Isn’t it interesting that 11 Republican members of Congress are pleading with George Bush for “honesty” and “candor” on the issue of Iraq? Their begging is too little, too late, just like the effort of George Tenet who has penned his mea no culpa in an attempt to assuage his blood-drenched conscience and sanitize an image forever linked to George Bush and deception with the words “slam” and “dunk.”
But where were these Bush quasi critics when Cindy Sheehan went to Crawford to confront George with the question: “For what noble cause did my son Casey die?” Where were they when Cindy sat in that ditch in the heat of August while the president either hid inside his ranch or rode by, refusing to look her way? Where have they been when any of us, the members of Gold Star Families for Peace, the organization founded by Cindy, wrote, spoke, cried, and implored them to bring the troops home? Where have they been when members of Military Families Speak Out have asked for the same? Where have they been when Iraq Vets Against the War have called on them to end the savagery of depleted uranium exposure, inadequate body armor, multiple deployments, and illegal, immoral war against a country posing no threat to the United States?
Did these 11 Congressional Republicans who are now demanding “honesty” and “candor” suddenly have an epiphany for peace? Did they visit Walter Reed and see the horrors of war in the bodies of our injured troops? Did they see the images of bloodied Iraqi children and other Iraqi civilians whose lives have been destroyed by their vote for war? No. While George Bush has been escalating soldiers into Iraq, these 11 Republicans began to feel a surge of their own-one of panic, one of disapproval from their constituents-the kind of disapproval that made their knees weak and furrowed the brows of their spouses. This is the wake up. Not the dead and injured. No. It has taken not blood but the possible, probable loss of power for these leaders to realize that aligning with George is not good for their future. With visions of the 2008 elections penetrating their consciousness, they know if they follow an intransigent president who is strangling the Republican Party as well as our military and our country’s image throughout the world, they will be rewriting their curricula vitae and seeking new jobs. “Please, please give us honesty and candor,” they are beseeching the poacher at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue who knows little about the concept of truth because his ego rejects it. Shame on them. Shame on every member of Congress who only will hold a president accountable when his poll numbers are lower than dirt and their own influence is jeopardized.
In fact, shame on each and every one of us for not joining Cindy Sheehan when she sat in that Crawford ditch for weeks in the hot Texas sun to challenge the lies of a coward who sent her son Casey, my brother Mark’s youngest child Chase, and, now, almost 3,400 Americans to their deaths. Shame on us for what we have done to military families and to the people of Iraq.
Missy 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