"Veterans For Sali" Group Seems To Underscore Bill Sali's Failure To Understand The Military
My Congressman, Bill Sali, recently announced the formation of a group called "Veterans For Sali", as a counterweight to the fact that his opponent, Walt Minnick, is an actual veteran himself. I'm all for Veterans speaking out in favor of the candidate of their choice, and I'm glad whenever I see a politically-active Veteran. What I find discouraging about this announcement, however, is that the press release listing the members of the new group once again displays Bill Sali and his staff's complete obliviousness to military culture.
In almost all cases, the press release (mirrored over at Right Mind, run by submariner Dale up in Northern Idaho) lists the members as "Retired". In common military usage, when you say someone is "Retired", it means that they're drawing either a retainer or retired pay, usually after completing at least 20 years of active service (or less during drawdowns), or are medically retired due to injury. It seemed surprising to me that such a large majority of the Sali supporters should have been "Retired", vice the equally honorable title "Veteran", that I checked into a few of them. One, Idaho Speaker of the House Lawerence Denney, is listed here as serving only 2 years in the Army -- granted, he may have been medically retired. Another, Jesse Dollemore, is only about 33 years old. If they're not actually "Retired" in the most commonly-used sense of the word, that doesn't make their endorsement any less important. It does, however, call into question the suitability of Bill Sali to continue serving in the U.S. Congress when he doesn't understand this important distinction in terminology.
Update 1230 10 Oct: I E-mailed Congressman Sali's spokesman to see if he wanted to comment, and also placed a call to General Doty, one of the group's co-chairs (who, like a lot of Bill Sali's most outspoken supporters, doesn't seem to actually live in the 1st District); I'll let you know if they respond. I also noticed that Commssioner Fred Tilman, listed as "Retired" on the list, actually served for three years in the Army. Once again, he may have been medically retired, but I'm thinking that it's fairly unlikely that two prominent Idaho politicians would have the same story.
Update 1456 10 Oct: I got a call back from General Doty and we had a very pleasant conversation. As I expected, he had not seen the actual list of the members of the group (he's been out enjoying Idaho's great outdoors), because otherwise I'm sure he would have caught the discrepancy. He did confirm that many of the group's members are, in fact, not retired, but served honorably as Veterans without having enough Time In Service to officially "Retire". Therefore, it appears to be simply a case of the Sali staff once again demonstrating their ineptitude.
Labels: Bill Sali