The Washington Post is tsk tsking the U.S. Army and Walter Reed Army Medical Center today for their uninviting of aging 60s' war protester Joan Baez from appearing in a concert for wounded soldiers with John Cougar Mellencamp last Friday. In a sympathetic article the Post can't seem to understand why the Army wouldn't want an over the hill, anti-establishment activist to appear before our wounded heroes.
But even a look at just some of the quotes in their article -- much less any perusal of all her wild-eyed rants of the last 40 years -- seems to explain pretty clearly why a patriotic American soldier would not find her brand of "entertainment" desirable.
It's hard to believe the Post could be at all confused.
Apparently, Cougar Mellencamp invited the graying, hippie to perform with him several weeks back. And, initially, the Army seemed to agree to the arrangement. But, as the date neared, the Army withdrew their invitation to Baez without any real explanation given.
Baez has issued a letter that appears in the Post today that says in part:
I have always been an advocate for nonviolence, and I have stood as firmly against the Iraq war as I did the Vietnam War 40 years ago. During that war, I could not, in good conscience, have "sung for the troops."
Perhaps this is precisely the attitude the Army grew to fear would mar a concert for recovering soldiers? Perhaps they didn't want our wounded heroes to be confronted with her tiresome rhetoric? They have enough troubles in their lives already, after all!
Baez goes on with a disingenuous, "I realize now that I might have contributed to a better welcome home for those soldiers fresh from Vietnam. Maybe that's why I didn't hesitate to accept the invitation to sing for those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan."
"Maybe", Joan? Since there admittedly wasn't any conscious pre-planned thought that you wanted to make amends for past slights you had before your appearance, it seems likely that this afterthought "maybe" is not really a genuine sentiment.
She ends her short and not very erudite open letter with, "In the end... I was not "approved" by the Army to take part. Strange irony."
Irony? What irony? Baez appears to be another person who doesn't grasp the concept of irony.
In any case, as I mentioned, the Post gave Baez much room to complain and posed the question to the military as if they were somehow wrong to eliminate Baez from the stage.
But let's look at some of the things she told the Post in her interview over the incident and see if she would have been a suitable entertainer for wounded troops.
Reached by telephone yesterday at her home in Menlo Park, Calif., Baez, 66, said she wasn't told why she was given the boot, but speculated, "There might have been one, there might have been 50 [soldiers] that thought I was a traitor."
Absurdly, she blames the troops for her removal from the stage, but many -- if not a substantial portion of them -- weren't even alive when she was rampaging across the country advocating for the defeat of US forces in Vietnam. With this sort of distrust and suspicion she seems to hold for the boys it is amazing she even considered the appearance to begin with.
She next decided to poke some fun at the hospital.
"One of my more cynical friends said, 'They let the rats in, why not you?' "Baez said, laughing, referring to a recent exposé of living conditions at Walter Reed.
So, she thinks "rats" in the hospital is funny? Nice.
And, as to her real feelings about being uninvited by the Army, Baez said "It's an honor to be turned down by the Army". This seems a fairer representation of her sentiment than the phony "maybe" sentiment she included in her whiny letter previously mentioned. With this sort of animus exhibited by Baez, it is a good thing the Army rejected her offer to perform.
The real question I have for the Army, though, isn't why they uninvited her but why they initially thought she should perform in the first place? Baez should have been flat out refused right at the outset.
But, it is amusing that the Washington Post just doesn't get it.