Boats Against the Current

Almost daily, I sign an online petition. “Impeach Cheney.” Impeach Bush.” “Act now to save the environment.” “End torture.” “Help hold contractors accountable.”

Some weeks ago after hearing that Nancy Pelosi stated that she would put impeachment on the table if she received 10,000 letters via snail mail in support of impeachment, I wrote a note and deposited it at the post office. I also made calls to encourage friends and family to do the same. I later learned that Pelosi didn’t make this statement. I should have known since she has done nothing substantive to end the Bush reign of terror. She raises her voice occasionally but ends up supporting, against the will of the people, almost every single destructive foreign and domestic policy demand that Bush pushes.

When 9/11 occurred, we had an opportunity to examine why we’re hated. Instead of considering this, George Bush, along with the other neocons, seized their moment to reshape the Middle East, a goal brewing in their minds and carried in Cheney’s briefcase for years. They needed an event, a nation-changing incident, which would send Americans to the nearest bookstore to purchase the Bible. And they required that we remain frightened enough to demand revenge even if this meant blaming someone who had no connection to the day the Towers fell and the Pentagon was hit.

In the months before the invasion of Iraq, I marched in every antiwar parade in New York City. I believed the reports of the weapons inspectors that Saddam Hussein no longer possessed weapons of mass destruction. I looked on in disbelief as liberal newspapers, like the New York Times, published front-page articles about “mushroom clouds.” And I watched as our mainstream media flooded their newsrooms and our living rooms with pundits who spoke Bush propaganda.

I tried to talk my nephew out of joining the military. His father, my brother Mark, was devastated when Chase signed. Marine Lance Cpl. Chase Johnson Comley deployed in March of 2005 and was killed in August, two months before he was to return home. My brother and I often talk about how war would have changed him. My mother and I talk about how this war has changed our family.

Meanwhile, our troops continue to die on the battlefield and at home where so many commit suicide because of what they’ve been asked to do and what they’ve seen. The Iraqi-civilian death count must be well over a million. There seems to be no end in sight.

When the recent National Intelligence Estimate revealed that Iran suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003, I thought that Bush would have to back down on his misleading rhetoric about this country’s intentions. I was wrong. Bush bounced off the ropes with tough talk. And most mainstream venues failed, again, to challenge him.

I ask myself what it will take to stop George Bush and Dick Cheney from ruining the world. I must be naïve. They’ve already done it. And those of us who keep signing petitions are small boats against the current.

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: