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Saturday, June 22
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

Latte salute

The Latte Salute, which became the subject ridicule and scorn from members of the military community this past month, is endemic of an unprecedented number of public relations nightmares from the Obama Administration.

The tradition of saluting is believed to have begun with the Romans. In the days where assassinations were much more common than society would like, it was expected that those wishing to meet public officials had to raise their right hands to show that they did not conceal a weapon.

The knights of medieval times, in keeping with their chivalric tendencies, raised their visors with their right hands in a sign of friendship.

Such are the ancient traditions that today’s military salute draws its lineage from.

However, today’s American military salute takes its cues from those of the British Navy. During the days of wooden boats, copious amounts of tar and pitch were required to waterproof the boats.

Naval officers at the time wore white gloves, and presenting a black palm towards the officer — as was British custom at the time — was not considered appropriate.

As a result, the palm ended up facing downwards to conveniently hide the sticky mixture.

It is true that the commander-in-chief has no obligation to salute the members of the armed forces, as it was a tradition that started with President Reagan and has continued since then.

But even within the armed forces, the requirement of a salute is in and of itself not set in stone.

Field Manual 3-21.5, which governs drill and ceremonies, states in Appendix A-1 subsection B that salutes are not required when “Saluting is obviously inappropriate.”

In these cases, only greetings are exchanged. (Example 1: A person carrying articles with both hands, or being otherwise so occupied as to make saluting impracticable, is not required to salute a senior person or return the salute to a subordinate.)”

So when President Obama tries to salute whilst holding a coffee cup and straightening his tie, it just makes him look silly and disrespects the time-honored tradition.

The same goes for George W. Bush and his “salute” with Barney the Scottish terrier cradled in his left arm.

What is most surprising is that this faux pas was not sneakily caught by some paparazzi on a covert cell-phone camera, but rather was released through the White House’s own Instagram account.

Unfortunately, whoever thought that this was a good idea should be fired, as it does nothing to show the president in a good light.

Maybe the public relations team will be able to take care of all of the golfing photographs next time.

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