...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003
      ( 11:35 AM )
Interesting Timing

News broke today in the Washington Post that the remains of Howard Dean's brother, Charlie, have been identified in Laos. This comes at a very strange time, though I'm not suggesting anything untoward. But dealing with such an emotional situation can't be easy for Dean or his family now, with all the mounting pressures of the campaign, especially now that the details of Charlie Dean's death are publicized - a subject that Dean and his family have kept very private until now.

Charles Dean was a 24-year-old graduate
of the University of North Carolina traveling
the world when he and a companion, Neil
Sharman of Australia, were arrested in
Laos by the communist Pathet Lao.

The two were detained Sept. 4, 1974,
during a trip down the Mekong River, and
held in a small, remote prison camp for a few
months before being killed. They apparently
were suspected of being spies, although
the U.S. and Australian governments said
they were merely tourists and strongly
protested their detention.

The Dean family has been trying to piece
together the details surrounding Charles
Dean's death for three decades. Dean said
the discovery would be painful not only
for his family, but relatives of every POW
and MIA.

Dean had to go public on his blog because of the attention.

"This has been a long and emotional journey
for my mother, Jim, Bill and me. We greet this
news with mixed emotions but are gratified
that we may now be approaching closure to
this painful episode in our lives. We ask that
you respect our privacy as we arrange for
the transfer, identification and ultimate burial
of what we believe are Charlie Dean's remains.

"I want to particularly thank the United States
military. The men and women I visited with
and stayed with at base camp last year in
Laos are extraordinary human beings. This
whole operation is an extraordinary credit to
the government and the U.S. military. My family
and I are deeply appreciative.

It is a sad time for them now, though I'm sure the closure also helps in some way. I can't begin to imagine what it is like, since my dad came back from Vietnam, and I am so very thankful fo that. But if any candidate can relate to how the parents and siblings and spouses of those coming home dead from Iraq right now are feeling, I think Dean probably can.

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