On many occasions, President George W. Bush has lectured the American people that “amidst all this violence and bloodshed” in Iraq, “is the sacrifice worth it? It is worth it, and it is vital to the security of our country.
Well then, why don’t his daughters, 25 year olds Barbara and Jenna join the armed services and share in the sacrifice? Or is the sacrifice only to be borne overwhelmingly by lower-income whites, Hispanics and African-Americans who comprise the bulk of the casualties?
Mr. Bush is constantly speechifying to the American people, and increasingly failing to secure their support. Nearly 70 percent of Americans want out of Iraq and believe it was not worth the price. Americans may be wondering why neither Bush, nor Cheney, nor the neocons, who fabricated the causes for invading Iraq, nor the corporate bosses raking in war profits why neither they nor their families are showing any signs of sacrifice?
By contrast, across the Atlantic Ocean in England, the British Defense Ministry announced last month that “His Royal Highness Prince Harry will deploy to Iraq later this year.” Harry, age 22, is a second lieutenant who insists on going to Iraq with the soldiers under his command.
“There’s no way I’m going to put myself through Sandhurst (the military academy), and then sit on my arse back home while my boys are out fighting for their country,” he told a television interviewer.
It is not as if Prince Harry is a stern, militant young fellow. The New York Times called him “something of a playboy prince,” who frequents “London’s more exclusive nightclubs.”
Jenna and Barbara like to go out on the town as well. /The Washington Post/ reported in early January that the twins went out “with a well-heeled entourage crushed velvet sport coats for the men, trendy leggings, silk dresses and platform heels for the women,” before Barbara heads back “to New York and her job at the Cooper-Hewitt museum” and Jenna returns “to her UNICEF gig in Central America.”
The old nineteen sixties phrase, “if you’re not part of the risk, you won’t be part of the solution” applies to the Bush family. It’s even worse. Some of Bush’s relatives are involved in the war business, making money from their participation in companies and firms thriving off Defense Department contracts. (See Democracyrising.us)
Himself an adroit avoider of the Vietnam era draft, using his connections to enlist in the Texas Air National Guard that was not slated to embark for southeast Asia, George W. Bush finds solace in saying that he is “in awe of the men and women who sacrifice for the freedom of the United States of America, who volunteer to confront our adversaries abroad so we do not have to face them here at home.”
With such an awe-inspiring mission in Iraq to which he and Cheney have tied our country, its soldiers and its strained budget of billions of dollars, one might imagine George and Laura having a fireside chat in the White House with their able and spirited daughters about joining this noble Iraq mission in uniform.
Imagine further what Privates Jenna and Barbara would have to tell a President known for his traits of not listening and not admitting any mistakes (note the bungling Iraq occupation, the post-Katrina debacles and the recent Walter Reed deprivations which are never the fault of this no-fault Commander in Chief).
Let’s envision the twins back on leave as medics from their first deployment to Baghdad sitting with father in the family quarters upstairs in the White House.
Jenna: “Daddy, you must listen to us and not ignore what we want to say, as you have disregarded our e-mails. Most of our soldiers in Iraq have lost faith and want the U.S. out of there. If you don’t believe me, look at this year old Zogby poll reporting 72 percent of the soldiers want the U.S. out in six months to a year. And things are much worse now.”
Barbara: “Daddy, you’re spending $12 million an hour in Iraq and the soldiers are still short of body armor, armored vehicles and communications equipment. Still! Four years after the war started. Much of their equipment needs repair or replacement and there is no money. One of your Congressional critics reacting to the Department of Defense’s Inspector General report of January 2007 said: “If our troops aren’t the priority, who is? Halliburton, Blackwater, other corporate chums of the President?”
The President: “Reports, polls, what nonsense; what are your soldier friends fighting courageously over there against those hit and run cowards telling you?”
Barbara: “Some were too ripped up in the hospitals to tell us, but we knew they were torn apart by IEDs in their unprotected vehicles. We can tell you other horrible eye-witness stories about undertrained and underequipped national guardsmen and reservists. It won’t inspire you, but we can tell you, if you wish. We’re on the receiving end of the battered men and women who come to us on stretchers.”
The President: “Don’t bother, Barbara, Jenna, it all keeps me and Laura up at night, worrying so about you. I hear you. I hear you.”
If you agree that having Jenna and Barbara join the armed forces will help bring George W. Bush closer to bringing the soldiers home and ending this boomeranging war-occupation, express you support to:
Bush Twins to Iraq
PO Box 18485
Washington, D.C., 20036
or visit: democracyrising.us
RALPH NADER is the author of The Seventeen Traditions