Monday, March 19, 2007

Bush Has Set An Appallingly Bad Example For Wartime Sacrifice

This Los Angeles Times op-ed by Kitty Kelley really says it all. The only thing I'd like to add to this piece is that during World War II, FDR set taxes at a responsible level that enabled America to (A) fight the war without racking up crushing deficits and (B) make sure that everyone contributed---even those who stayed home while our soldiers fought overseas.
By contrast, today's fratboy-in-chief doesn't call for any war-time sacrifice on the home front, least of all from his family. And while FDR's war-time inauguration balls were low-key and subdued, Bush staged one of the most expensive, lavish inaugurations in American history in 2005. And now Bush seems to just spend all his time trying to figure out how to cut Paris Hilton's taxes. I guess letting Hilton buy yet another yacht is more important than giving our troops adequate armor for combat.

Why aren't the Bush daughters in Iraq?
By Kitty Kelley
When I was a little girl in a convent school, the nuns impressed on me the power of setting a good example. These beloved teachers are no longer around to instruct the president and his family, so I recommend that the Bushes learn from Mark Twain, who said: "Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest."

My suggestion comes after the White House announcement earlier this month that Jenna Bush, one of the president's twin daughters, is writing a book on her all-expenses-paid trip to Panama, where she worked for a few weeks as an intern for UNICEF. Jenna Bush is quoted as saying she will donate her earnings from her book to UNICEF, a commendable gesture, considering her father's net worth of $20 million. But while the 25-year-old makes the rounds of TV talk shows this fall in a White House limousine, dozens of her contemporaries will be arriving home from Iraq in wooden boxes. In Britain, Prince Harry is insisting on going off to Iraq — even as his country is reducing its troop commitment.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt showed how the power of good example could also be powerfully good politics. When he led the country to sacrifice in World War II, his children enlisted and his wife traveled to military bases to counsel and comfort the families of soldiers. Newsreels showed the president's four sons fighting with the Marines in the Pacific, flying with the Army Air Forces in North Africa and landing with the Navy at Normandy. Soon other public figures followed suit — movie stars (James Stewart and Clark Gable) enlisted and sports heroes (Joe DiMaggio and Hank Greenberg) went off to war.

The contrast between FDR's good example during wartime and that of George W. Bush is stark and sad. The Bush family rallies to the political campaigns of its scions and spends months on the road raising money and shaking hands to put their men into public office. In fact, the public image of their cohesive family — the pearl-choked matriarch surrounded by progeny and springer spaniels — helped cinch more than one presidency for the Bushes. Yet now, when its legacy is most in peril, the family seems to be squandering its good will on a mess of celebridreck.

The president tells us Iraq is a "noble" war, but his wife, his children and his nieces and nephews are not listening. None has enlisted in the armed services, and none seems to be paying attention to the sacrifices of military families. Until Jenna's trip to Panama, the presidential daughters performed community service only when mandated by a court after they were cited for underage drinking. Since then they have surfaced in public during lavish presidential trips with their parents, bar-hopping outings in Georgetown and champagne-popping art openings in New York.

The first lady, so often lauded for her love of literacy, has not been seen in the reading rooms of veterans' hospitals. The president's sister, Doro, publicly picketed Al Gore's last days in the vice president's mansion as he awaited the Supreme Court's decision on the Florida recount of 2000. Yet she has been strangely absent from publicly supporting her brother's war.

The presidential nieces and nephews also have missed the memo on setting a good public example. Ashley Bush — the youngest daughter of the president's brother, Neil, and Neil's ex-wife, Sharon — was presented to Manhattan society at the 52nd Annual International Debutantes Ball at the Waldorf Astoria. Her older sister, Lauren, a runway model, told London's Evening Standard that she is a student ambassador for the United Nations World Food Program, but she would not lobby her uncle for U.S. funds. Her cousin, Billy Bush, chronicles the lives of celebrities on "Access Hollywood."

"Uncle Bucky," as William H.T. Bush is known within the family, is one presidential relative who has profited from the Iraq war. He recently sold all of his shares in Engineered Support Systems Inc. (ESSI), a St. Louis-based company that has flourished under the president's no-bid policy for military contractors. Uncle Bucky told the Los Angeles Times that he would have preferred that ESSI, on whose board he sits, was not involved in Iraq, "but, unfortunately, we live in a troubled world."

The only member of the Bush family to show the strains of our "troubled world" is former President George H.W. Bush, who shed tears recently while addressing the Florida Legislature. The elder Bush was talking about son Jeb's gubernatorial loss in 1994. Jeb, who was later elected, tried to console him. But the sobs of Bush 41 seemed to be more about his older son's "noble" war.

Perhaps the father's sadness sprang from his own experience fighting in what his parents called "Mr. Roosevelt's war" — the good war — the war that saved the world from tyranny. He enlisted at 18 to fly torpedo bombers. He flew 58 missions in two years and returned home a war hero. Since then, no one in his large family has seen fit to follow his sterling example of service and patriotism.


Anonymous said...

Bush's 2005 inauguration cost around $40 million. That would have bought a lot of armor for our troops in Iraq. Instead it bought champagne and caviar for Bush and his billionaire buddies.

Anonymous said...

Al Gore: please, please re-consider and run for office in 2008: America needs you more than ever. What a different world we'd live in today if Gore had been able to assume office in 2000.

