I’m not talking about his goofy malapropisms, but about the actual message that his words convey, apparently without him being cognizant of any irony. In his Memorial Day message, for example, Bush solemnly offered suggestions for how we Americans should honor the sacrifices of those who have gone to war. Place a flag on a veteran’s grave, he instructed. Or, say a prayer.
A prayer is about all that vets are getting from this president. While a flag might be a nice touch for the dead, what about the real-life needs of the thousands who are coming back alive from Iraq, but in need of real support from their country. We’ve seen the Bushites and Congress deploy troops without even giving them life-saving armor, much less a real reason to be in Iraq. We’ve seen Washington officials wearing flag pins and shouting “support our troops,” while letting veterans’ health care fall into a state of squalor and shame.
And now, on Memorial Day, even as Bush was telling us how to honor vets, he was threatening to veto a new GI Bill of Rights that would extend full educational benefits to those he sent to war. Why would he do that? It costs too much, say the Bushites.
Excuse me? The tab for this educational investment is $45 billion over 10 years, and it will return many billions more than that through the increased economic possibilities of the soldiers. In contrast, Bush and Congress are dumping $48 billion into Iraq every four months, money that creates nothing for us. Costs too much? The Pentagon admits that it has “lost” billions of our tax dollars in Iraq – poof, they disappeared, no one knows where the money went!
Offering nothing but a flag and a prayer is disgraceful disrespect to vets, but working to kill the GI Bill is traitorous contempt for the families Bush has forced into his war.