The Hug Lady

Bette Rose Bowers is the Hug Lady. She greets incoming soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan in airports. And what does she tell them? Things like: God bless you, we are proud of you, you are appreciated, thank you. She talks about the joy of having a father see his baby for the very first time. She talks about children not having seen their father for many months. No mention of Iraqi or Afghan fathers seeing their children killed by U.S. bombs and bullets. No mention of Iraqi or Afghan children never seeing their father again. Should returning U.S. soldiers be greeted in airports? You be the judge.

Author: Laurence Vance

Laurence Vance holds degrees in history, theology, accounting, and economics. He has written and published twelve books and regularly contributes articles and book reviews to both secular and religious periodicals.

36 thoughts on “The Hug Lady”

  1. Very interesting question! I have no problem with the soldiers getting hugs. I don't see how treating them like outcasts benefits anyone, although I see the hypocrisy in what she says.

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  3. It's called "cheap grace." "Hug Lady" gets to make a meaningless, trite, platitudinous, utterly empty gesture devoid of any real meaning, but it makes her feel good. It also lets her put up a facade that she "cares" without compelling her to do something tangible to alleviate human suffering or bring some small measure of comfort, peace, and support to traumatized troops (or their victims, for that matter). In other words, "Hug Lady" is the embodiment of the Amoricon public's shallow concept of "supporting the troops."

    Question for "Hug Lady" and other "troop supporters:" When was the last time you visited your local VA hospital to spend quality time with the paralyzed, wounded, and disfigured reminders of your favorite war? (Hint: I'll raise the proverbial "BS flag" to anyone who responds with anything other than "never.")

    1. I and generations of veterans before me have bestowed upon you an incredible array of rights, rights that you here abuse and dishonor. We have laid our lives on the line, and sacrificed our bodies for our county and our countrymen. You spit on their graves. You would not survive spitting in my face as you have done here. Your comments show you to be the one that is trite, platitudinous, and utterly empty. I would have said vacuous, but you wrote empty. You know nothing of comforting anyone, let alone veterans, or you would not spew such sewage. As a wounded Veteran, and a volunteer at the VA and with Veterans servicde organizations, I know of what I speak. You just make cynical, baseless comments, which really shows who you are. I hope you never darken the door of a veteran, wounded or otherwise; you don't deserve to be with us. Please unwrap the shit-filled flag from around your face; it keeps you from seeing and learning.

      1. <bestowed upon you an incredible array of rights> How so? The current pair of wars were accompanied by a fast erosion of rights; I gather the same was true for most others. Once there was independence the goal was to keep government weak, but war is convenient for expansion of its power; war is a ratchet for government abuse. <spitting>? I'd be (sincerely) curious what you thought of this: http://books.google.com/books?id=IJrzaNOjjzwC&amp… I don't count on finding it at the local Vet Center. <bestowed…vaunted> jeez, sounds like RPG (D&D?).

      2. As a veteran myself, I have to inform you that as a veteran you and all the other veterans have NEVER bestowed ANY rights on the citizens of this country. Those rights you claim to have bestowed were enumerated in the Constitution, DOI and the BOR or were bestowed, as those documents point out, by the Creator. You may think that through your service you bestow these rights but you are wrong. But, as has been pointed out elsewhere in the responses, wars and those who wage war (both in the trenches and those who start the wars) usually facilitate the expansion of the power over the people, thereby lessening these rights and the freedoms that came with them. The Archons are solidifying their power and the people are losing.

        So, "veteran", you are wrong. You (and I) were tools of the warmongers. Nothing more. The only thing we've strengthened over the years is the power to control and subjugate the people. As you so readily accuse, unwrap the flag from YOUR face and look at what we have become. But you won't because flag-wavers like you have been fully indoctrinated and fear looking in the mirror at the lie you've been fed.

      3. The trouble is sir, none of the wars America has fought were wars of self-defense. They were all wars of choice.

      4. As others have said in succeeding posts, you have not "bestowed" anything upon anybody! If you really believe you have, then you not only misunderstandd the nature of your military "profession, " but are living in an alternate reality. The military, after all, has done more to abet the destruction of our liberties and rights by the Imperial Amerikan State than any foreign enemy ever could. That said, I've got news for you, pal:

        We have laid our lives on the line, and sacrificed our bodies for our county and our countrymen.

