As I was making yet another trip between my old home in Roswell, New Mexico, and what will be my new home in Northwood, Iowa, I stopped at a Walmart in Pratt, Kansas, to buy dog food for the two dogs I was bringing with me this trip. When I came out of the store, 79 year old Ken Lee of Ontario, Canada, was reading my "book truck."
For those of you not familiar with my truck, it is covered from stem to stern with information that all people should know, but that because of our "liberal media" too many people do not know. A lot of what is on it are quotations by famous military leaders. The hood of the truck is covered with the words of soldiers and information about the Iraq War including the Downing Street memo. Alas, because of a strong headwind I was forced to remove most of what was on the hood of my truck if I did not want to be guilty of littering the crime I think most deserving of capital punishment -- before I got to Nebraska, but happily that was after Mr. Lee had had the opportunity to read it.
Mr. Lee said Canadians hate Bush as they have never before hated an American president. He said they loved Francoise Duclos, the aide to former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who called President Bush a moron. She later apologized and stepped down but, in their opinion, she had told the truth about Bush, and it made her very popular with the Canadian people.
I told him I write and asked him if I could quote him. His wife said "Not until we get back to Canada!" I assured her I am not widely enough read that Ken would be likely to get in trouble (yet) because I quoted him although Bush's recently passed Military Commisions Act has the potential to make criminals out of any who dissent.
As Mr. Lee was reading my truck, I pointed out to him that most of what is on my truck was said by Republicans. WWII General and two-term Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower is the single person whose words are most represented on my truck. Eisenhower said "A preventive...war is an impossibility. I don't believe there is such a thing, and frankly I would not even listen seriously to anyone who came and talked to me about such a thing." He said a so-called preventive (what Bush called "preemptive" war) was an invention of Hitler. He also said "There is no way in which a country can satisfy the craving for absolute security, but it can bankrupt itself morally and economically in attempting to reach that illusory goal through arms alone." He warned against the acquisition of influence on government by the military-industrial complex. He said such influence would destroy this country's soul. Eisenhower saw Cheney's Halliburton and Bush, Sr.'s Carlyle Group coming. He mourned the schools, hospitals and roads that could be built with the money that was spent instead on guns and warplanes. He said "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." He also said "Total, unilateral disarmament is the imperative of our time." That meant that eventually the United States, too, should disarm. But, it should be apparent to anyone who is paying attention that we no longer have a Department of Defense, but a Department of Offense whose purpose seems to be to foment wars in order to cater to the needs of our military-industrial complex. Military spending at the expense of looking out for the needs of the people was the cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and it is very likely that eventually it will be the cause of the collapse of this nation as well.
Bush's idea that only the soldiers and their families should sacrifice while everyone else should merely "go shopping" or party on and celebrate making money off war stocks would be anathema to Eisenhower. He would not have thought that throwing a "support our troops" sticker on their trunk, which is all most Americans have done in the way of "sacrifice" to this point in time in the war effort, was any kind of a sacrifice
During Eisenhower's administration the richest among us were taxed at more than 90% of their high end earnings, and corporations at 52%, and against Republican pressure Ike refused to support lowering those rates. Stewart Nusbaumer, a Vietnam veteran who lost a leg in Vietnam and was angered that the people cared more about the World Series (which he thought could have been "sacrificed" during the war years) also believed the general public should sacrifice something during war time. He wrote "To this day, some 38 years later, when I hear someone on the radio discuss the World Series in 1967, or some similar remark about 1967, I cringe. That was the year I was fighting in Vietnam. That was the year thousands of young Americans were dying and losing limbs and their minds for, supposedly, their country. But our country was excited about the World Series, and.... If a war is important enough for soldiers to be maimed and to die for, it is important enough for all Americans to sacrifice something. Something!"
