A primary assertion of your May 19 editorial, “S.C. shows veterans are welcome” is wrong. In it you claimed that Col. Bill Connor in his May 6 column in The T&D said the entire matter concerning the University of South Carolina board‘s rejection of Lt. General Robert Caslen as the new USC president “reflects badly on South Carolina, its military tradition and its important ties to the military.”
Connor does not say this anywhere in his letter. What he does say is that ”His (Caslen’s) treatment by a number of students, faculty and the board of USC demands condemnation not only for the personal injustice to Caslen, but the demeaning of the military.”
Connor goes on to say, ”The spokesman for the protest said of Caslen: ‘His entire career runs counter to the values of the university. … The protesters were merciless in their vehemence against Caslen, a military man, becoming president, causing the USC board to end the search and dismiss Caslen from consideration.”
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In his article, Connor clearly identifies the small group of students and faculty and the USC board as the focus of his criticism, not “South Carolina, its military tradition and its important ties to the military."
Connor’s military and combat record is exemplary. In his article he is defending his fellow service members who have and continue to uphold the values of America while serving overseas in harm’s way. Connor’s critique was on the detractors of the military who said, "His (Caslen’s) entire career runs counter to the values of the university.”
Connor wants “Not only an apology to General Caslen, but condemnation of the despicable remarks of the protesters about service in uniform and service fighting for the nation.”
What your editorial failed to acknowledge was that Connor was critiquing these military detractors and the sadly intimidated USC board, not “South Carolina.” Connor said that very clearly in his letter to the editor. I am so sorry you missed his obvious point.