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I
caught a quote by William Saletan yesterday that has been replaying
in my mind as we wade through the post re-election of King George.
Saletan writes for the MSN online Slate Magazine. The quote was
"When you support a president going to war, you don't get your
war. You get his." This comment came from the post 9/11
days when many Americans threw their full support to the commander-in-chief.
This action was predicated by the belief that America had been attacked
and that whoever was leading our military needed the full support
of all Americans. The support was specifically for the commander-in-chief
and the holder of that position was George Bush. George perceived
this backing as support for him and he pursued his agenda of putting
America into a war with Iraq under the guise of fighting terrorism.
So King George became a war president.

Sadly,
the war president was re-elected. When you factor in the leads held
in both houses by Republicans and add the possibility of some Supreme
Court appointments, one can easily see the country taking a hard
right ideological turn. Equally disturbing is the likelihood that
King George will see his re-election as a confirmation of his actions.
In short, we can expect at least four more years of war thanks to
the "you're doing the right thing" mandate the American
voters delivered to Bush. According to the Monday quarterbacking
news analysis, however, the single issue that drove most Americans
to select Bush over Kerry was moral values. I swear I'm not making
this stuff up. Moral values outpaced terrorism and the economy as
the top reason America extended George's job contract.

From
this analysis, can we assume that Democrats are viewed as amoral
sinners, while Republicans are the good guys? This is where I have
difficulty understanding this election. I am asking for help to
explain the logic of the morals argument to myself and to my children
as well as to my students who are all wondering how we got from
point A to point W. The question is: how did America choose Bush
for president under the pretext of choosing high morals?

The
war that ruined my life, The Vietnam War, had very unclear goals.
Few could give reasonable explanations for why we were there at
the time and history has been imprecise on giving a clarification
in hindsight. Most agree today that Vietnam was a BFM, or big fat
mistake (though other words might fit the acronym). Anyway, America
stayed in that BFM for way too long, destroying the lives of our
soldiers, their family's lives, and the lives of the Vietnamese.
Today's BFM, The Iraq War has clear goals and objectives. America
is in Iraq to put money into the coffers of The Carlyle Group, Halliburton,
Cheney's war machine, and perhaps into Big Oil. I suppose that catching
Saddam Hussein was in the plan as well, but those pesky Iraqi "terrorists"
keep killing Americans even after his removal.

Comparing
the two wars, I see the Vietnam BFM as having a confusing, hard
to explain purpose. If there was a moral justification for that
war, it has escaped me. The Iraq BFM has to be seen as immoral.
America has gained nothing by being there. We have found no weapons
of mass destruction, no nuclear warheads, and no evidence to tie
Hussein with Bin Laden. We have alienated many of our allies and
have lost the respect of much of the world. We are seen as bullies
who could not get the real terrorists who attacked us so we started
a war with a country that our president decided was just loaded
with bad guys. I recently read the study that indicates the Iraq
War is responsible for killing over 100,000 innocent Iraqi citizens.
That's 100,000 deaths in addition to the enemy death count. So I'm
wondering where the high moral values are in a commander-in-chief
who can show his smug face in public knowing his war actions have
killed so many innocent lives.

Bin
Laden is responsible for taking perhaps 3,000 American lives and
with the exception of lives taken at The Pentagon, those were innocent,
non-combatant Americans. The world hates Bin Laden and many want
him dead for his actions. George Bush is responsible for taking
over 100,000 innocent lives and our country re-elects him using
the rationale that George represents high moral values. Seriously,
I have great difficulty putting the words "high moral values"
in the same sentence with George's name. I find it much easier to
put Bush's name in sentences with words like "moron, liar,
murderer, and thief."

In
my estimation, George W. Bush is the worst president in modern times.
For those who did not vote, or could not vote for Kerry because
of whatever reason, I say that Kerry or any other reasonable candidate
would have been an improvement over Bush. Donald Duck would have
had my vote over Bush.

November
6, 2004

Miles
Woolley [send him mail]
is a disabled Vietnam veteran living in Miami, Florida. He served
with the 9th Infantry Division in The Mekong Delta in
a Ranger unit doing reconnaissance 1968–69 where he received
a gunshot wound to the head leaving one side severely paralyzed.
He is a father of four grown children and grandfather of seven,
including a set of triplets.

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