In an earlier post on my blog, I detailed my belief that the real way to support American soldiers would be to bring them home. I denounced the idea that we must "finish the job" in order to make their sacrifices worthwhile.
Unfortunately, this kind of thinking still saturates the country, as evidenced by president Bush's speech today at the Arlington National Cemetery.
In the midst of all the proper honoring of the men and women who have served our country now and in the past, Bush couldn't help but insert a political message. "Those who serve are not fatalists or cynics," he said. "They know that one day this war will end, as all wars do. Our duty is to make sure this war was worth the sacrifice."
No, Mr. Bush. Your duty, and the duty of the government that you are a part of, is to refrain from using war as an instrument of foreign policy except where it is absolutely necessary. Your duty is to make it so that the only causes that you will send the young men and women of this country to die for are ones that are inherently "worth the sacrifice."
And, Mr. Bush, your duty most certainly is not to start an invasion of a sovereign nation on false pretenses, only later changing your justification to this pursuit of freedom and democracy that so many of the people blindly rally behind you on. Your duty is to tell the full, unabridged truth when the lives of this nation's young people are on the line.
"This is our country's calling," Bush said. "It's our country's destiny."
Mr. Bush, never reduce the destiny of America, as defined by the founding fathers as well as every man, woman, and child who has ever lived here, to being a massive industrial-military machine that invades sovereign nations without international support, and pushes entire regions of the world into total chaos. Never reduce the 'great experiment' of freedom and democracy to being a monster that feeds on the spirit of the world - the very spirit that made it possible. Never reduce the land of the free and the home of the brave to being the land of the aggressor and the home of the fearful. That is not our destiny. That is not America.
Bush said that this nation's freedoms "came at a great cost and they will surive only so long as there are those who are willing to protect them." At last, Mr. Bush, you speak some truth. But you are not one who has been known to protect our freedoms, Mr. Bush. Your PATRIOT Act makes it possible for entire sections of the Bill of Rights to be tossed aside if investigators think it will help them. Of 814,073 people charged in immigration courts under your Department of Homeland Security in the past three years, only 12 faced terrorism charges, and only 114 were charged with national security violations. That means that only one and a half hundredths of a percent of those 'dangerous' people being processed through the sketchy methods of the DHS are actually a concern at all.
I am ashamed of our country if we accept and embrace Bush's mantra. America has always been dedicated to freedom and democracy, and everyone agrees that the men and women who have died serving our nation throughout its history are noble. But now Bush, quite possibly the biggest internal threat to freedom, democracy, and our men and women in uniform in the history of America, is able to use his 'support' of those things to make himself and his war look good. What has America come to, if he can do that?
Perhaps there is still a small glimmer of hope for our country in this debacle: As Bush's motorcade passed over the Potomac River, it went by a lone man holding a sign that said "Bring our troops home." Amen. Amen.