By Matt Towery –
Matt Towery’s nationally syndicated column from Creators Syndicate
Michael Savage stands out in the world of talk radio because of his willingness to call out anyone or anything. The New York Post stands out as a one-time tabloid that has turned into a beacon of honesty. This newspaper will report the truth when others seek to hide it.
An underreported truth of late is the story of U.S. Army Spc. Brent Grommet and his one-time military companion, a German Shepard named Matty. They are heroes who are worth fighting for. In July 2013, Spc. Grommet returned from Afghanistan with Matty still by his side. In the service of our nation, the two had trained together, deployed together and suffered injuries together. It seems Matty was left lame in one leg from the same explosion that injured Grommet.
So what do Michael Savage and the Post have to do with Grommet and Matty? Absolutely everything.
It’s important to recall that Grommet, just a low-ranking enlisted man, is but an afterthought among bejeweled and bedizened military brass. One would think his right to adopt Matty would be assured by a law specifying just that right. It was signed into law by former President Bill Clinton, and it gives the sole right for a military working dog to be turned over permanently to the soldier to whom it was originally assigned. But apparently one Lt. Col. Richard Vargas refused to allow the rehabilitating Grommet to adopt his companion dog now that the soldier is home.
Once this story hit, I expected to see it on every newscast and in opinion columns. Perhaps a holiday and the post-election news cycle had left distracted folks like me behind the information curve. Fortunately, the Post was not behind the curve. It ran the story. And the tell-it-like-it-is Savage was on top of it, too, discussing it on his Veterans Day broadcast.
You might remember Savage as the talk show host who got banned from Great Britain by a politically correct gaggle of bureaucrats. (He was punished for telling the truth about radical Islam.) Now he seems to be a lone voice in his fight to reunite this injured soldier with his injured dog. In an interview with Grommet’s father, Savage learned that Matty actually cried out for his master even as a military vehicle pulled away with the dog.
Opinion writers like myself can only get information from news reports that we read and hear. If this man-and-his-dog story is accurate, and Army authorities have shown complete disregard for this American hero and his dog, then our treatment of veterans — from this incident to shabbily run hospitals — is a national disgrace.
Let’s be clear: Specially trained dogs like Matty are worth tens of thousands of dollars. But the dog is nearly priceless to a young man in Spc. Grommet’s predicament. At minimum, there is in this case a cold-hearted disrespect for this American hero. More likely, there is some kind of chicanery and cover-up involved that is a disgrace to those who lead our military.
Some surmise that in the year-plus it has taken for the Grommet family to track down the man who apparently took the dog, something tragic may have happened to this noble canine servant.
Others guess that the lieutenant colonel, or someone close to him, knows not only that the dog is safe, but its exact whereabouts — somewhere hidden from Grommet by people who care little for the soldier’s suffering and sacrifice.
Dammit. If we can’t stand up for the rights of injured veterans, including their right to be reunited with a dog who was nothing less than a fellow warrior, then we have no right to stand up for anything.
My hope is that others will take up the cause of Grommet and his beloved Matty. It would be gratifying to find out that by the time this column is published, we learn that the military has gone to every extreme in an effort to locate Matty and get him back with his true master and friend. But don’t hold your breath.
Even if that happens, it’s still disheartening to see that it’s left to American media giants like the New York Post and Michael Savage to have to inform us of something that we should already have been aware of — a case of callousness and disrespect toward those who sacrifice for us.
Matt Towery is author of the book “Paranoid Nation: The Real Story of the 2008 Fight for the Presidency.” He has served as an elected official, has advised major national campaigns and heads a non-partisan polling and media company. He is also publisher of the Washington-based Southern Political Report, the nation’s oldest active political newsletter. Follow him on Twitter: @matttowery. To find out more about Matt Towery and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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