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Guard Duty, Jury Duty, No Duty

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Guard Duty, Jury Duty, No Duty
By Missy Comley Beattie

Most of us have lost count of the reasons Bush has given for invading Iraq. WMD. Removing an evil dictator. Terrorism. Protecting Iraq's oil fields. Bringing Democracy to the Iraqis. The ground keeps shifting, but these five stick in my head.

Now, there's another""one that the President has been anticipating about as much as he looked forward to National Guard duty years ago. Jury duty.

The conversation might have gone something like this: "Hey, Dick, Condi, Rummy, Turd Blossom. If I'm conducting a war, I bet I could get outta jury duty."

"Sure," they'd have said in unison. "Directing a war trumps jury duty any day. That's one of the best ideas you've come up with in a long time, Mr. President."

"So what if a lot of people get killed? If I got saddled with a lengthy trial, I might not be able to ride my bike, or tread my mill. I don't know which would be worse, not being able to exercise or losing a couple of thousand troops."

Then Condi would have advised, "The workout is important. You're not in a very good mood when you miss one. And you can still exercise while waging war. Remember, you don't have to go. You could surprise the troops"maybe on Thanksgiving"once, but other than that, you needn't bother."

"That settles it. A President's gotta do what a President's gotta do. And, anyway, there's no greater calling than serving your country in time of war. That's what I'll say to get some of those high school students to sign up. War it is."

But my thinking is: Who would want George W. Bush summoned for that important civic responsibility anyway?

If I were on trial, I'd expect what all of us are promised""a jury of my peers. And I don't think G. W. is my peer. I'm not bragging when I say I'm smarter than he is. It's not like I'm a member of Mensa, but I can articulate a pretty decent thought and when I've said something like, "Fool me once, shame on you"," I can follow through without a string of "um, uh, um, uh." Certainly, if my guilt or innocence were being assessed, I'd want someone who could examine all the evidence and make sound judgments. I sure wouldn't want a juror who would listen to the prosecution and the defense about something as important as a sentence of several years or maybe even the rest of my life and, then, adjourn to the jury room and manufacture lies to convict me. Nor would I want someone who would prejudge before hearing the testimony. I mean, what if he got a little confused and thought,she tried to kill my daddy?

And what if for some reason, he got in there and decided to do one of his "stay the course" numbers""be someone who could hang up all the other jurors, sequestered for months. You know, there might be no end in sight, no exit strategy. I'd want to get the whole thing over with, know my fate. You've seen those television trials where there's a lone holdout. Someone who just hunkers down, REAL stubborn-like and refuses to listen to reason even when each of the other eleven people is solidly standing together with the opposite opinion. Sort of like right now with the war. And all of us know how George refuses to admit he's made a mistake. My life could be at stake, and he probably wouldn't budge. Even if no weapon were discovered. No motive. That I had no connection whatsoever to any criminal elements.

Probably, though, I'm worrying unnecessarily with all this talk of Bush's jury duty. After all, if he discovered he couldn't avoid this task because he's the President with HUGE wartime responsibilities, I'm sure he could just call on his father, the biological one, as he did during the Vietnam War and go missing. Remember, he didn't meet his commitments then. And he hasn't matured with age.
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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 (more...)
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