Two years ago while stationed at Baghdad International Airport my nephew, who was a cook in the Army, was photographed next to the president as he served Thanksgiving turkey to the troops. Well it appears a photo of that moment has worked its way into a calendar that the GOP is sending out to its donors accompanied by a letter from Laura Bush asking for a $25.00.
Here is a photo from that day:
Please note: This is not the photo that appears in the calendar, however its a similar shot, taken from a different angle.
My family first learned of the existence of this calendar when my sister-in-law received a copy of it from a friend/co-worker who said her mom is a GOP donor and received it in the mail and (get this) asked if my nephew would be so kind as to sign it. Of course this made its way through the family grapevine very quickly and the calendar was a popular topic of conversation as it was passed around during Thanksgiving dinner. My nephew, who is no longer in the Army and currently a college student with a 3.5+ GPA(can you tell I'm a proud uncle?), joked that he wants to be paid for his appearance. We joked about how to deal with it, one cousin joked that we photoshop it, I recommended that when he signs the copy for the GOP donor he writes that he did not volunteer to take his photo with *.
I doubt there is anything illegal in using this photo in the GOP fund-raising calendar, however its very disturbing. My nephew is not a political person, he enlisted in the Army to provide for his family (he has two small children)and to fund his college education. As with many of our young soldiers he was excited and flattered to meet the Commander in Chief and it did not matter if it was George Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan. I remembered the mixed feelings the family, especially my sister-in-law, had when local news media covered the story 2 years ago, we hated the war, distrusted the president (hell I was working for regime change, leading Wes Clark's efforts in Illinois), but we were excited for my nephew.
The most appalling thing about this photo was the fact that while my nephew was a cook, he spent most of his time in Iraq loading ammunition on helicopters while the fine folks of Kellog Brown and Root worked in the kitchen. He had not been working in the kitchen when this pic was taken, but for some reason they saw fit to put him on the chow line.
My nephew volunteered to serve his country and now he is involuntarily serving the Republican party. . .it just ain't right.