By MARC McDONALD
George W. Bush today celebrates his 60th birthday. For the past few weeks, he's been yucking it up with friends and family and cracking jokes about his "personal crisis" of turning 60.
I can think of 2,538 people who would have wished they'd faced that "crisis" in life: the 2,538 U.S. soldiers who died in Iraq because of Bush's lies.
Most of the U.S. soldiers who died in Iraq were killed in their early 20s. Although Bush fancies himself as a "war president," he himself was never anywhere near a battlefield when he was of military age. Indeed, when his country was at war in Vietnam, Bush was actively going out of his way to avoid combat service. In the end, Bush couldn't even be bothered to finish out the last two years of his term in the National Guard.
Bush's cowardice during the Vietnam War, of course, didn't keep him from loudly proclaiming his support of that war after the fact. It also didn't keep him from smearing the distinguished war record of John Kerry in the 2004 election.
Bush lied about Kerry. But Bush's greatest lies are the lies he told America in 2002 when he was furiously trying to rally the nation into accepting his war on Iraq.
We progressives are often smeared by the GOP as people who supposedly "don't support" America's troops. But in fact, we do support the troops. We just don't support putting them in harm's way for a pack of lies.
By contrast, Bush had no such qualms. And today, as he celebrates his 60th birthday, we should remember the 2,538 soldiers who died young in Iraq. They are the men and women who died unnecessarily in Iraq for Bush's lies.