Tuesday, August 19, 2003

This should give everybody a reason NOT to be afraid of FIGHTING the Bushies:
No military induction board in its right mind would allow a man so sick to serve. Yet Kennedy used all of his family's considerable influence to pull as many strings as possible in order to get him into the Navy, and into the fight that was World War II. Powerful friends were pressured, and favors were called in, so John Kennedy could serve his country when it needed him. He could have stayed home; his health, arguably, dictated that he should have stayed home. He didn't. He fought for the ability to fight, and came in the end to serve with distinction.

Who does this bring to mind today?

It brings to my mind two groups as different and distinctive as night and day. The members of the Bush administration, of course, leap immediately to mind. Virtually all of the heavies in that crew moved heaven and earth to avoid military service in Vietnam. Dick Cheney "had other priorities," as did Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Andrew Card, John Ashcroft and several others. Some, like George W. Bush himself, had the same kind of powerful family connections that Kennedy enjoyed, and used them to stay as far away from the fight as possible.

These are the fellows who are now in the business of making you afraid. Fear is their growth stock, and they use the dividends to make war. These men, who never came within 16,000 miles of a combat situation in their entire lives, now use combat as the sole principle of American diplomacy around the world. The only way they are able to get away with this is by selling fear on the home front. They are quite good at it.

These men got their war in Iraq by making you afraid of September 11. They sold the fear that Saddam Hussein was somehow involved, that he had connections to al Qaeda, that he had all these terrible weapons lying around that would surely, surely come to find you. These men used September 11 against you, deliberately and convincingly. If you think you're not a sucker for this, go take a look around your house. Do you have any plastic sheeting and duct tape stashed away somewhere? I thought so.

The comparisons deserve to be borne out. Kennedy used his influence to be able to serve. Bush and company used their influence to avoid service. Kennedy faced real weapons of mass destruction in Cuba, and used diplomacy and the United Nations to defeat the threat. Bush and company faced forged, faked, non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and gave diplomacy the back of their hand in the push for war. Kennedy said, "I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men." Bush said, "Bring `em on."


Some might say this group is not indicative of the average veteran. Woody Powell, national administrator for VFP, has a different perspective. "Each time we have this convention," said Powell, "veterans come from all over who have never heard of us. They just walk in. At some point, I always find these vets sitting and weeping. They tell me they feel like they have finally come home, that they have finally found people who understand."

These are men and women who have known fear, true fear, the fear with the big teeth and roaring snarl that rips the skin from your body before reducing you to ash. What they see happening in America today, the manner in which their government is actively trying to terrify the populace for their own purposes, disgusts them. They stand against it without fear.

Understand that the difference between these two groups - the Bush crew, and the men and women of the VFP - is the difference between what America is, and what America should be. Consider the experiences, the motivations, the actions, the sacrifices. Decide whether you want to spend your life afraid, or whether you will overcome that fear to reach the greatest victory of your life. Decide where you stand.