Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day

Driving past a veterans’ memorial yesterday, my s.o. noted the wreath placed there and recounted her experience as a member of a drum corps that participated in wreath-laying ceremonies. I said that there was a dog and pony show scheduled at Arlington, and she asked, “Why do you say that?” apparently sensing a dig at vets. I explained that it wasn’t the ceremony I object to — far from it — but George Bush’s participation in it. I told her I felt he lacked the moral authority to participate in the ceremony and didn’t deserve the honor. I said it was hard for me to think of someone less appropriate to be a part of the service. I mentioned Bush’s war of choice in Iraq that has filled more than 4,000 military graves and Bush’s stated intention to veto the new G.I. bill passed by Congress. I mentioned Dick Cheney’s ham-handed effort to feign sensitivity to war casualties by stealing the phrase “crosses row on row” from the World War I poem “In Flanders Fields.”
And just before you settle down on the landing pad, you look out upon Arlington National Cemetery, its gentle slopes and crosses row on row.

Government-issued grave markers
at Arlington National Cemetery

I never once made that trip without being reminded of how enormously fortunate we all are to be Americans and what a... (INTERRUPTED BY APPLAUSE) . . I never made that trip without being reminded of how enormously fortunate we are to be Americans and what a terrible price thousands have paid so that all of us and millions more around the world might live in freedom.
Which, of course, leads one to wonder if Dick ever once bothered to look at the cemetery he’s flown over so many times.

Soon I felt her energy level drop and heard a sigh. You see, she doesn’t listen to my rants as much as tolerate them these days. Otherwise, I might have mentioned Bush’s opposition to increased pay for troops.
At the same time it is strongly opposing a slight increase in pay for the troops, the Bush administration is asking for hundreds of billions more for war. To put it in all in context, the White House wants $165 billion to continue fighting the Iraq and Afghanistan wars this year, but refuses to spend 0.2 percent of that amount ($324 million) to provide the troops a slight pay raise.

Despite his opposition to a pay increase, President Bush continues to demagogue the issue of support for the troops, telling soldiers at Ft. Drum yesterday that Congress is to blame for not having passed “a responsible war funding bill.” Of course, he didn’t tell that troops that by “responsible,” he means he wants a bill that gives them less pay.
All in all, I think our troops could do without the Bush administration’s brand of “support,” and that it‘s unconscionable for Bush to sully such a solemn ceremony with his insincere participation.



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