine is an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. His latest tour in Iraq was a staff position, meaning long days in a command office. When a group of us got together to send him care packages, he enjoyed the movies and candy bars, and loved the cigars. But he particularly appreciated the Maker's Mark and the port we sent. He and some fellow Marine officers spent last New Year's Eve smoking a cigar and sipping a cocktail from the roof of their building as Marine 155's fired artillery over their heads at insurgent positions in Fallujah. It must have been some spectacle, and I am happy for the small role we played in giving them a moment to relax.

The reason it worked out is that we disguised the spirits, much as Mike Lally's mother did. In order not to "offend our Arab hosts," alcoholic beverages are not allowed. As we were transferring the spirits into plastic bottles (port looks a lot like Ocean Spray Cranberry, while whiskey looks passably like Cran-Apple), my wife and I felt a bit silly, but we agreed that is was preposterous that a 37-year-old officer, a helicopter pilot entrusted with great responsibility, a husband and father of three with a B.S. and an M.B.A., fighting for freedom in a foreign country, couldn't have a glass of wine or whiskey while away from his wife and kids for Christmas and New Year's. No, he doesn't have a drinking problem, but as a grown man he certainly is entitled to a drink on New Year's Eve, and it was worth our feeling "silly" to give him that chance.

So, although the AP story deserves your criticism, please don't assume that Mr. Lally or his mother do as well, nor the thousands of others who just want to sit back off-duty after a long day and have a drink while they unwind. The notion that they are drunks is as invidious a cliché as that which the AP repeats. Spare the criticism for the policy that makes grown, responsible people employ such adolescent tactics just to give a man a chance to a pleasure that we at home enjoy and take for granted.
OK, we're convinced.
Hear, hear.

I haven't been drinking out of any plastic bottles (except the water bottles we get distributed here); and in fact, it's gone so far that I've developed something akin to a taste for this, in spite of its 0.5 overall rating. Still the best beer on VBC.

No comments: