Where are all these so-called patriots supporting our
Last week, I wrote in this space about Dennis Walsh, a retired U.S. Marine
first sergeant from Brooklyn who spent 21 years in service to his country, a jarhead who had fought and risked his life in
Desert Storm, Somalia and Iraq.
Walsh supports the war in Iraq and his President. He put his body where his
Walsh is a Marine poster boy for American patriotism.
When he retired last year with a chestful of ribbons, he applied for and was
accepted into the Suffolk County Police Department. He started the academy on Sept. 12.
On Sept. 21, Walsh was forced to resign because police brass said he had failed
to mention on his application that seven years ago he had been questioned but never charged by police in California concerning
an unfounded allegation by a spurned lover that he tried to extort money from this woman with videotapes she claimed he made
while having sex with her. A woman he picked up in a bar and dated for two weeks.
Walsh said he was questioned at Camp Pendleton for less than an hour, told
the cops the woman was a vindictive nut job, agreed to a search of his apartment and never heard from the police again.
That was it.
Here was an American combat hero of three foreign wars, a paratrooper with
1,500 jumps, a special operations scuba expert who led nocturnal reconnaissance missions into enemy territory and someone
who had full top-secret intelligence clearance and a bachelor of science degree. Walsh was NEVER handcuffed, charged, fingerprinted,
photographed, taken into custody, arraigned or tried on this unsubstantiated allegation.
And yet he was dumped by Suffolk police because he failed to mention on his
application that he was once questioned.
"That's not the America I fought and risked my life for," Walsh told me.
Let's hope the so-called democracy he fought to bring to Iraq is more democratic
The actions of the Suffolk police brass, who would not comment
here beyond saying that "Mr. Walsh resigned voluntarily," are bad enough.
But what adds insult to injury is that now that Walsh is in a foxhole, fighting
for his job and dignity - living in Bensonhurst with his terribly ill mother, a former NYPD detective injured in the line
of duty - no cavalry is charging to his aid.
None of the "patriots" who supports this failed war in Iraq want to rally
'round a heroic veteran who is being shafted now that he's home.
It matters not if you support this war or oppose it. That is the stuff of
a free and open political discourse that makes this country so great. But we all must support the men and women who fight
and die in it.
Everywhere I look, people boast yellow ribbon magnets on their cars. SUPPORT
OUR TROOPS posters adorn windows and lawns. Tireless bloggers stream support for our intervention into Iraq.
None of them mentions Dennis Walsh's war at home.
After Walsh's story ran in this space Tuesday, I didn't receive a single E-mail
from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth or from the Security Moms or NASCAR Dads for Bush.
Not a word broadcast by the likes of Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh demanding
truth, justice and the American way for this American hero named Sgt. Dennis Walsh.
And liberal politicians like Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer and John Kerry,
who voted to give Bush the power to wage war, are as silent as Quakers in a bomb shelter on Dennis Walsh. Nada from the right
or left of our New York congressional delegation, including Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who is Walsh's congressman in Bensonhurst.
If Bill O'Reilly, who hails from Long Island, ever needed to look out for
one of the "folks," Dennis Walsh is one. Give this jarhead a public forum on your TV show, Bill, and let him tell his side
of the story to the American people he fought for in three separate American wars, only to be shafted back here in the land
of the free. Invite Suffolk Police Commissioner Richard Dormer into the no-spin zone.
Walsh himself has a theory on why everyone is silent: "It is because of the
politically incorrect subject matter. But I am not going to run and hide under a rock for something, although embarrassing,
I didn't do.
"The point is there is no evidence because I didn't do anything to this woman
besides tell her to get lost and stop calling me 10 times a day. Doesn't proof, an actual charge or evidence, have anything
to do with the legal system here anymore?"
Apparently not at the Suffolk Police Department or the elected officials who
voted for this war Dennis Walsh helped fight.
Originally published on October 1, 2005