Friday, October 5, 2007

Oakland Airport Apologizes to Detained Marines: as much as can be expected

A quick review:
  • Back in September 27, 2007, over two hundred soldiers and United States Marines were ordered to get out of their chartered airplane, North American Airlines Flight 1777, and told to wait on the grass, near the baggage trailers.
  • One Marine sent an email to Congress, expressing dissatisfaction with the incident.
  • The email, and more-or-less-accurate copies, started making the rounds on the Internet.
  • Some people said that the incident hadn't happened, and that the email was a fake. After all, there were several versions floating around: so none of them could be real?
  • Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee sent a letter, with the [real] email attached, to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • Oakland International Airport admitted that they kept the soldiers and Marines 400 yards away from the Terminal: and the restrooms.
  • Oakland International blamed TSA rules and the charter company.
  • The TSA denied that their regulations were involved.
  • It emerged that the Oakland bureaucrats probably didn't receive, lost, or ignored the flight's paperwork.
That brings us up to this week.

Around Wednesday, Oakland International apologized to the Marines. Sort of.

"We apologize, I apologize to any members of the military that were on this flight and may have experienced some discomfort or perception of disrespect," was what Omar Benjamin said. He's executive director of the Port of Oakland, the outfit that operates the airport.

"There was no disrespect intended," he added.

Even with that "may have experienced ... perceptive of disrespect," I think it's as close to an apology that's likely to come from the Oakland transportation services. The "may have ... perception" business is most likely what an administrator faced with anachronistic, seventies-style, behavior by part of his outfit has to do: Try to put the best face possible on what happened, while not admitting enough to invite lawsuits.

How news services handled this was more interesting.

"Marines Miffed At Airport Mistreatment" is how MSNBC put it, displaying an article from KITV-TV, of Honolulu, HI. I like alliteration, but "Miffed" as a description of "Marines" is not something I'm likely to write. The American Heritage Dictionary defines "miffed" as " 1. A petulant, bad-tempered mood; a huff. 2. A petty quarrel or argument; a tiff."

Petulant? Huff? Tiff? Marines?! I'm inclined to see MSNBC's take on the incident as not entirely sympathetic with the Marines. In a way, I can see the news service's point of view. After all, the Marines were allowed to stand or sit on grass. They'd been in a war zone, so a strip of grass between an active runway and a taxi ramp in Oakland might be considered quite a treat.

Or not.

Here's how I see the way that anti-war/anti-military people and organizations have handled the way American soldiers were treated at Oakland International:
  1. Ignore the incident.
  2. Deny the incident, claim that the emailed report is a fake.
  3. Admit the incident, but blame someone else.
  4. Trivialize the incident.
Unfair? Maybe. But: Miffed Marines?! It's hard not to regard that as a deprecatory statement.

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In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.