        You wish, pal. First of all, YOU obviously didn't "sacrifice" jack, as you're still breathing and writing. Second, any non-lethal "sacrifice" you made was for the libido-driven, selfish ambitions of slimy politicians and their criminal corporate puppeteers. NOT ONE "war" fought in the last half century (probably farther back than that, if we want to get technical) has been fought for the DEFENSE of the United States. You were USED, pal. Get used to the idea.

        You spit on their graves.

        Translation: Anyone who disagrees with me and my jingoistic nationalism and who fails to grovel and genuflect at my exalted "veteran's status" desecrates the memory of the dead.

        Perfect "professional veteran" logic.

        In fact, I've never spat on ANYONE'S grave, literally or figuratively. Yours, however, might be my first.

        You would not survive spitting in my face as you have done here.

        Digital blathering on a blog is cheap, pal. Meet face to face with me and see if I change one word of what I've typed here.

        Your comments show you to be the one that is trite, platitudinous, and utterly empty. I would have said vacuous, but you wrote empty. You know …[yadda, yadda, blah, blah, empty, bloviating BS].

        Yet another eructation of vacuous verbal excrement from someone who thinks he's entitled to his state-conferred station in life, one that he believes relieves him of the necessity to think critically, to respect the viewpoints and opinions of civilians he ostensibly "served" and upon whom "rights" he claims to have "bestowed," and who thinks that having served in the Imperial Legions makes him a "hero" and is sufficient to compel others to grovel and genuflect in front of him. I wouldn't be surprised if you're one of those sadsack assholes who wears the "Veteran of [Insert Imperial Misadventure Here] on a colored baseball cap, a sorry, washed-up talentless waste of oxygen who has never done anything of merit in his life other than serve as a bullet-stopper. Ergo, the need to wear his "VETERAN [and don't you forget it!] status on his sleeve.

        Here's a newsflash for you, pal: I TOO AM A VETERAN. The difference, however, between you and me (or should I say the biggest difference of many) is that I view my "time" in the Imperial Legions as being a tragic period of wasted years, destruction, and foregone opportunities to do things beneficial to mankind. My years as a legionnaire are probably the least noteworthy accomplishment of my life. If I could wind back the calendar decades, knowing what I know now, I would not only NEVER have enlisted, but would have actively discouraged everyone I knew and met from doing so. Why? Because the only time any nation EVER has any reason to honor "veterans" — or even have warriors in the first place– is when they have stood and fought ON THEIR OWN SOIL to repel foreign invasion. Mercenaries who fight an empire's battles on foreign soil belonging to lightly-armed, impoverished others who have done that empire no harm and who are doing nothing but justifiably defending their homeland against alien invaders deserve nothing but our contempt.

        Tell you what, pal: You want "respect" as a veteran? How about forming up your own army and leading it on Washington, D.C., where the "rights" you claim YOU have "bestowed" upon me are being violated DAILY in ways no foreign enemy could ever dream of or ever be capable of.

        On second though, no. Having "bestowed" those rights upon me, you've done a truly lousy job of defending them for me. I think I'll contract that operation out next time.

        1. WOW!!! I found this passage to be a perfect refutation of the "I'm a veteran, hippie, so shut your mouth because you wouldn't be able to open your mouth without my buddies dying face down in the mud":
          "If I could wind back the calendar decades, knowing what I know now, I would not only NEVER have enlisted, but would have actively discouraged everyone I knew and met from doing so. Why? Because the only time any nation EVER has any reason to honor "veterans" — or even have warriors in the first place– is when they have stood and fought ON THEIR OWN SOIL to repel foreign invasion. Mercenaries who fight an empire's battles on foreign soil belonging to lightly-armed, impoverished others who have done that empire no harm and who are doing nothing but justifiably defending their homeland against alien invaders deserve nothing but our contempt."