Former judge and Republican Senator from Kentucky Marlowe Cook wrote "Lyndon Johnson said America could have guns and butter at the same time. This administration says you can have guns, butter and no taxes at the same time. God help us if we are not smart enough to know that is wrong." Ike's son, General John Eisenhower wrote a letter explaining why he was voting for John Kerry in 2004. He said the Republican Party of today was one with which he was "totally unfamiliar" and that given the direction Bush was taking the country we "could not afford" to vote the way we always had. The "liberal media" which had unlimited time to give to the Swift Boat liars gave that letter about as much attention as it did Marlowe Cook's letter explaining why he was voting for John Kerry. Cook also described and decried Bush's ethics. He said the Christian Right could have him with morals like the ones he has. Garrison Keillor wrote a marvelous piece called "We're Not in Lake Woebegone Any More" which explains how todays Republicans are different than the respectable Republicans (like Eisenhower) of years gone by. However, if you truly want to know about "Christian George's" morals, read "The Unbearable Triteness of Being Dubya Bush" by Tamara Baker.
After he was out of the service and not 'blindly following the orders of the higher ups' two time Congressional Medal of Honor winner, also a Republican and one of only two such double Medal of Honor winners in history, Marine Major General Smedley D. Butler figured out that "War is a racket, fought by the very many to benefit the very few. Of course it isn't put that crudely in war-time, it is dressed into speeches about patriotism and love of country...but the profits jump and lap and skyrocket and are safely pocketed." He said he had spent most of his time in the military being "a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism." He felt he could have given "Al Capone a few lessons. He operated in 3 counties, I operated on 3 continents." He spent his years after his military service campaigning against war. He believed that companies like Halliburton should be nationalized months before hostilities began in order to prevent war-profiteering.
MacArthur said "The powers in charge keep us in a perpetual state of fear: Keep us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant sums demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real." He also said "I have known war as few men now living know it. Its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a means of settling international disputes." And then, of course, there is Former Head of Central Command for U.S. Forces in the Middle East, General Anthony Zinni who said in 2002, "It's pretty interesting that all the generals see it the same way, and all the others who have never fired a shot, and are hot to go to war, see it another...We are about to do something that will ignite a fuse in this region that we will rue the day we ever started..." All of that is on my truck.
NOW Brigadier General Mark Scheid has come out and said that during the prewar planning of the Iraq War Donald Rumsfeld forbade military strategists to develop plans for post war Iraq and said he would fire the next person who tried to talk to him about it. And look at the results of his (and Dubya's) incompetence. Sadly, Nelson Mandela who said that Dubya is "a man of little foresight who does not think properly" has proven to be more right than probably even he imagined.
The headline of the Britain's Daily Mirror the day after our 2004 presidential election was a picture of Bush with the caption "How can 59,054,087 people be so dumb?" Americans are not dumb, only ignorant, because as the most revered news anchor of all time, Walter Cronkite said "the media no longer provides the public with the information they need to make informed decisions," or else they are willfully delusional. Which is why Bushco feels the need to engage in fear-mongering. Because, as another general (also on my truck) Nazi General Herman Goerring said at the Nuremburg War Trials"Of course the people don't want war...but the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.. tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." Only the administration's constant fanning of fear can explain why even some of our lawmakers clapped and applauded when in his State of the Union Address Bush basically admitted he had broken the law and intended to continue breaking the law. As Senator Russ Feingold said "I've seen some strange things in my life, but I cannot describe the feeling I had...listening to the President assert that his executive power is, basically, absolute, and watching several members of Congress stand up and cheer him on. It was surreal and disrespectful to our system of government and to the oath that as elected officials we have all sworn to uphold. Cheering? Clapping? Applause? All for violating the law?"
And, as for the "War on Terror" making this country safer, a soldier who began his service as a Republican but is a Republican no longer writes in his blog "A Soldier's Thoughts" that this war is making more Democrats out of soldiers who were formerly Republicans every day. He quotes another soldier who says "Show me a terrorist nowadays that we didn't help create here in Iraq." He writes "Perhaps you think we are making lives better here? Maybe you haven't seen the same things I have."