Yes, that's a harsh headline for this piece.
But I'll ask you to forgive me because, as a Veteran, there isn't a day on the calendar that causes my hatred -- and I do indeed mean hatred -- of George W. Bush to bubble over the top more than Memorial Day.
"On Memorial Day, we honor the heroes who have laid down their lives in the cause of freedom, resolve that they will forever be remembered by a grateful Nation, and pray that our country may always prove worthy of the sacrifices they have made," reads Bush's official Memorial Day proclamation, issued by the White House on Thursday.
The Chickenhawk-in Chief says a lot of things that make this Vet's blood boil but stuff like saying that he prays "...that our country may always prove worthy of the sacrifices they have made" is almost vomit inducing.
This statement comes from the same man who himself began dishonoring the sacrifices of all Veterans in such huge ways in March of 2003, when he invaded Iraq behind a veil of lies and deceit and started spilling barrels of military and civilian blood to start a war with a country that posed no threat whatsoever to our national security. These stirring words of remembrance come from an administration that began with a stolen election in 2000, which goes entirely against what I was taught way back when I was in the U.S. Navy, which was that part of the "way of life" we were protecting was symbolized by the ability of all of our citizens to have their votes counted.
"These courageous and selfless warriors have stepped forward to protect the Nation they love, fight for America's highest ideals, and show millions that a future of liberty is possible," continues Bush's proclamation. "Americans are grateful to all those who have put on our Nation's uniform and to their families, and we will always remember their service and sacrifice for our freedoms."
The words Bush puts forth are true -- it's him being the one to say them that I find so sickening and personally offensive.
It is positively nauseating to have George W. Bush ever talk to us about "America's highest ideals" when his administration has started a bloody war for no reason, imprisoned those suspected of being "terrorists" without trial or benefit of legal counsel, tortured prisoners in America's name and done everything but grab the original U.S. Constitution from the National Archives and run it through a paper shredder.
I also don't believe for one minute that the majority of the planet now holds our country in such extreme contempt because we're right and they don't understand our "highest ideals." This Veteran will go to his grave believing that the years 2000 through 2008 were a dark time in our history when much of what I believed when I served in uniform was made invalid and debased.
According to the Defense Department, we have now lost 4,082 men and women in Bush's war of choice in Iraq and we should not allow the man who sent them needlessly to their deaths to lead our nation today in mourning their loss. Make no mistake about it, George W. Bush is as responsible for the deaths of those men and women as if he himself had fired the bullet or set the IEDs that ended their lives.
And before the right-wing hate mail starts flowing in my direct I'll admit that, yes, you are probably right that if Bush said nothing today I might notice that as well. But here's the thing with so many of us Vets: Memorial Day is not an abstraction to us. Too many of us knew personally and can remember the faces of a few whose untimely deaths we mark today. Some of us actually even saw them killed in battle.
So, we do indeed take Memorial Day very personally and I for one would rather that Bush say nothing at all than to issue hypocritical pronouncements and give an insincere, flowery speech in honor of our war dead when he is personally responsible for the most recent we mourn today.
Even a garden-variety murderer would be unlikely to make an appearance when the victim's family is observing the anniversary of a loved one's death.
The least Bush can do is stay in the White House today, keep his lying mouth shut and understand deep in his craven soul that the next day the Congress should declare a national holiday is January 20, 2009, the day he leaves office and his days of dishonoring our war dead are forever done.