I haven’t written much on politics in a while because, quite frankly, it was all making me sick. No one will be shocked to learn how much I despise Bush and his team, but no matter how low they go, it always seems there’s yet another step down for them to take.
Witness their latest stunt: challenging John Kerry’s Purple Heart medals. They’re actually suggesting that maybe he didn’t really deserve them. For anyone to do this is preposterous; for Bush it borders on satire.
Here we have a guy who can only prove that he had a dental checkup during Vietnam questioning just how badly injured another guy was while actually fighting. It boggles the mind how people can support this. Since Bush supporters often find themselves in alternate realities, one more shouldn’t trouble them, so please indulge me in a little exercise.
Let’s pretend for a moment that a thirty-year old paperwork error is uncovered and one of Kerry’s medals wasn’t actually earned. So now he only has two Purple Hearts. This still shows more duty to his country than Captain Cavity. Suppose another Purple Heart was an error. Well that would suck, but since Kerry’s got three of them, that still leaves one. Now we’re going to actually take away that last one. Gasp! John Kerry received no Purple Hearts in Vietnam! What would we do?
What we’d do is point out that, if nothing else, Kerry went to Vietnam and served there. Even if he hadn’t gotten wounded, hadn’t done anything more than just go there, serve his term, and come back, that’s still more than Sergeant Spitsink did. Kerry actually went. He didn’t run to his Daddy to avoid it, and didn’t then avoid the cushy position he landed in lieu of it.
Why are thirty-year old military records important? Well, for some people, they show how much a man is willing to do for his country. In Kerry’s case, he was willing to go fight in a war he didn’t believe in. In Bush’s case, he was willing to avoid a war he did believe in. Bush has no problem sending other people to war, but don’t ask him to go himself.
But more than that, it’s about how this President, who once said something about bringing integrity back to the White House, has missed no opportunity to party with some truly reprehensible individuals, persons like Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Karl Rove, people so twisted they have to screw their pants on in the morning. People who suggest that a guy who shirked even his lightweight duty during Vietnam should question a guy who literally caught shrapnel for his country.
And if that weren’t enough, this same person who talks about duty and morals and supporting the troops, not only sent a bunch of unprepared Other Peoples’ Kids to fight in a war based on the lie that they were saving the world from terrible weapons, not only sent them there without the proper equipment, but now, now he’s going to help out the troops again!
These young men and women — the ones who aren’t getting killed, that is — have a tough job. They’re on a sinking ship, trying desperately to bail it out with colanders. This situation is not their fault, they were put there by a guy who ignored reports of holes in the boats, who lied about the distance the boat would need to travel, and who gave the contract for the buckets to his rich buddies, who discovered they could save money by supplying colanders instead. So obviously they can’t come home right away, even though many of them have families that are depending on them for support.
Never fear! He’s letting them cover the financial hardship of having to stay in Iraq by allowing them to dip into their retirement savings without penalty! How magnanimous! How compassionate! How patriotic!
I’ve already discussed the ridiculousness of Bush running as a hard-liner against terrorism when, at every opportunity, he has chosen not to fight against terrorism, but to fight against something else and call it terrorism (such as Abortion Rights). Consider this chapter two, then, how this President is all about supporting the troops, even though there’s no evidence of him doing so.
There’s a fundamental element tying all of this together, one that should be obvious to anyone who is paying attention. Once you see it, everything makes sense, and it all clicks into place. It’s not a grand conspiracy theory — this administration frustrates conspiracy theorists by cheerfully doing all its machinations right out in the open — just plain old common sense. But that’s another entry.