What a difference a few weeks have made. Topping the news was Bush's veto of the military appropriation's bill. Everyone expected it. Not expected was the effect it's had. Bush, who takes false pride in being "resolute" may have thought his veto would put the Democratic majority in Congress on the defensive and shift the agenda back to the White House.
It didn't work out that way. The real effect is two fold: The White House must now play ball with Congress (the Democrats) if it hopes to get a bill at all. Secondly, Bush is seen to have played politics with the lives of American troops. Never had this point been spelled out more forcefully and more dramatically than in the following letter from one of the "commanders" that Bush likes to say he listens to but, in fact, doesn't give a damn.
May 1, 2007There is also the statement by Maj. Gen. John Batiste.
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
Today, in your veto message regarding the bipartisan legislation just passed on Operation Iraqi Freedom, you asserted that you so decided because you listen to your commanders on the ground.
Respectfully, as your former commander on the ground, your administration did not listen to our best advice. In fact, a number of my fellow Generals were forced out of their jobs, because they did not tell you what you wanted to hear -- most notably General Eric Shinseki, whose foresight regarding troop levels was advice you rejected, at our troops' peril.
The legislation you vetoed today represented a course of action that is long overdue. This war can no longer be won by the military alone. We must bring to bear the entire array of national power - military, diplomatic and economic. The situation demands a surge in diplomacy, and pressure on the Iraqi government to fix its internal affairs. Further, the Army and Marine Corps are on the verge of breaking - or have been broken already - by the length and intensity of this war. This tempo is not sustainable - and you have failed to grow the ground forces to meet national security needs. We must begin the process of bringing troops home, and repairing and growing our military, if we are ever to have a combat-ready force for the long war on terror ahead of us.
The bill you rejected today sets benchmarks for success that the Iraqis would have to meet, and puts us on a course to redeploy our troops. It stresses the need for sending troops into battle only when they are rested, trained and equipped. In my view, and in the view of many others in the military that I know, that is the best course of action for our security.
As someone who served this nation for decades, I have the utmost respect for the office you hold. However, as a man of conscience, I could not sit idly by as you told the American people today that your veto was based on the recommendations of military men. Your administration ignored the advice of our military's finest minds before, and I see no evidence that you are listening to them now.
I urge you to reconsider your position, and work with Congress to pass a bill that achieves the goals laid out above.
Major General Paul D. Eaton, USA, Retired
The President vetoed our troops and the American people. His stubborn commitment to a failed strategy in Iraq is incomprehensible. He committed our great military to a failed strategy in violation of basic principles of war. His failure to mobilize the nation to defeat world wide Islamic extremism is tragic. We deserve more from our commander-in-chief and his administration.
--Maj. Gen. John Batiste, USA, Ret.
Why will we, the people, impeach George W. Bush? First, we are sovereign, not Bush, a fact Bush never mastered. Bush works for us, not the other way 'round.
Secondly, Bush violated a trust that is as sacred as possible in a secular society. That is the trust given him by a free electorate. That Bush does not care about those values is the most compelling reason he must go. By refusing to investigate the events of 911, Bush broke with precedent established with Pearl Harbor.
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