Bush's legacy: One Nation Deceived

Discussion in 'Politics' started by TigerO, Apr 21, 2004.

  1. TigerO



    "One Nation, Deceived

    Published on Monday, April 19, 2004 by the Hartford Courant

    by Frank Harris III

    The star-spangled banner still waves in many hearts, and 9/11 still remains - but there is a growing sense of betrayal.

    A betrayal of trust.

    Recent Gallup Polls show many Americans turning against this war. It is not just the growing casualties, but the American presence in Iraq itself. And the president, George W. Bush, in his press conference last week, has done little to stop the turn.

    It is one thing to fight and risk dying for a just and honest cause; it is another to be misled. All the flag-waving in the world cannot make up for being sent to war under false pretenses.

    American soldiers are in Iraq under false pretenses.

    I am no pacifist. Some wars are necessary. Striking back at those who attacked America on 9/11 was a just cause. But I am hard-put to see how that strike-back could lead America into Iraq. It is the equivalent of A attacking B and instead of B striking back at A, B goes after C, who had nothing to do with it.

    Weapons of mass destruction? Targeting al-Qaida? Avenging 9/11? Iraq was not the right place.

    The argument that leaving Iraq is what the bad Iraqis want us to do, so we must stay, is a Vietnam argument. It is the kind of rationale that led to years of staying in Vietnam long after the point of sensibility. Try as the president and others might to have everyone avoid a comparison, folks do not stop thinking of making comparisons and - in a democracy with a First Amendment - expressing those comparisons.

    It is there. It is growing, this comparison. The quagmire. The escalation. The false premise. The body bags. Flags at half-staff.

    In Iraq, there is no liberation. There is occupation. There are no weapons of mass destruction. There are only the weapons we have brought to destroy masses of people, and those to which increasing numbers of Iraqi insurgents are turning to destroy masses of our people.

    No one wants to suggest that American lives in Iraq have been spent in vain. All life means something. And it is the soldier's duty to do what he or she is ordered to do. But being in Iraq is so wrong.

    America should do what should have been done in the first place: work with the United Nations to resolve this. It is still what must be done, though it will be tougher now. Too many American lives have been lost. The numbers keep mounting. There is an investment of blood.

    And our president said, "Bring 'em on."

    Since the president has been in the mood for a constitutional amendment, here's another: I move that there be a constitutional amendment that every president, before committing anyone else's sons and daughters to combat or a hostile situation, first pledge his own son and daughter to the war effort.

    Regardless of age or occupation, a president's offspring should be pulled from whatever they are doing, sent to basic training, measured for a uniform and shipped out with a combat unit to the front line.

    Yes, a tour of duty for the Bush twins.

    A war made real, fretful and personal for those in power might make decision-making more thoughtful, reflective and considerate of everyone's life - with a reduced tendency to say, ``Bring 'em on."

    But that doesn't solve the situation now.

    It is up to the citizens of this nation to ensure the people we elect do the right thing.

    There can be no sugarcoating, no smoothing the ruffled feathers of the truth. America's soldiers have been betrayed, not by those who oppose the war, but by those who sent them to war under false pretenses.

    There was no reason to go to war in Iraq. The attacks of 9/11 were a pretext, and there is no happy ending around the bend or on the blue horizon.

    The war will continue, the casualties will mount and, sooner rather than later, the nation's people will have to take a hard look at the Bush administration.

    A hard look at the betrayal."

    Frank Harris III is chairman of the journalism department at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. He can be reached at fh3ownword@rcn.com.