Tragic and needless, yes. But is that the first thing that Gen. Robert Neller would have said about, say, Pearl Harbor? Or the Battle of Midway? Maybe, but would he have been so circumspect about naming the enemy, and isn’t it likely that his talk would have been more about determination and resolve to fight on to final victory, rather than a platitude-filled paean to community harmony?
How about the words “outrage” and “infamy” and “never again”? Those might have been more refreshing, and reassuring.
Neither the word “tragic” nor the word “needless” appear in FDR’s speech to Congress on December 8, 1941, the day after the Pearl Harbor attack.
The excerpt of Gen. Neller’s address here, as well as this Chattanooga Times Free Press article, betrays no awareness that the Chattanooga jihad massacre was one episode in a long war, a war that is ongoing, and not some random “tragic” incident. And that attitude in itself only ensures that there will be more Chattanoogas, as the steps that could and should be taken to prevent more such incidents will not be taken, because they will not be deemed necessary, or worse, will be branded “Islamophobic.”
“Top Marine Corps general visits Chattanooga,” by Shelly Bradbury, Chattanooga Times Free Press, May 7, 2016 (thanks to Jerk Chicken):
The top general of the U.S. Marine Corps visited Chattanooga on Friday for the city’s first Armed Forces Day parade since five service members were killed in a July 16 terrorist attack last year.
Gen. Robert Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, said he felt honored to attend the event and hoped his presence served as a “thank you” to the Chattanooga community.
“The events that took place last July 16 were tragic and needless, but I think out of that came a recognition that the relationship between this community and the military is as strong as ever,” he said. “And as tragic as the loss of those Marines and that sailor were, the only thing that could be worse is if we didn’t have communities like Chattanooga that are willing to support their military and provide great young men and women to serve.”
Neller watched the parade from an elevated podium on Market Street. Under a breezy, blue sky, he saluted and waved as local students, veterans, patriotic groups and bands marched past.
People lined Market Street, lifting cell phones and craning to see. Some wore red, white and blue, others donned T-shirts that declared, “Nooga Strong.” Kids sat on the curb, waving American flags and diving for candy thrown from floats….