Tuesday, December 06, 2005

You Can't Spell WAR Without "W"

An argument that has been ongoing since the beginning of the war is the fact that W has refused to attend funerals of those service men and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan - not in defense of their country, but to promote W’s idea of what democracy is all about. “Do it our way or die” could certainly be W’s phrase for the war. And since fighting began in March 2003, over 2,000 American men and women have left their families, their homes, and all that they know and love to live thousands of miles away because their commander-in-chief has ordered them to do so. And in doing what he has told them to do, they have paid the ultimate sacrifice – and the man who risked their lives in order to promote his agenda cannot seem to bring himself to attend one single funeral.

From Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, to Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon during the nation-splitting Vietnam conflict, to Bill Clinton praying with families in a hangar at Fort Benning when caskets of troops killed in action in Somalia returned, our leaders have always paid respects to the dead heroes and consoled the living. Even if they cannot attend funerals, the leaders honor the military on days like Veteran’s Day.

But we all remember that W used this past Veteran’s Day to swipe at Democrats and not to praise those who are fighting in the Middle East. He spoke a lot about his reasons for the war, but not about how to end the war. He failed in his speech to support veterans by calling for a thorough investigation into the way intelligence was used to sell Congress and the American people on the war that they are now stuck fighting (it’s a shame that W doesn’t think he owes that to the people who have been bravely carrying out his plans.)

Attending our soldiers funerals is the least W could do considering when he had a chance to fight for his country in Vietnam, he chose not to go and stayed in Texas where it was safe. To see him pretend to be a soldier now is a disgrace to the American Armed Forces that put their lives on the line every day. I don’t suggest that W attends every funeral. But certainly one a month by random selection or even perhaps the funeral of the 2,000th serviceman who died because of W’s ideas.

His attendance at these services would not show him as a weak leader, but it would certainly send a message back to the armed forces that he cares about them and recognizes their sacrifices. And it's time W assumes his title of commander in chief and everything that goes with that title.