John McCaslin

Last fall, Marine Lance Cpl. Jeremy Burris from Liberty, Texas, was killed during his tour of duty in Iraq. At his funeral, he was honored by his entire hometown, then laid to rest. A few days later, his grave was desecrated.

"Cemetery officials found flags, posters and floral arrangements ripped up and strewn about the gravesite," reveals Rep. Ted Poe of Texas, who says police have made one arrest so far on state charges. In other words, whereas federal law protects gravesites of military men and women buried on public property, it has no jurisdiction on private burial grounds.

The Republican congressman's bill to make such desecration a federal crime is appropriately titled the Lance Corporal Jeremy Burris Act.


"I hate the use of the term 'gook' used by the American GIs to identify the Vietnamese people — both North and South. I hated the use of the term while I served in Nam and I still hate it," writes Fred Wright of Palm Bay, Fla.

The reader is referencing our earlier item about Republican Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, insisting on using the term "gook" to describe his Vietnamese captors, until public outcry during his 2000 presidential campaign forced him to issue an apology.

"I'm sure that McCain suffered greatly at the hands of the North Vietnamese, but a person who is incapable of forgiving others is not one I care to have as a president," he says. "What happened to him happened a long time ago. We need someone in the White House who is too big to harbor hate."

Speaking of the military, past and present, A. Lawrence of Alexandria read a survey we published of 3,400 active and retired officers — ranked major or lieutenant commander and above — that found that nearly 90 percent saying the war in Iraq has stretched the U.S. military "dangerously thin," with 80 percent saying if the United States were to enter a major war at this time it could not be successfully waged.

Mr. Lawrence guesses "the sample of 3,400 only included 340 officers with boots on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan, so a good many of the poll respondents are armchair quarterbacks of the worst kind — paper pushing, desk jockeys with no face-to-face enemy contact to color their judgment.

"Are there problems in the military community? Sure, but this sounds like a Chicken Little poll used to prove a political point."

Quote of the week

"If al Qaeda was on steroids, then the House would take it up."

— Sen. Kit Bond, Missouri Republican, speaking on the Senate floor this week

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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