Anonymous said...

Who the hell would want Dubya's daughter's in the service? They would just disappear like Dubya did during the Nam years. Not that they couldn't use the time for rehab or such.

Anonymous said...

First of all, if you think that funding a war is all about providing body armor, than you are dead wrong. Troops in Iraq aren't affected nearly as much by AK-47s than they are by IEDs which apparently kill plenty of people with plating. The body armor is actually something of a hinderance. Maybe before making stupid assumptions about the intelligence a man with an MBA and great grades in college (Better than John Kerry's) or for that matter his morality (There are plenty of picture of bush in tears because of deaths in Iraq) you should examine your comparison. FDR hid the truth from the American people about Peral Harbor, he did it to get into a war (Sound familiar). The primary differance between Bush and FDR is that Bush didn't have any hand in 9\11 (I don't think you evil for trying to find the truth, but do please read the book Popular Science wrote on the subject) And if you honestly think that Bush feels no sympathy for troops in Iraq, than you should really consider what you are implicating. Do you honestly belive that a man could be that heartless, that brutal, or uncaring. Only extreme cases of anti-social personalities can exibit this sort of behavior, also, Bush might be a terrible speaker, but he is no Anti-social personality. And by the way, to all of you who think that Al should be president, I personally belive that you are diluding yourselves.(Mispelling noted) If George Bush can be as evil as he is, then Al Gore, (Who would feel much less responsability for advancing a lie than killing thousands of people) than Al Gore, who shows no real difference in behavior (Except for incredible habitual Lying.)could lie. Are you truely that hateful of a man you don't even know, of a man that you know only through a TV screen. You can hate your cousin if you know him, but I don't hate Alec Baldwin for making stupid comments about 9\11. And the logical implications of your comparison of military families in Iraq is contradictory for several reasons. 1: It implies that families are forced to sacrifice there sons and daughters to fight a war, America has an all voulenteer army Dumbass, even if Bush wanted to, a draft would never be passed. Also, you imply that you have the right to force someone to go to a country you want them to go, Bush never forced the young Americans to sign up for military service, and he never intended to. It was the American people who developed the Idea of "If you don't want the war you are a traitor." It was just Bush's terrible speaking that caused the illusion that he made any effort to advance this idea. By the way, I am not a conservitive at all. I am much closer to Libertarian. I am fine if two Gay guys or gals want to marry, frankly, I don't give a damn, if a woman wants to have an abortion, as long as she is presented with other options and is explained the risks of such operations and the fetus cannot be given validity as a living human, I don't care. But if someone wants to tell the free market what to do, I have a problem. If some Republican lobbyist wants to give subsities to Wal-Mart, I have a problem. If a Democrat wants to expand welfare, or even advocate a minimum wage, I have a problem. Don't try and call me one of those Conservitives just because I disagree with you. You immitate the "If you disagree with the war, than you are a traitor" line. To put it simply listen to this quote, if you don't know who said it, kill yourself so you don't pass on the idiot gene "Don't judge, lest ye be judged"

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I said "a" instead of "of a"
on line 8

Anonymous said...

To the first anonymous, from a man that knows Al Gore better than you, to allow such a man to be president would ultimately put America under even more control by special interests groups than any president in history.

Anonymous said...

Dear Pro-Bush Cretin,
Bush had plenty to do with 9/11. His family owned the company in charge of security for the WTC. Interestingly the power for the buildings repeatedly went down just on the weekends rendering the security cameras inoperable, so the many witnesses that saw workmen entering the buildings during these outages can not have their statements corroborated. The fact that thermite evidence has been found on the remains of the structure, and multiple videos show molten metal as well as numerous firefighters having witnessed the same, the fact that every profession has organized a 9/11 Truth organization because steel buildings don't implode from fire-whether the mob had the fireproofing contract or not, the fact that his administration has blocked the families of the deceased from finding out the truth at every turn, the fact that the 9/11 Commission was a whitewash every bit as bad as the
Warren Commission, the fact that he went from being an unpopular do-nothing president with more vacation days spent away from Washington than any president in history, and the 9/11 event gave him sweeping unprecedented powers allowing him to introduce the 'yellowcake lie,' and kill hundreds and hundreds of thousands Iraqis and thousands of American boys instead of going after those responsible, to wit: the Saudis. Q: Why were Saudis the only people allowed to fly (out of the US) when all commercial air traffic was shut down? A: Because the Bush family have made millions by sleeping with (being buggered by,) Bandar Bush and others that had a hand in the event- and on and on and on ad nauseam. Your defense of these traitors is spurious in the extreme. More soldiers are killed by IEDs than bullets, true, so lets leave those getting shot at unprotected, right? Good point. After Pearl Harbor (yes we coerced Japan into waging war on us, and the point of that is?) people didn't sit around and wait for the draft, pal. I know at least two of his sons enlisted and I believe they all did. They also won silver and bronze stars for bravery under heavy enemy fire-- all of them. The man you love sat out Vietnam when his daddy pulled strings and got him posted in the Texas Air Guard where he got drunk and snorted cocaine, and don't forget someone went to Vietnam in his place. I could go on forever, but I'm done with you. You are part of the problem, not the solution. Oh yeah, he stole both elections, let's not forget. Jeb Bush for President of the USA, 2016. I mean he is president. Its already been decided, mark my words. Enjoy yourself.