Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Can Bush do anything right?

The latest uproar over the way war veteran's are treated at Walter Reed medical center in Washington, D.C. should surprise no one who has seen through the lies and rhetoric of this group of war-mongering chickenhawks. I'm not surprised. Outraged, sure...in a long line of outrages, but not surprised. Here's why...

In 1990, I was a freshly graduated high school student who enlisted in the Delayed Entry Program of the Navy in the peaceful and optimistic summer of 1990, just 20 days after receiving my high school diploma. I had no reason to suspect a war, since my senior year was graced with positive news on all counts...the flood of vacationing East Germans through Hungary into Austria; the fall of one autocratic regime after another in Eastern Europe, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the execution of dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu (thanks for contributing another name to the reputation of bad Nicholases!), and the release of Nelson Mandela in South Africa along with the end of apartheid. Graduating into that kind of world was awesome! So, a stint in the Navy didn't look too risky. But later that summer, Saddam decided to invade Kuwait, thus threatening the world's oil supply. At the time, I was gung ho about the war. I even bought a Saddam voodoo doll and would use it to pound away my frustrations. He made a convincing punching bag. My parents didn't know why I seemed to hate the guy...after all, he did nothing to me personally. He was just the latest media-created boogie man. But, I was young, naive, and easily manipulatable.

I supported the 1991 Gulf War. I didn't understand peace demonstrators. Though I didn't have a problem with flag burning (after all, I burned one myself in the summer of 1989, just to see what all the fuss was about), but I thought it was wrong to protest that war. I liked how President G. H. W. Bush was able to get a coalition of allies to fight that war and I was even excited about participating in that war. He fought war the way it should be done...through international cooperation and troops from many nations, like France, Britain, Australia...our allies. I was set to ship off to boot camp in May, but got my date moved up to March 20, 1991. That was the soonest I could go without losing my guaranteed "A" school. So, when Bush declared an end to the war after evicting the Iraqis from Kuwait, a mere 100 hours of ground invasion, I was disappointed. I wanted Bush to go all the way to Baghdad to topple Saddam. It was depressing. The war was over before I got to participate. But when Bush said his reasons for not going on to Baghdad, chief among them, that we would lose allied support, inflame the Muslim world, and inherit a host of potential problems to keep Iraq's three main groups from engaging in civil war. Well, it wasn't the outcome I preferred, but I respected Bush a great deal then.

Fast forward to the late 1990s. I'm out of the Navy. I'm in college. Saddam is acting up occasionally, which prompts Clinton to send a few multi-million dollar missiles to strategic targets. And I learn what a sham the first Gulf War was. I mean, what was it about? A novelist even wrote an intriguing novel about how Reagan and Bush adopted Prime Minister Thatcher's strategy of boosting one's approval ratings domestically by fighting a "splendid little war" against a weaker country. But what really angers me is hearing the experience of my good friend Frank McDonald. He was in the Marines, made a career of it. A really fit guy. After he retired, he has been suffering from the mysterious Gulf War syndrome. I've experienced his odd passing out spells and even caught him before he fell on the floor. We were just talking and all the sudden, he starts to fall and I manage to catch him just in time. Weird! And the more I learn about Gulf War syndrome and government red tape in dealing with veterans makes me angrier and angrier. I expect that the Soviet government would treat their Afghani war veterans that way, but not the good old USA! What happened to the government that treated the returning vets of WWII with honor, the G.I. Bill, low mortgages, and the like? They built our country. It was good payback by our grateful government for winning a true moral war.

Now we are where we are...a government run by chickenhawks who found various reasons not to fight in a war that they had supported, who slimed the reputations of true veterans of war with lies (Gore, McCain, Cleland, Kerry, Murtha to name but a few), who saw nothing wrong with lying to get the war of their wet dreams, and for calling those who questioned their motives or their "facts" as unpatriotic. And for claiming to be "for the troops", what do they get in return for their services? They get shoddy treatment at military hospitals. They get billed for the food they eat. They get billed for housing. The soldiers get the bills to add to their misery, while the civilian contractors get the $10,000 a month or more tax-free salaries. How is that supporting the troops?!?

If you are one of those who support this administration blindly...why? No one who considers himself or herself an authentic Christian can look at all the facts from the past 7 years and think that this is how Jesus would behave. Yet, Bush is allowed to call himself a "Christian" and not be challenged on that point. Nope...Bush is the charlatan Jesus had warned his followers about. "By their fruits, ye shall know them" Jesus said. And the fruits of Bush's administration are lies, disaster, grief, a destroyed country, a broken one at home, a city in ruins, and many broken lives. If this is how Republicans show their gratitude to the very people who support them (it's no secret that the military is predominately Republican), then I am so glad not to be a member of that party. They show time and again what they think of anyone who isn't rich. We're just cannon fodder. And if we have the good fortune to make it back alive, then the medical services will definitely get you in the end. Like my friend Frank McDonald...a true follower of Christ. I wish Bush would meet someone like Frank and learn what it really means to love Jesus with all your heart. But, as we all know, Bush doesn't have the courage to meet true Christians...because deep down, he has to know what a fraud he is. It's the shame of his life he'll take to his grave, and unfortunately, he has ruined many lives in the process.

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