I'm a war president, George Bush informed Tim Russert over a year ago on
"Meet the Press", in perhaps the single Bushism upon which all Americans -
and all the world - can agree. I make decisions here in the oval office, in
foreign policy matters, with war in mind.
Despite this single-mindedness, there are real doubts about the War
President's understanding of his very own war, an understanding Pulitzer
Prize winning reporter Seymour Hersh has characterized as hallucinatory. As
our troops were crossing into Baghdad city limits, our Commander-In-Chief
was doing a victory jig on the deck of an aircraft carrier under a banner
reassuring us (and presumably him) that the mission had been accomplished.
Over two years later, all that's been accomplished is the loss of 1700 of
our GIs. Upwards of thirteen thousand Americans have been horribly wounded
and only God can count the number of Iraqi children who have been killed,
maimed and orphaned.
And now, not surprisingly, we are running out of new recruits. In May the
army missed its recruiting goal for the fourth month in a row. Applications
are down significantly at our prestigious service academies, reflecting a
drop off of post 9/11 patriotic fervor. Parents are learning to shoo
recruiters from their doorsteps.
This all makes Americans jumpy about a future draft. Well draft be damned,
why don't those who profess to support this insupportable war come forward
to fight in it?
Why doesn't George W. Bush do his duty as War President by going to his base
(those souls who can say with a straight face that this war is in the best
interests of the United States) and asking, publicly, for volunteers?
Perhaps he doesn't do it because this administration doesn't do anything
publicly. Americans didn't even know they were involved in a decades-long
war until many of their young had already died in Iraq.
Why haven't the right wing elitists, the political and media types, jumped
on the Uncle-Sam-Wants-You bandwagon?
Certainly, there's no shortage of passion on the pro-war side. No less an
authority on good and evil than Fox News Network's Sean Hannity informs us
on p.6 of his book "Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism and
Liberalism," ...(the) threat they (the terrorists) represent is every bit
as grave as the one we experienced during WW II... Hannity is fond of
playing the WW II card to contrast the bravery of kids who marched en masse
down to the recruiter on Dec. 8, 1941 with his vision of despicable
liberalism. But instead of whining about liberals, why doesn't Hannity use
his bilious pulpit to ask like-minded Americans to perform their patriotic
duty. The public has a right to expect that he'll encourage his own kids to
enlist when the time comes and give their lives, if necessary, to "defend"
The College Republicans, those enthusiasts who pumped their fists in the air
and burped up pro-Bush war whoops every time a camera turned their way
during the presidential campaign, should put their education on hold to
relieve overextended and overstressed fellow Americans in the field In
fact, why are College Republicans even in college?
Realistically though, the War Machine will continue to go into the working
class high schools where kids will be dogged by wily and relentless
recruiters, armed with laptops, lies and advanced marketing techniques. If
a kid doesn't want to sign up, he might just think he does by the time the
recruiter gets through with him. Some of these boys and girls will die.
Some will come home to spend their lives on the economic margins of America,
isolated on the back streets and the small towns, the kind of kids who will
never have reason to rub shoulders with the scions of the war's architects.
The kind of kids Rudyard Kipling immortalized in verse when he described his
own society's dismissive attitude to Tommy, the British soldier recruited
from England's lower classes.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is Country" when the guns begin to shoot;
Author Tom Clancy relates a conversation he had with neocon Richard Perle in
which the odiferous Perle berated Colin Powell for worrying about the safety
of American troops.
The neocons and White House sycophants, whose job it is to punch in every
day and determine the fate of Western Civilization for Mr. Bush and the rest
of us, should be made to realize that true American patriots value the lives
of those they ask to serve.
If Mr. Bush were the strong leader he says he is, he'd deliver the message
A freelance writer, Michael Nolan recently took an early retirement from his career as a systems analyst in Boston. He's had a short story published in the Dublin Writer's Workshop Electric Acorn and has had travel pieces in the Patriot Ledger, Quincy, MA. and a human interest piece in the St. John's (NF) Telegram.