A Few Good Men … and Women


As the violence in Iraq escalates, our leaders continue to assault us with pugnacious and defiant political rhetoric that recalls dialogue from the movie, A Few Good Men. Comments of George Bush are chillingly similar to Colonel Jessup’s arrogant diatribe which accurately characterizes the Bush Administration’s above-the-law certitude:

we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? I have more responsibility here than you could possible fathomYou have the luxury of not knowing what I know. that my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. I know deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you don’t want me on that wall-you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I prefer you said ‘thank you’ and went on your way. I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to!

What we’re entitled to is representation-all of us, the poor and the middle class as well as the rich-a ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people.’ BushCo. would ridicule Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. After all, George W. referred to the Constitution as ‘just a goddamned piece of paper.’

Like Jessup, Bush talks freedom but refuses to answer questions about the manner in which he provides it, or even if he’s providing it. He prefers to be thanked, not examined. In fact, W. operates as if he’s been partially Mirandized-‘You have the right to remain silent.’

The entire Bush Administration acts in accordance with the Col. Jessup command theory.

Because they, more than a few bad men and a bad woman, continue to deceive the electorate while they conduct clandestine business-dealings not only impacting lives but, also, destroying lives.

The invasion and occupation of Iraq based on fictitious claims. Insufficient body armor for troops. War profiteering. Human rights violations. Guantanamo Bay. Bagram. Abu Ghraib. Rendition. National security. The Patriot Act. Global warming. Selling hunks of America to foreign interests. Punch-screen voting machines. Warrantless domestic wiretapping. Misplaced power. Cronyism. Imperialism. The deficit. Widening gulf between the rich and poor. Confusing Medicare drug benefits. Americans without health care. Tax cuts for the wealthy. The response to Katrina. Treatment of Katrina victims. The failure of No Child Left Behind.

And there’s more: George Bush is the ‘leaker’ that George Bush said he would not tolerate-the person who selected information to sell his war to the American people by using his favorite tactic, fear, while ignoring the findings of the National Intelligence Estimate. He’s also the ‘decider.’ And right now, he may be deciding to nuke Iran.

The list is long and immoral.

Add to it the evidence that Bush isn’t interested in security. He just uses it to manipulate emotion during the run up to an election or when the polls indicate his administration is failing. This is when the terror card is tossed. But the card’s edges are frayed and so is trust in Republican leadership. In fact, Bush’s approval rating is low. He isn’t just a lame duck. He’s a maimed one.

Unfortunately, many Democrats in Congress support George’s agenda. Seems the oppositional party is benefiting from his policies-getting richer and living large. We are desperate for good men and women of conscience.

In the movie, Colonel Jessup loses his composure when he says, ‘You can’t handle the truth.’

What our electorate must refuse to accept is deception and secrecy.

Jessup, after his interrogation and disintegration, is surprised by these words: ‘And you’re under arrest, you son of a bitch.’

So the question is: When will Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, Wolfowitz, Tenet, and Perle be held accountable? All those who stood on the wall and misrepresented evidence to take us to war in Iraq-a leadership that exploited patriotism after 9/11 to move us there-should be indicted. We’ve eulogized more than 2,450 US troops. Thousands have been wounded and psychologically damaged. So many Iraqis have died. This is a catastrophe-a choiceand most members of Congress are complicit.

I have to believe that the people of this country are so much better than those in the Bush Administration and the House and Senate. If only they would awaken to the undeniable crime scene and demand peace and justice. How many more? How much more?

Our soldiers have been betrayed by their commander in chief. We have all been betrayed. The Bush occupation of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has delivered endless pain and shame. And most of the Democrats, instead of addressing the real issues, continue to aid and abet.

Apparently, it’s those we’ve elected to represent us who can’t handle the truth.

MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com



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: missybeat@gmail.com