Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Support Our Troops

I saw two documentaries on the Sundance Channel last night, Bush. Well, one and three-quarters, to be absolutely truthful: the second proved too long for my tired head. But they provided a searing study in contrasts, and I thought you should hear about them. I don't recall the titles, but that's not important. I'll just call them "the first" and "the second," because they came on in that order.

The first, then, was a hard, unsparing examination of the build-up toward your invasion of Iraq. Working chronologically, it took every one of the arguments you made for war and demolished them one by one, juxtaposing statements emanating from senior members of your administration with those of informed diplomats, CIA insiders, military brass, former high-placed government bureaucrats, men--almost exclusively!--of substance, authority, and standing, whose integrity seemed beyond question.

Arrayed against these voices were your own, Bush; your Cheney's; your Rumsfeld's; your Wolfowitz's; your Rice's; and--regrettably--your Powell's. He always seemed like a man of high probity, before he allowed himself to be shamelessly used before the Security Council of the United Nations. Propagandists all, you were, Bush, bent on selling your benighted adventure to the American people and the world at large. (You managed the feat at home, failed miserably abroad.) You spoke, all of you, with such absolute confidence and certainty; about Saddam's threat to our security (wrong!), his chemical and biological arsenal (wrong!), his association with terrorists and his involvement in the World Trade Center attack (wrong!), his acquisition of materials needed in the manufacture of nuclear weapons (wrong!) With the clarity of hindsight, we now know every one of these rationalizations to have been false: what you offered to the American people, as their elected President, was a continuous stream of half-truths, distortions, misrepresentations, and outright lies, in a deliberate, months-long assault on the truth to justify a war that we now see clearly to have been totally unnecessary.

And then, Bush, in deeply poignant contrast, there was the second documentary, this one a series of studies of young veterans returning wounded from your battlefield. I tell you, after watching those bald-faced lies, those prevarications, those cynical manipulations... the sheer, unpretentious, unembittered honesty of these men was overwhelming. Blinded, their bodies mutilated, they were simply occupied with adjusting to the inconvenience and getting on with the business of their lives. They recounted their experiences, describing the horrific causes of their wounds in plain-spoken, matter-of-fact language, speaking their truth with absolute honesty and complete absence of rancor or recrimination. Their courage in the face of unimaginable pain, their selflessness, their dedication to a cause they evidently believed in without question, their loyalty, even their patriotism--and you know my personal feelings about that word, Bush--were at once deeply moving and, well… uplifting.

So here's the question I have for you this morning, Bush: do you deserve the loyalty of these men? Is your war worthy of their courage and their dedication? I return with such anger to the dance of lies, the glib, complacent assertions of quick and easy victory and minimal cost, the deliberate misinformation and self-serving distortion of intelligence. I return to the rehearsed official statements, the reiteration of claims already proven to have been untrue, the political machinations… and I have to give you a resounding NO! You and your war are not worthy of the men and women who fight it for you. And I still honor and marvel at their strength, their courage, their loyalty...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

SO interesting to hear the same doubts and questions coming through your media as we have here in the UK. SO much disquiet with SO many people! F