Monday, April 15, 2013

Is the Harold B. Estes' letter to President Obama a Hoax?

Most of us have probably seen the Harold B. Estes' letter to President Obama posted on Facebook.  It's again making the rounds, I've seen it posted and shared by various friends, acquaintances and family.  Generally the letter is posted or shared as part of a photo, like the one above, with the subject being

"Barack and Michelle Obama get owned by a 95 year old Pearl harbor survivor."

My question is first, is the Harald B. Estes' letter a hoax?  According to this report on Snopes the letter is in fact real and was originally published in Fore n' Aft magazine.

Before I take the time to break down the inaccuracies in this letter I want to say that Mr. Estes is a hero.  He passed away a couple of years ago, and he lived through one of the most historic and terrible events in our countries history.  His analysis is, however, very inaccurate.  As opposed to breaking it down every time I see it I figure it's a lot easier for me to write this blog and send out the link each time I see it.

The letter reads as follows:

Dear President Obama,

M name is Harold Estes, approaching 95 on December 13 of this year.  People meeting me for the first time don't believe my age because I remain wrinkle free and pretty much mentally alert.

I enlisted in the U.S Navy in 1934 and served proudly before, during and after WW II retiring as a Master Chielf Bos'n Mate.  Now I live in a "rest home" located on the western end of Pearl Harbor, allowing me to keep alive the memories of 23 years of service to my country.

One of the benefits of my age, perhaps the only one, is to speak my mind, blunt and direct even to the head man.

So here goes.

I am amazed, angry and determined not to see my country die before I do, but you seem hell bent not to grant me that wish.

I can’t figure out what country you are the president of.
You fly around the world telling our friends and enemies despicable lies like:

-- “We’re no longer a Christian nation.”

(The full quote can be seen here.  President Obama said: "Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation - at least not just... We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation and a Buddhist nation and a Hindu nation and a nation of non-believers.")

-- “America is arrogant.”
 (The full quote can bee seen here.  President Obama said: "In America, there's a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world.  instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive."  Umm... I've traveled all over the world.  If you have traveled before, and you've met people from other countries, specifically European countries, you already know this is true.  Not only that... the average European believes this of us.  

Your wife even announced to the world, “America is mean-spirited.” Please tell her to try preaching that nonsense to 23 generations of our war dead buried all over the globe who died for no other reason than to free a whole lot of strangers from tyranny and hopelessness.
(The full quote can be seen here.  The quote was lifted from a 2008 editorial in The New Yorker entitled "The Other Obama."  In it we're given some insight into Michelle Obama's role in the government.  HOWEVER, after reading the quote I will say that I agree that the First Lady probably regrets saying what she did.  But I still feel the comment was taken out of context in terms of this letter).

I’d say shame on the both of you, but I don’t think you like America, nor do I see an ounce of gratefulness in anything you do, for the obvious gifts this country has given you. To be without shame or gratefulness is a dangerous thing for a man sitting in the White House.

After 9/11 you said, “America hasn’t lived up to her ideals.”
(This is a paraphrase from President Obama's 2009 speech in Cairo in which he says: "...  And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter our principles.  9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country.  The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our ideals.  We are taking concrete actions to change course.  I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year."  Another quote taken out of context.  However, not closing Guantanamo after making a speech to the Middle-East that he would probably did not earn him much trust in that part of the world).

Which ones did you mean ?? 
Was it the notion of personal liberty that 11,000 farmers and shopkeepers died for to win independence from the British ? 
Or maybe the ideal that no man should be a slave to another man, one that 500,000 men died for in the Civil War ? 
I hope you didn’t mean the ideal 410,000 fathers, brothers, husbands, and a lot of fellows I knew personally died for in WWII - because we felt real strongly about not letting any nation push us around, because we stand for freedom.
I don’t think you mean the ideal that says equality is better than discrimination. You know the one that a whole lot of white people understood when they helped to get you elected.

Take a little advice from a very old geezer, young man.

Shape up and start acting like an American. If you don’t, I’ll do what I can to see you get shipped out of that fancy rental on Pennsylvania Avenue . You were elected to lead not to bow, and not to apologize and kiss the hands of murderers and corrupt leaders who still treat their people like slaves.

(I assume he mentions bowing and kissing the hands of murders in reference to bowing in a greeting to the emperor of Japan and in some cultures there are instances where men great each other with a kiss.  That includes east Asia, parts of Africa and the Middle East).

And just who do you think you are telling the American people not to jump to conclusions and condemn that Muslim major who killed 13 of his fellow soldiers and wounded dozens more. You mean you don’t want us to do what you did when that white cop used force to subdue that black college professor in Massachusetts , who was putting up a fight? You don’t mind offending the police calling them stupid but you don’t want us to offend Muslim fanatics by calling them what they are, terrorists.
(Major Nidal Malik Hasan shot and killed 13 at Fort Hood, Texas.  He was a Muslim and in response President Obama urged Americans to not jump to conclusions on the MOTIVES of the shooting.  You can read an outline from the New York Times in the link I posted above.  In response to the race claims above what the President said was "... I don't know - not having been there and not seeing all the facts - what role race played in that, but I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their home..."  By the way, the charges were quickly dropped.  You can read about this HERE).

One more thing. I realize you never served in the military and never had to defend your country with your life, but you’re the Commander-in-Chief now, son. Do your job. When your battle-hardened field General asks you for 40,000 more troops to complete the mission, give them to him. But if you’re not in this fight to win, then get out. The life of one American soldier is not worth the best political strategy you’re thinking of.
(President Obama actually did end up sending almost 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan, per General McChrystal's request.  He did, however, not make a snap decision on the request.  Which, I'm sure, is appropriate considering that 40,000 more troops means 40,000 more lives at risk).

You could be our greatest president because you face the greatest challenge ever presented to any president.

You’re not going to restore American greatness by bringing back our bloated economy. That’s not our greatest threat. Losing the heart and soul of who we are as Americans is our big fight now.
And I sure as hell don’t want to think my president is the enemy in this final battle…

Harold B. Estes

Why did I take the time to fact check this post?  Because I've seen it posted SO MANY TIMES on facebook.  And I've seen so many people just blindly believe this letter.  Yes, Mr. Estes was an American Veteran and he survived one of the worst attacks on American soil.  But this letter is full of half-truth and paraphrasing which makes it easy for people to jump to conclusions.  But as you can see from above much of this is just not completely true.

President Obama is not the perfect President.  You don't have to like him.  I happen to like many of the things he's done socially but disagree with many of his fiscal policies.  I voted for him.  But if this post was about President Bush I'd do the same due diligence and RESEARCH the facts before posting it as truth.

Is the Harold B. Estes' letter a hoax?  No, it's not a hoax.  But is the Harold B. Estes letter truthful?  That's a loaded question.  I believe that Mr. Estes did believe what he was writing as truthful.  I do not believe he was trying to mislead anybody.  But I think it speaks volumes about how information is spread and processed by people.  I try to make it a point to NEVER believe anything at face value.  There is always a deeper meaning if you're willing to look for it.

Like this?  Hate this?  Have a better idea?  EMAIL ME.


Stew "fact checker" Carrier

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