Sunday, June 26, 2005
Veteran: Shame on the Bush Administration
Shame on the Bush Administration for allowing Karl Rove's outrageous statement equating liberals with traitors to stand without apology. Shame on them for not firing Rove outright.
I'm an American woman who served in the U.S. Air Force from 1979 through 1983 and was honorably discharged. I served during a time of peace, but I, like all of the other young men and women who volunteer to serve their country as soldiers, airmen, marines and sailors, knew that there was a possibility we could be called upon at any time to put our lives on the line. This was the Cold War era, when nuclear anihilation was just a push of a button away. I served willingly and with my eyes wide open.
I lived in Germany from 1986 through 1992 with my active duty Air Force husband. While I was there, I worked as a civilian in the Public Affairs Office in Bremerhaven, and was there supporting the U.S. Army troops who were sent to fight in the Gulf War. Although I was no longer in the military myself, my service with the U.S. Army as a civilian in support of our troops and our country is something I'm very proud of. We were doing the right thing, backed by a huge coalition of countries who believed as we did that Saddam Hussein had overstepped his bounds in trying to take over tiny Kuwait and upset the precarious balance of power in the Middle East.
Throughout my adult life I've been a registered Democrat and yes, a liberal. As a peacetime veteran and as a wartime civilian who served her country willingly and with heartfelt patriotism, I am deeply insulted by Karl Rove's outrageous condemnation of those who don't march in lockstep with the religious right, conservative GOP. How dare this man, who like his masters, never served his country in uniform, imply that I and my "liberal" veteran and active duty brothers and sisters are traitors for not supporting this criminal, pre-emptive war we now find ourselves fighting in Iraq? How dare he call any American, veteran or not, traitors for exercising their right in our democracy to speak their minds and disagree with their government? And how dare this president and his administration allow their attack dog, whose generous salary is paid by the American people, stand by and back up his reprehensible words?
My first and second husbands served in the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army. My brother-in-law served a full career in the Air Force and is now in Iraq as a civilian, trying to teach brave, doomed Iraqis to be policemen. My uncle served in the Army for 25 years and retired as a general. My father was a Marine who fought in the Korean War, as was another of my uncles. My grandfather fought in World War II in Europe.
All of us, whether liberal or conservative, served our country with honor and pride. Yet not one of us would ever dream of considering any fellow American who merely disagreed with us, politically, ideologically or otherwise, a "traitor" to our country. Protecting the right of free speech and freedom of _expression, after all, is why we served.
Americans, rightly shocked and furious over the senseless carnage and murder of innocents of September 11, 2001, were propagandized, lied to and duped into attacking Iraq, which had nothing to do with the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. More than two thousand American service members -- patriotic volunteers, every single one of them -- have now lost their lives to a lie, many thousands more have been horribly maimed and their lives ruined, and tens of thousands innocent Iraqi men, women and children have been systematically murdered and maimed. And our government will not give us a straight, honest answer why. Instead, we're fed excuses and lies.
I am an American, and until 2000, when George W. Bush was appointed president of our great country, I was proud to be an American. I cannot say that anymore. Since then, I've watched with horror as Bush and his cronies have systematically chipped away at the greatest democracy the world has ever known. America has become a pariah to the rest of the world; how will we ever live down Abu Ghraib, "renditions", the arrest, indefinite detention and torture of thousands without right to a fair trial, the systematic destruction of the world's delicate environmental balance and the outright robbing of the American poor so the American rich can get richer? How can we abide watching Bush -- the president of our country! -- walk hand in hand through the Texas wildflowers with the Saudi prince, the leader of the very country that produced both Osama bin Ladin and most of the Sept. 11 terrorists? How could Americans have re-elected this man in 2004? Duped again.
And now, those of us who react with anger and indignation over these crimes, committed in our names and without our support, are "traitors"? I'd call us patriots in the truest sense of the word.
Shame on Karl Rove. Shame on George W. Bush, John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell (!) and Donald Rumsfeld. Shame on the Republican politicians -- elected by the people of this once great country -- who support or stand by and watch this systematic rape of the United States of America, and equally, shame on the Democratic politicians who don't have the courage or morality to speak out against it. These are the real traitors to America. I despair for our children and for all of us.