To stay or not to stay, that is the question.

Some have this decision made for them: Larry Craig and Mark Foley, for example.

To stay or not to stay is the question Gen. David Petraeus will address this month, although his answer will be shaped by George Bush’s demands. Public disapproval of the war in Iraq be damned, the Decider disregards the people with his deathly certitude that has resulted in the deaths of 3,760 U.S. troops in addition to all those who are emotionally dead from deployment after deployment. Pile on the bodies of the Iraqi civilians killed, estimated at over a million, by the policies of Bush & Company.

To stay or not to stay with Bush’s assurance that the surge is working-well, we all know where this is going. Just as the reasons for war have morphed numerous times, George will continue to move the goalposts. This president has a history of incredibility.

To stay or not to stay is a judgment each and every Republican member of Congress facing reelection will have to confront. Glomming on to George Bush and his trail of tears and disregarding an intelligence assessment that the invasion and occupation of Iraq have inspired terrorism place Bush loyalists in a perilous position. Their day jobs are in grave jeopardy. Same for democrats whose names will be on the ballots. Their colleagues who rode the victory wave last November when they were voted into office to end this disaster of a war are disappointments of nauseating proportion.

To stay or not to stay is the challenge faced by the candidates for president in 2008. Fred Thomas has stated that he would continue the Bush agenda. So have McCain, Giuliani, Romney, and all the republican aspirants with the exception of the antiwar Ron Paul. The democrats who want to call 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue home are talking troop withdrawal from Iraq but the front-runners seem eager to target Iran.

According to author Robert Draper in his book Dead Certain, George Bush admits to crying a lot. This is nothing, absolutely nothing, compared to what those of us who have lost loved ones are enduring as a result of the Bush values. Our “Shock and Awe” arrives multiple times a day with “the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks” of what ifs and has this really happened. Fifteen troops have died this week says the crawl beneath the coiffed news anchors and the glamorized anchorettes who are debating the compelling issues of our times, like whether or not Larry Birkhead and Howard K. Stern are lovers. With each death, we are jolted to that morning, afternoon, evening, or night clear as winter ice when we heard the words that changed our lives forever. We wonder when all Americans will feel this consummate pain and say, “No more war dead, not one more troop, not one more Iraqi.” We wonder when a candidate like Fred Thompson will be challenged when he repeats the Bush bullshit that we are fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here. We wonder when integrity will compel our newsmen and women to declare that no Iraqis flew the planes that became weapons on 9/11.

To stay or not to stay with the truth, that is the real question. Believing the military industrial complex propaganda will lead us where George Bush wants us to travel-down a forever road of war.

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:


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: