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Quit Your Day Job, George


I spent a week in Kentucky, helping after my father had surgery. Upon discharge from the hospital, he went to my sister’s house, along with my mother, because he required so much attention. This was a family-participation endeavor. Bathing him, sitting in his room at night in case he needed something, we felt no encumbrance. Instead, it was an honor and a privilege to care for the father who has always been there for us. Now, back at home in the house where my parents have lived for over 50 years, he is recovering nicely.

My brother Mark, father of Marine Lance Cpl. Chase Comley who was killed in Iraq almost two years ago, drove me to the airport. We talked about the tragedy of war, the Iraqi people, and his belief that this occupation could last at least 20 years simply because of greed and profit. We discussed the Bush Administration’s collision of deceptions, underreported by mainstream anchors who choose to focus more on celebrity scandals, car chases, and school shootings.

And we talked about Chase. Soon, my nephew’s school, Sayre, will honor him by naming their new baseball field the Chase Comley Field. The dedication will take place on May 14. My brother is reluctant to attend because he says it will be like another funeral. Each memorial for his youngest child is painful. “When the school retired Chase’s basketball jersey, I cried during the entire ceremony,” he told me.

April has been cruel to military families and to Iraqis. More than 100 coalition troops have been killed in the last month. Ninety of these are our own. The Iraqi death count for 27 days is almost at 1,400.

Meanwhile, Laura Bush just appeared on The Today Show, interviewed by Ann Curry. Mrs. Bush was asked if she knew that the American people are suffering as they watch what’s happening in Iraq. “No one suffers more than their president and I do when we watch this,” said Laura Bush. Continuing, she said that the burden of war is on his (Bush’s) shoulders every single day.

No one suffers more than they? What a foolish thing to say. In fact, this is jarringly stupid. And insensitive. Ask the more than 3,300 military families who have heard the words my brother received in August of 2005: “We regret to inform you.” Ask the thousands of families whose loved ones have returned from combat with devastating brain injuries and/or missing limbs. Ask all whose soldier has come home a changed person because of what he or she has seen or been commanded to do. Ask members of Military Families Speak Out. And ask the Iraqi people whose lives are devastated daily by the massacres in their country.

Then, juxtapose Mrs. Bush’s portrayal of a suffering president with the image of George Bush as he danced at Malaria Awareness Day. Our troops are dying, trapped in the inferno of Bush’s lies, and George is hamming it up for a photo op.

There is so much pain, old and fresh- pain that pierces the soul. My brother Mark called to say that Bush’s contortions disgusted him. Of course, the performance would have been laughable if George had not caused unrelenting agony for so many. But we have seen him flash a smile and give the thumbs up just after an announcement of U.S. military fatalities in Iraq. Nine troops were killed on April 23 and Bush was twisting to the beat two days later, embarrassing each of us with his customary and deplorable inappropriateness.

As Bush had a boogying good time, his gyrations begged the standard quip: “Don’t quit your day job.” But that’s exactly what so many of us are demanding-that he quit. And this should occur through the process of impeachment and conviction, because George Bush has committed crimes against peace that require his accountability.


Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail:

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