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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Reichley: The art of the snappy comeback

  • As we begin a brand new year with new hopes, wishes, desires, and aspirations, let's take a moment, thanks to an email, to reflect on things past.
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  • As we begin a brand new year with new hopes, wishes, desires, and aspirations, let's take a moment, thanks to an email, to reflect on things past.
    The email's title was "Four of the Year's Best Comeback Responses," although no year was specified.
    Since one response was from an Army general who retired and has since died, some must be from several years ago.
    I'll start with famous Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who was asked a question in an interview.
    The question was if he thought there was room for forgiveness toward the people who later harbored and abetted the terrorists who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks on the U.S.
    According to the email, his response was, "I believe that forgiving them is God's function. And, I believe our job is to help to arrange such a meeting."
    Sounds like vintage Schwarzkopf to me.
    Former White House press secretary Dana Perino, now of Fox News, interviewed a U.S. Navy SEAL who discussed the many countries his team had been sent to.
    Impressed, she asked if team members had to learn the languages of different countries they operated in.
    His reply was "Oh, no ma'am, we don't go there to talk."
    Still on a military theme is reportedly a radio transmission between an Iranian air controller and the pilot of a U.S. Marine Corps FA-18 fighter. No date is mentioned in the email.
    Iranian air controller: "Unknown aircraft, you are in Iranian airspace. Identify yourself immediately."
    Pilot: "This is a United States aircraft and I am in Iraqi airspace."
    Controller: "You are in Iranian airspace. If you do not depart our airspace immediately, we will launch interceptor aircraft."
    Pilot: "This is a U.S. Marine Corps FA-18 fighter, fully armed. Go ahead and send 'em up. I'll wait."
    Not too surprisingly, there was no further response from the Iraqi air controller.
    Switching to law enforcement for the last one.
    A police officer was being questioned by a defense attorney who was trying to undermine the officer's credibility.
    Attorney: "Officer, did you see my client fleeing the scene?"
    Officer: "No, sir, but I subsequently saw a person matching the offender's description running several blocks away."
    Attorney: "Who provided this description?"
    Officer: "The officer who responded to the scene."
    Attorney: "A fellow officer provided the description. Do you trust your fellow officers?"
    Officer: "Yes, sir. With my life."
    Attorney: "With your life? Let me ask you this then. Do you have a room where you change clothes in preparation for your daily duties?"
    Officer: "Yes, sir, I do."
    Page 2 of 2 - Attorney: "And is there a lock on your locker?"
    Officer: "Yes, sir."
    Attorney: "Why is it, officer, if you trust your fellow officer with your life, you find it necessary to lock your locker in a room you share with these fellow officers?"
    Officer: "You see, sir, we share the building with the court complex, and sometimes lawyers have been known to walk through that room."
    The courtroom exploded with laughter. The judge had to call an immediate recess.
    John Reichley is a retired Army officer and retired Department of the Army civilian employee.

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