Tags: Kelly | Washington Post | Military | John Kelly | Green Berets

WashPost: Kelly's Comments Highlight Rift Between Military and Civilians

WashPost: Kelly's Comments Highlight Rift Between Military and Civilians
US Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB 

By    |   Saturday, 21 October 2017 04:56 PM

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly's remarks this week about the deaths of four Green Berets earlier this month in Niger illustrate the divide between civilians and the military, underscoring the plight of Gold Star families.

"My guess is that military families will pull themselves further into the community because they don’t want to be politicized," Kori Schake, a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, told The Washington Post.

At the White House press briefing Thursday, Kelly outlined the process of how a slain service member is moved from battlefield to burial.

He also slammed Florida Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson over her attacks on President Donald Trump's remarks to the widow of one of the Green Berets killed by Islamic State terrorists.

"If you elect to call a family like this, it is about the most difficult thing you could imagine," Kelly told reporters. "There’s no perfect way to make that phone call."

Fewer than 1 percent of the population currently serve in the nation's armed forces, the Post reports, while 7 percent are military veterans.

In addition, the number of Gold Star families totals about 7,000 from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The last 16 years of war have been carried by a narrow slice of the population, and the burden is heavy but not wide," Phil Carter, a former Army officer and think-tank program director, told the Post.

He added that Kelly’s comments echoed a sense of pride among military members and veterans for serving, coupled with some resentment that civilians do not understand their mission.

"His entire adult life was spent in military, and he has given his literal flesh and blood in the form of his son’s death," Carter said. "I think he sincerely feels most Americans don’t understand his life of service and sacrifice."

Kelly's son, Marine 1st Lt. Robert Kelly, was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.

Carter added that Kelly's description of the process provided helpful insight to Americans who might not have had such an experience.

But the chief of staff also paired the remarks with a belief that most civilians could not conceive, or fail, to understand the burden, Carter said.

"It was odd," he told the Post. "The military does not have a monopoly on loss and hardship."

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White House Chief of Staff John Kelly's remarks this week about the deaths of four Green Berets earlier this month in Niger illustrate the divide between civilians and the military, underscoring the plight of Gold Star families.
Kelly, Washington Post, Military, John Kelly, Green Berets
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2017-56-21
Saturday, 21 October 2017 04:56 PM
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