My, my. So many offenses to choose from, so little space in which to write about them.
It's as though George Bush is having a fine game of darts, playing on a board in which each section is the bull's-eye. Only problem is, each bull's-eye is yet another puncture in our democracy, yet another wound for ordinary Americans to bleed from.
Take the dart he's thrown at our nation's veterans these past few days - men and women who are accustomed to bleeding for America, to be sure.
Contrary to accusations in some of our letters to the editor that I'm "against veterans," I rather like veterans. I got to know a few of them, growing up as I did with a father who lost a leg at the Battle of the Bulge. There were many visits to the VA hospital's wooden leg room for fittings when I was growing up.
I never met my Uncle Joe, of course. He died before I was born. In fact, he was the first soldier from Washingtonville to give his life in World War II.
When I was marching in Memorial Day parades, first as a Girl Scout and later as a musician in the high school band, the marchers always stopped at my Uncle Joe's grave site in St. Mary's Catholic cemetery. It was there that the military men shot off their guns in a salute to our war dead.
He's forgotten by most these days, the honor now going to those lying in fresher graves.
My Uncle Tony bobbed in the Pacific for 20 hours awaiting rescue after his plane went down returning from a bombing mission. My Uncle Alex, the sole support of his younger siblings, served in the Pacific, too.
And a dozen of my classmates either died in Vietnam or came back severely wounded or partly crazy.
So I'm not "against veterans." Opposing Bush's insane war in Iraq should not be confused with opposing the soldiers he sends there. I have nothing but respect for them - and anger on their behalf.
Why the anger? Because even as Bush so cynically places them in harm's way, he's busy gutting the VA budget back home. He intends to drop the soldiers of this war like a hot potato when all is said and done.
The Bush budget would cut billions from the VA beginning in 2008 - numbers so preposterous that it seems like he must be making them up. Veterans groups say the only way Bush's numbers work is to either throw hundreds of thousands of vets out of the system or redefine who is a veteran.
Meanwhile, the need for VA services is only rising. As of Wednesday, 16,742 American soldiers have been wounded in Iraq. These are not folks who got their little toe blown off. Many of them have suffered grievous injuries because our medical technology is keeping alive those who would have died in former wars - alive but permanently damaged from head injuries, loss of all their limbs, blindness and the rest of the lovely consequences of Bush's war.
The VA system is already running out of beds for them. Last year, the inpatient count at veterans hospitals was 54 percent higher than in 2001.
And let's not forget the mental problems. More than a third of our soldiers are returning from Iraq in need of counseling, according to the Pentagon. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Two sessions with a shrink won't make that horror go away.
So, yeah, I'm angry on their behalf. And I know my father would be livid if he were alive to see this mess.
My father was a veteran, and he was proud to serve. He never minded too much about the leg. But then, his was a war - and a president - he could believe in.
Good news! Reader Mike Palkovic has pointed out that my countdown to Inauguration Day 2009 has been off by five days. There are fewer days than we thought! I've made the adjustment. There are now 1,051 days 'til Inauguration 2009. I say we have a drink together when we hit triple digits.
Beth Quinn's column appears on Monday.
© 2006 Times-Herald Record