      5. Speaking as the father of a Navy Seabee, who served in Iraq not once but twice, first in Fallujah, and second in and around Balad, I applaud what you have said. We cannot thank these men and women who put themselves in harm's way, for all Americans, including "Liberanter", who I suspect has never served, but cowered behind his mother's petticoats, shouting every time he got the courage, or thought he could get away with it, but never coming out to really show the world he deserved respect or honor.
        If I was in a position to do the same as the Hug Lady, I would. I once flew clear out to the west coast to welcome my own son home, and missed his landing by 5 minutes. I was, and still am very proud of him and the work he does for this country. My own father trained guys to fly in WWII, and my son now has his grandfather's (now deceased) service picture and his Navy wings displayed proudly, for his buddies to see that tradition runs in this family. A tradition to serve, and not be badmouthed by uninformed little people, who I suspect would run the other way if he or she met up with you(veteran) or my son, who definitely teach him a lesson.

        1. And what lesson is that? To be beaten up for daring to disagree with him? Some freedom. Actually Americans have lost freedoms in every war of choice we have fought. Wilson brought in the outrageous SEDITION ACT, FDR incarcerated Japanese-Americans, LBJ's actions in Vietnam led to tragedies like Kent State and now we have the bogus Patriot act.

        2. Absolutely pathetic, yet perfectly predictable. "Dad," if you were any kind of real father, you would be APOLOGIZING PROFUSELY to your son for allowing him to be used as cannon fodder for a selfish, narrow, criminally imperial cause. Yet, being one of the millions of blind, brainless, group-thinking sheeple who believe that your own flesh-and-blood serve no higher purpose than to become sacrifices to the corporate-industrial State, you, who probably never even considered suiting up and serving in the legions (making spurious, hominem assumptions is a game that two can play, loser), has no problems living vicariously through his son. Until, that is, his son meets the wrong end of an Iraqi or Afghan patriot's bullet.

          I'll repeat a question to you, "Dad," that I've asked of every other bumper-sticker patriot who has thoughtlessly sacrificed their offspring to Moloch:

          If your Seabee son comes back from Iraqghanistan a beshrapneled, crippled vegetable (and, with Seabees being a combat-deployable force, the chances of that are VERY real), would you still advocate, LOUDLY AND PUBLICLY, that other Americans encourage their sons to enlist in the Empire's cause?

          I'll let you dwell on that for as long as you need to come up with an appropriate answer. Semi-convincing lies take time for tiny, underpowered minds to cough up.

    2. In 2007 I, my husband and a friend went to the East Orange NJ Veterans hospital with small sundry items and snacks and spent about 5 or 6 hours giving the Vets goodies and talking with them about their lives and thanking them for their service to the country.

      As for those who say this gesture and others are devoid of real meaning, I truly believe that – for the most part, anyway – the Veterans may have a different opinion.

      1. <devoid of real meaning> For one, I wouldn't say that. Those are tangible gestures. But at hearing 'service to the country' I'd begin to shut you out. A man would be extraordinarily lucky to serve his country. Most who use that phrase are conflating it with obedience-to-government at-physical-risk. The 'algebra' between the two is conspicuously missing; they are presumed identical, it is a convention in sloppy reasoning. Hearing it can add to the difficulty of having participated in things you're not proud of, lead to loss of confidence in the country's ability to discern it's own interests (would you also be cheerleeding if I were bombing Timbuktu? Do you discriminate at all? Ever met a war you didn't like?), and is aptly called 'flagwaving.'

      2. But what was the "service" they performed to their country? Invading Iraq? Where were the "WMD"? Vietnam? A war which should never have happened and America should have stayed out of. I mean when was the last time American troops were used to actually repel soldiers from another country from AMERICAN soil? All I can think of is a few bleak islands in the Aleuts in the 40's.

        1. An even repelling the invasion of the Aleutians by the Japanese would never have been necessary if that socialist criminal FDR and the gang of bankster-controlled thugs in his cabinet hadn't gone out of their way to isolate and alienate the Japanese and provoke them into war.

