Archive - Dec 13, 2004

Giving Your Country The Finger

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Memo to those who lionize stupidity: YOU ARE DUMB.

But before we begin, let's have a moment of silence, and when I say "silence", I mean "loud peals of derisive laughter", for Bernard Kerik, who would have been in charge of moving from Yellow Alert to Orange Alert and back - until he "discovered" ha'd hired an illegal immigrant to clean his place and watch his kids. And hadn't paid her taxes properly. And if that's the excuse they settled on, the stuff they were digging up must have been REALLY heinous.This is what happens when you run out of hand-picked yes-men and have to outsource.

So anyway, stupidity masquerading as romantic bravery. This is the means by which people excuse ridiculous, stupid behavior because of some element of "spirit" or "romance" or some other bullshit. The enduring appeal of the heartwarming Story is why David Battle will go down in history as a "brave romantic hero" rather than a "nine-fingered fool".

Now I know this is going to make me remove at least 15 of the 74 "Support Our Troops" ribbon magnets I have on the back of my car, but Lance Cpl. Battle, USMC, had, at the very least an Epic Dipshit Moment. Maybe he wasn't lucid. Maybe he was full of painkillers. And maybe he's making the best of a bad decision. Or maybe he's a dumbass. Doesn't matter, because he's not the real problem anyway. The real problem are the people that think he's some kind of paragon.

In mid-November, Battle got his hand mangled in Iraq, where, I mention idly, we haven't found any WMD's because they weren't there. Battle is one of about 10,000 mangled soldiers who rarely get counted, or if they get counted, they get counted as just "wounded", which makes you think he limps a bit when he comes home to his girl. But Battle got his hand all mangled up. So mangled up, that doctors had to cut off his wedding band to save his ring finger.

That's when Battle had his Moment. Faced with the choice of losing his wedding band, and losing his finger, Battle made Frodo's Choice, and the doctors cut off his finger. It's ACTUAL NONADIGITAL QUOTE TIME!

"My wife is the strongest woman I know. She's basically running two people's lives since I've been gone. I don't think I could ever repay her or show her how grateful ... how much I love my wife, my soul mate." - Battle, who, by the way, will inevitably have touching plays on his last name written about him from now on.

That's all very sweet, but if Mrs. Battle is so strong, don't you think she's capable of dealing with the loss of a wedding band? Turns out we don't actually need to answer that question. See, sometime after the finger was removed, the doctors LOST THE RING. Rumors that the ring is currently being used to up-armor a Humvee could not be confirmed at press time.

No finger, because Battle, as an American, has been trained from birth to think of the symbol of a thing as being as important as, if not more important than, the thing itself. It's why flag burning is more heinous than censorship. It's why, despite 10,000 David Battles, the "Mission Accomplished" banner wasn't a crippling blow in November. Symbols are pretty. Things are messy. And no ring either, because I'm guessing Jewelry Management is a low-priority when freedom's on the march.

No finger, no ring. And Battle is some kind of hero. Just ask his high school coach, Daniel Pierce:

"We need to make more David Battles. He is one amazing guy." - No, we really don't need to make more David Battles. We need to make more people that, when forced to choose between a BODY PART and JEWELRY, makes the choice that won't require relearning how to touch type.

And we probably need to stop making soldiers with mangled hands in Iraq, too.