So, it's no surprise that a hotel in England refused service to a soldier. Everybody know what a low opinion the world has of America, and particularly the American military-industrial complex.
Just one thing: this soldier is Corporal Tomos Stringer, soldier since the age of 16 in her majesty's army. He's currently serving in 13 Air Assault Support Regiment of The Royal Logistic Corps.
Corporal Stringer wasn't in uniform when he tried to check in to the Metro Hotel, on Crown Square, in Woking, Surrey, England. He did, however, present his (British) army warrant card when asked for identification.
Then, as The Times put it, Corporal Stringer was told "That it was company policy not to accept members of the Armed Forces as guests."
Corporal Stringer spent the night in his two-door car, his wrist in a cast - healing from a combat injury. My guess is that he's slept in less comfortable places, but that's not the point.
The Metro Hotel, Surrey, has received letters from Corporal Stringer's local MP, Hywel Williams, the British Defence Minister, Derek Twigg, and Bob Ainsworth, the British Armed Forces Minister. All of them suggesting that the hotel acted inappropriately.
The Metro Hotel, after being deluged by phone calls and threats, asked for police protection. And, finally, apologized. That may not be enough. Somewhat non-positive reviews are popping up in travel sites: "Metro Hotel - Military Personnel NOT welcome" (TripAdvisor.com), for example.
According to the Metro Hotel, a receptionist made a mistake. Anyway, the Metro has experienced " 'some rather serious incidents" involving soldiers from the nearby barracks," as a letter to a Mr Williams, MP for Caernarfon, put it.
The Metro Hotel is owned by a company called American Amusements, Ltd. So far, I've found two addresses for American Amusements, Ltd. One is on Crown Square, Woking, Surrey. The other is in Bournemouth, Dorset. Despite the name, by guess is that it's a British company.
How America is Viewed AbroadCorporal Stringer's mother isn't a statistically significant sample of the British population, but I think her comment, quoted in The Times, was quite interesting:
"I'm very, very angry. It's discrimination. They would never get away with it if it was against someone of ethnic origin."
That's not the really interesting part. This is: "In America, they treat soldiers as heroes. We went to Disney World with Tomos and the whole family was moved to the front of the lines. Everybody was standing up and clapping and cheering. Here, soldiers can't even get a bed for the night." (The Times (September 5, 2008))
She doesn't seem to be expressing an anti-American sentiment.
I've long suspected that America and Americans aren't quite as roundly despised, world-wide, as the self-described best and brightest think. Sure, there's anti-American sentiment in many quarters, including some American universities, but I do not see evidence that it's quite as wide-spread as might be hoped.
In the news:
- "Soldier forced to sleep in car after hotel refuses him a room"
TimesOnline (September 5, 2008)
- "British war hero turned away from hotel"
The Famagusta Gazette Online, Cyprus (September 5, 2008)
- "American Amusements: Soldiers Not Welcome"
Associated Content (September 4, 2008)
- "Reports: U.K. soldier had to sleep in car because of hotel's 'no military' policy"
USA Today (September 4, 2008)
- "British Soldier Refused by Metro Hotel, Forces Minister Demands to Know Why"
ShortNews.com, Germany (September 4, 2008)
- "Haditha, Iraq; My Lai, Vietnam: This Isn't the Good Old Days"
(July 13, 2008)
- "FISA: Senate Decides Al Qaeda Bigger Threat than FBI"
(July 9, 2008)
- "American Academic Institutions: Impartial, Neutral, Nonpartisan, Dispassionate"
(April 29, 2008)
- "Academia Listens to All Sides, And Brooklyn Bridge is For Sale"
(September 23, 2007)
- "Professor Ward Churchill: 9/11 Truthteller, or Nincompoop?"
(July 25, 2007)