          1. Good point. Thank you. Many Americans just don't get that. They seem to think our history with Japan started on Dec 7 1941. In reality America pursued an 'in your face' policy against Japan for ten years prior to this. America also maintained a large military force in the Philippines which Japan saw as a potential threat.

  4. The pentagon has greeters, who knew? I bet she is salaried. it is amazing how many little people owe their livelihoods to the Pentagon.

    1. Little People? Salaried greeters? Wow. How stupid, but how illustrative at the same time. Your comments only show how small of a person you are. You know nothing of the lives of veterans, their supporters, military personnel, or you wouldn't write such nonsense, thinking you're oh, so clever all the while. You owe your little life to us, even if you are an ungrateful little shit. It is you who owe your livelihood to what we do and have done for the past 230 years or so. Before you take the time to comment in the future, I would suggest knowing something about what you decide to write about. It seems you know little of anything.

      1. "You owe your little life to us…"

        How so? Were an army of Canadians about to storm the Montana border and you stopped them?

  5. Because of Veterans like myself, who have laid our lives on the line, even for the likes of you, you have the freedom to disperse the drivel I see above. You should thank every Veteran you ever come into contact with for the freedoms you enjoy, and, here, abuse. As a Veteran volunteer, I also take great offense to the cynical, baseless and uninformed comment about visiting wounded warriors, etc. That idiot cannot see the truth because his vaunted shit flag is wrapped tightly around his face. Liberantor, you know nothing of which you write, and you are the one who is utterly vacuous and trite Your comment indicates you are the one without meaning in your life, that you are unable to recognize sincerity in others. How sad.. I hope neither of you darken the doorstep of a Veteran, wounded or otherwise–you don't deserve to be with us. I hope that you are both able to make something useful of your lives. You have wasted what I and generations of veterans have given you..

    1. Thank you, Veteran, for your service to our country and for eloquently stating what I am too furious to verbalize.

    2. So the Vietnamese would have taken away my freedom if America hadn't undertaken a foolish intervention there in 1965? Iraq would have taken away my freedom with its non-existent "WMD"? Funny how Canada still has its freedom without such actions.

  6. You know, I've done the same thing outside of the female locker room at Ballies…. …but of course it would be wrong to attribute that motive to the hugging lady… But I'd have to see it to rule that out.

    Dahr Jamail (sp?) has mentioned the issue I'd take with the hugging lady: as a vet, people build you up into their fantasy-on-a-pedestal –it gos with the fantasy they have to sell themselves about war's 'necessity' or 'nobility'. From that, you can get the sense you're dealing with fake people and many of us withdraw. I'd rather have an apology from her for buying both wars while I was enlisted, thus leaving me with zero confidence in the "support" they were selling for "the troops."

  7. I am a veteran of the VietNam War. I was on a carrier and worked on the flight deck helping to launch aircraft for bombing missions. I knew we weren't bombing old Uncle Ho or defending America, we were just killing Vietnamese. I wasn't fighting for anybody's freedom; I just didn't have the guts to go AWOL. After I got out, I gave my uniforms to some neighborhood kids and threw what few medals I had into the trash. I think that anyone seeking honor for having been a part of a wasteful, obscene enterprise like war needs to spiritually grow up.

  8. As a veteran, things like this meant a lot to me each time I came back. And, you can call BS all you want but I see people who go to the VA all the time to volunteer to help veterans.

    But I think you guys have the absolute right to stand behind her and spit on them if that is how you feel. I don;t see how that would solve anything, and neither do the hugs, but I do see one as more humanly productive.

    1. And, as a veteran, I can tell you these people coming off the planes don't get to choose how they defend their country or the policies they are required to enforce. They don't get to say "Hey I just want to be in the US and protect our borders from an enemy threat."

      US voters are the only ones who get to do that by what commanders in chiefs (Presidents) that they select. And, if you voted for Bush or Obama…congratulations …you are the real baby killers.

      Try voting for an non-interventionist Libertarian next time or someone else who won;t make you a criminal…or continue to vote for the Bushes and Obamas of the world and keep killing babies. It's your choice.

