Friday, December 30, 2011

Senator McCain delays return of sailors remains

Lt Richard Somers
There were a couple of articles this week about something which makes me scratch my head and ask what the hell Senator McCain is thinking. Let me explain what is going on -bear with me a moment.

A little over 200 years ago the United States was a brand spanking new nation. We had just finished a long and bitter war of independence and broken away from the British Empire. One consequence was that our merchant fleet, which was large and prosperous, no longer enjoyed the protection of the British Navy. This made our merchant ships tempting targets of other countries and for pirates. This became a huge problem in the Mediterranean when several North African sultanships started seizing our ships, killing and imprisoning the crews and demanding ransom for their return. We responded by forming our Navy and sending a squadron to Tripoli to get our people back by force. During one of the battles some of our sailors volunteered to sail a fire ship loaded with explosives into Tripoli harbor and try to blow up some of the enemy ships. That ship, the Intrepid, was commanded by Lt Richard Somers. Unfortunately the ship exploded before the crew could get off safely and the entire crew were killed. Their bodies washed ashore and were dragged through the streets of Tripoli. The next day some Christians were allowed to gather and bury the remains. Those early Navy heroes have remained there ever since.

Colonel Gadhafi actually offered to return the bodies so they can finally be buried with appropriate honers at our National Cemetery. Apparently the Administration did not want to be beholden to Gadhafi and the remains stayed in Libya. Now the new Libyan government has offered to return them again. The families of these heroes have been trying for 200 years to get the bodies back and they thought that, finally, this was going to happen. There was even a bill passed in Congress to get this done. But no. At the last minute Senator McCain insisted on a change to the bill requiring an "impact study" be performed by the Navy and the Department of Defense first. This will delay the operation for months or even years -and who knows how long the Libyans will remain friendly.

An impact study -for crying out loud! Just what the hell is the good Senator thinking? Come on, let's bring the bodies of these sailors home and give them the honors, recognition and respect they deserve and have not received for over 200 years. Enough is enough already......

Live Long and Prosper....

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