While exiting the presidential helicopter, Marine One, Obama thought that properly saluting the marines guarding his exit was just a bit to troublesome.
Of course, the story is more complicated that the opening sentence. The President was forced to hold absolutely nothing in his left hand while he saluted the marines with his coffee-encumbered right.
The U.S. Navy Manual (the Marine Corps is part of the Navy) has a section entitled “Procedures for Saluting.” In it, there are listed a few reasons one may not properly salute:
e. In some situations, the salute is not appropriate. In general, do not salute when:
(1) Engaged in routine work when a salute would interfere.
(2) Indoors, except when under arms.
(3) Carrying articles with both hands or being otherwise so occupied as to make saluting impractical.
(4) The rendition of the salute is obviously inappropriate, such as in places of public assemblage such as
theaters or churches, and in public conveyances.
I am not sure if perhaps the routine work of disembarking his private, high-cost, tax-payer provided helicopter counts as (1) or if perhaps Mr. President is packing heat under that jacket so that (3) applies.
(3) Would only apply if “occupied” could be replaced with “thinking about golfing.”
Where an exception could be granted would be (4) as he is exiting a method of public.. oops, never mind. This conveyance is his and his only.
The key being that if an excusable consideration had occurred Obama could have just not saluted at all. Instead, he chose to give a half-hearted, disrespectful and nearly callous version of the military courtesy.
While some excuses will be made that one or more exceptions might apply to Obama’s faux-pas (hasn’t the media excused the other bunches of them), this one should be left to dangle around his scrawny neck.
Sure, he could claim to be too busy, have too much in his hands, be otherwise engaged in other work or what have you. Our fighting men and women deserve the simple common courtesy of their commander letting them know that they are more than an afterthought – that they are worth his attention.
Can you just imaging the outrage if a marine, soldier, airmen or sailor saluted President Obama with a cup of coffee in their hands – or not at all.