      1. They may not get to choose how they defend their country but they DO get to choose to enlist or not. Enlisting in wars of aggression that enable the military-industrial complex, neoconservatives and the Washington establishment is not "defending" your country.

        1. Well stated, Andy. Unfortunately, as is evidenced here by the desperate status quo-defending trolls who've responded here, that simple fact –one based on the time-tested moral principle of self-ownership and free will, I might add– doesn't hold water in an amoral society in its terminal stage of collapse.

          1. We need a military and we need people to join it. We don't need wars of aggression. We don;t need baby killer presidents like Bush and Obama. And we don;t need baby killer voters who keep electing them. But, we do need a military and people to volunteer for it in order to also do the legitimate job of protect ourselves from other countries.

  9. "Because of Veterans like myself, who have laid our lives on the line, even for the likes of you, you have the freedom to disperse the drivel I see above."

    Wow, you laid your life on the line for me. Funny, I don't recall asking you or anyone else to do that for me. Even more interesting, can I ask by what means you can work a computer from the great beyond (you did say you gave your life). Did you fight for the Confederacy or were you a member of the colonial army? After all you claim to have fought for my rights. Was it rough at Valley Forge?

    "You should thank every Veteran you ever come into contact with for the freedoms you enjoy, and, here, abuse."

    Thank you ever so much for defending my freedoms. Would you please pass on my thanks to the rest of those who served in the colonial army?

    I don't owe or any member of the United States military, a worthless US dollar, for my freedoms. I challenge your infantile mind to take amount from its verbal masturbation and cite me one conflict in which you served where you defend me from foreign invasion. You can count to one, can't you? I am certain you mastered that many pushups.

    As for abusing freedoms, care to explain how I can do that? After all, I defer to your expertise. Who better than the US military to comment on how to abuse their freedoms to deprive others of theirs?

    "As a Veteran volunteer, I also take great offense to the cynical, baseless and uninformed comment about visiting wounded warriors, etc. That idiot cannot see the truth because his vaunted shit flag is wrapped tightly around his face. Liberantor, you know nothing of which you write, and you are the one who is utterly vacuous and trite Your comment indicates you are the one without meaning in your life, that you are unable to recognize sincerity in others. How sad.. I hope neither of you darken the doorstep of a Veteran, wounded or otherwise–you don't deserve to be with us."

    What truth? Liberranter and others have asked you to cite what rights and freedoms you bestowed so graciously upon us. The fact you can't come up with any, confirms what we all believe. You willing swallow whatever feces the empire feels fits spew forth and regurgitate it whenever your feelings are hurt.

    You claim he knows nothing of which he writes. Prove it. Write about your experiences fighting off the British at Bunker Hill. Tell him of your tireless work to win Ticonderoga. What, didn't happen to you? But you said you defended our rights. You lied to me, bad statist, no handout.

    My rights aren't in danger in Arabia, Asia, Europe or anywhere else the empire seems to deem as the next global threat (my bet is malicious penguins in Antarctica). My rights are endanger at home, where you and other servants of the state reside under a mistaken belief that my rights emanate from you. The only thing which emanates from you is the stench of the putrid tripe you spew.

    You are right, Liberranter does not deserve to be placed in with the likes of you. He is capable of coherent intellectual thought. You seem only capable of reciting what you hear from your masters. Be proud though, you make a good parrot.

    "I hope that you are both able to make something useful of your lives. You have wasted what I and generations of veterans have given you.. "

    You still fail to cite what you have provided anyone and how you made this special delivery. Wait a second, I know what you gave us, burgeoning debt, a deflated dollar and an empire barely able to stand upon itself. Your heroes must be proud of you. Don't worry, somewhere down below, Julius Caesar, Lincoln and rest are smiling up at you.

    1. Good point. How is stationing American troops in a place like South Korea "defending" my freedom? Canada doesn't station any troops there. It is at least as free as America. They MAY (MAY) be defending freedom in South Korea but that is NOT America. I see no reason why American money and manpower should be squandered to South Koreans benefit. Ditto with Japan, Germany etc.

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