Oakland Airport Outrage

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John Edwards always talks about "two Americas," but I don't think he's talking about these two Americas.

On a flight from Phoenix to San Antonio, a flight attendant came back to coach and quietly informed a young soldier returning from Iraq that a woman in first class wanted to switch seats with him. He went to the front — to the big seats and the hot lunch — and the first class lady came back to his bag-of-peanuts coach seat.

Passengers around her applauded and a few were moved to tears. Acknowledging the applause the first class lady said simply: "I did it because he deserves it."

Cut to the San Francisco Bay Area where soldiers and Marines returning to their home base in Hawaii stopped for a layover, but found they were not welcome in the passenger terminal.

This comes from noted neocon Michael Ledeen in the National Review, who reports receiving an e-mail from a Marine chaplain returning with troops from Iraq. The chaplain said when troops got to Oakland International Airport in Oakland, California — not far from San Francisco — the welcome mat was not out:

"On September 27, 204 Marines and soldiers who were returning from Iraq were not allowed into the passenger terminal at Oakland International Airport. Instead they had to deplane about 400 yards away from the terminal where the extra baggage trailers were located."

This was not a security measure. After going through super-tight security, checking for contraband, ammunition and explosives in Kuwait, the soldiers and Marines had been allowed in the terminal building in Germany and at JFK in New York. But on the far-left coast they were quarantined from civilians.

This smacks of the bad old days in the Bay Area when returning Vietnam vets were spat upon. Some high-ranking military person should make sure it never happens again. Our Iraq vets should be welcome anywhere and everywhere.

That's My Word.

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