Obama under fire for insult to military
“Semper latte” is but one of the jokes following in the wake of a casual presidential insult of our military. Yesterday, when exiting Marine One after landing in New York City, President Obama returned the crisp salutes of the Marines standing at the base of the helicopter stairs with casual salute, coffee cup in hand, thus violating military protocol, and demonstrating causal ignorance (at best) or contempt for the etiquette demanded of a commander-in-chief.
An outraged Allen West posted a video to YouTube, though the White House itself had no qualms about posting a video of the incident to its Instagram account.
The salute is “the most important of all military courtesies,” says a manual, titled “Customs and Courtesies,” for Marine Corps officer candidates, The Daily Caller reported.
“In general, do not salute when… carrying articles with both hands or being otherwise so occupied as to make saluting impractical,” the manual says.
This gaffe joins his infamous “corpse-man” mispronunciation as a tell: this president has little knowledge of and even less respect for the traditions and honor of the United States military that dedicates itself to the service and protection of the American people he and they are supposed to be serving.
I am sure that many of Obama’s supporters will dismiss this as an insignificant incident. And it is true, no lives were lost, no money wasted, and no bodily harm was caused. But the presidency, especially in the age of pervasive electronic communications, has a huge element of symbolic communication as part of its core function. Vast resources are devoted to crafting images that send the right message.
The day after Obama committed military resources (and potentially, lives) to a war in a new country, he showed his utter disregard for those forces. As the lawyers say, res ipso loquitor -- “the thing speaks for itself.”
Update from Stu Tarlowe:
President Obama's "latte salute" is hardly the first time he's exhibited his disrespect (some might say contempt) for military members, and for U.S. Marines in particular.
Allow me to remind you of this incident back in May of 2013, when he summoned Marines to hold umbrellas over him and the Turkish PM during a press conference in the Rose Garden.
Obama compounded the break in protocol and regulations by holding the arm of the Marine holding the umbrella. One is not supposed to even touch a Marine on guard duty.
Under the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations, male Marines in uniform are forbidden from carrying umbrellas. And the regulations also state that "No officer or official shall issue instructions which conflict with, alter, or amend any provision without the approval of the Commandant of the Marine Corps."
Coverage at the time of this incident suggested that the president "made the Marines look like butlers".