Guest Column Cedar Rapids Gazette Wednesday 3-20-24.

Guest Column Cedar Rapids Gazette Wednesday 3-20-24.

A shameful decision by the Iowa DNR:

            As a former combat Marine, and a disabled Vietnam veteran, I was both sadly disappointed and troubled by the news that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has cut ties to an annual fishing trip for disabled vets. (“Iowa DNR ends sponsorship of disabled vets fishing trip.” March 1).

            After “persuading” the nonprofit Veterans Casting Away Disabilities group to move from Minnesota to Iowa’s DNR-owned Honey Creek Resort on Lake Rathbun, the DNR now says that they are ending their sponsorship and have asked the organizers “to remove the Iowa DNR’s name and logo from all marketing materials, boat trailers and other equipment associated with the event.”

            Perhaps Donald Trump’s transactional patriotism has filtered down through the Reynolds administration to the DNR.

            Trump’s patriotism is based on value derived from transactions rather than on morals, ethics, or principles. This was clearly shown when he passed on visiting a WWI cemetery in France where Marines were buried calling them “losers” and “suckers” for getting killed in action.

            On July 18, 2015, Trump appeared at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames. When asked about Arizona Senator John McCain, Trump responded “He’s not a war hero, he’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured, OK?”

            McCain spent six years in prison in North Vietnam.

            In August of 1969 my life was saved by a fellow Marine, Jose, when we were up in the Que Son mountains in Vietnam. A few months later in January of 1970, when we were back down in the rice paddies, Jose was captured by the NVA. Unlike most captured enlisted men he was not executed, but rather marched up the Ho Chi Minh Trail and was a prisoner for three years. According to Trump, Jose would have been a loser and a sucker and not a hero.

            Iowa and the Reynolds Administration are sitting on billions of dollars marked for tax cuts mostly for the rich. They asked these disabled veterans to come to Iowa where the DNR would help with their fishing outing. Now the DNR is not interested in spending any money on these disabled veterans, leaving them in a lurch. “Transactionally” there is nothing for the DNR to gain by continuing its sponsorship of these disabled veterans.

            Pretty shameful. I can’t imagine any veteran voting for Trump or Reynolds.

Bob Watson