I have tremendous respect for Staff Sgt. Brian Jopek, who is the father of Ryan David Jopek, the soldier killed in Iraq whose bracelet Barack Obama wore during the debate.
When I discovered the March interview in which the father related the mother’s desire for Senator Obama not to wear it, I was struck by how diplomatic Brian Jopek was trying to be.
He was, in March, still on active duty, and was about to be deployed to Guantanamo. I expect that he’s there now, I don’t know.
This was the Wisconsin Public Radio interview I found. on this WPR website (the March 20 2008 interview) SSgt. Jopek tells the interviewer that the mother had asked Barack Obama not to wear the bracelet.
During the interview, in which the WPR interviewer is trying to get SSgt. Jopek to speak out against the war, he’s clearly not cooperating. He is concerned, he says, about the new president pulling out of Iraq before the job is done.
I admire his constraint, and his careful reaction to the interviewer. He’s likely to get drawn into this, and I am sorry about that. For what it’s worth, I believe that Brian Jopek has conducted himself admirably, carefully avoiding the political aspects but clearly believing in the mission. It is evident that he does not support Senator Obama’s plan to “pull up stakes or ‘pop smoke’” as he puts it. And yet he says nothing about the candidate specifically, and is respectful and cautious.
My hat is off to him, and my condolences to the family for their loss of a young man who was tremendously respected and loved and proud to serve his country.
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