By Terry HughesGEORGE IS GEORGE
I recently read a letter to the editor of my local newspaper that said the writer had just read David McCullough’s 1776 and compared George Walker Bush to George Washington. “They both led their troops in time of war!” he wrote enthusiastically. (The Letters to the Editor page: where exclamation points go to die!) It has been a few years since I have read this Pulitzer Prize winning history, so I recently browsed through it, searching for comparisons between the two men.
George Washington learned how to fight by engaging in warfare with the “savage” Indians in the Western Colonies. His men were subject to surprise attacks and raids from the camouflaged natives, hidden in the brush. The Indians would use guerilla tactics which were unheard of at that time of “civilized” warfare. They would hit and run, not stand and fight. These tactics taught Washington how to fight the British during the American Revolution, who disembarked an overwhelming professional military force against the patriotic, civilian rebels.
George Walker Bush, on the other hand, abandoned his post in the military during a time of war because he could not pass the new Texas Air National Guard’s physicals which introduced drug testing. So George Walker Bush silently disappeared, content to do his flying fueled by cocaine and whiskey. Some will start yelling at me right now, asking for my proof of desertion. My response: where are George Walker Bush’s honorable discharge papers? Where are his duty records? Why is there not one eye-witness who can testify they served with George Walker Bush during this time?
George Washington led his rebel army during bitter winters and biting rain, crossing wide and icy rivers at night in shallow boats, floating horses and cannon behind. Although outnumbered, he employed audacity and guerilla tactics to confuse and surprise the British, who thought proper armies should march in the open field and face one another in rigid formation.
George Walker Bush has yet to set foot on the field of battle. He has visited Iraq, but only for photo opportunities in air-conditioned cafeterias and fortresses. Stubbornly, he refuses to adjust tactics to engage an ever-changing enemy, thinking that escalation is not an enhancement of failure. So George Walker Bush pursues his vanity war; he will not realize that he has lost Iraq until he sees helicopters evacuating personnel from the rooftops of the U.S. Embassy.
After reviewing 1776, it is evident that George Walker Bush is no George Washington. This president compares himself to Harry Truman, an unpopular man who launched an unpopular war to begin the long cold fight against Communism. Others compare him to Lyndon Baines Johnson, another swaggering Texan who never conceived of a proper strategy to win another unpopular war.
There is another George in 1776 who most resembles George Walker Bush, and that George is George III, King of England. Unpopular, awkward, out of touch and aristocratic, he preferred tending to his roses in his country garden instead of to battles far across the ocean. George Walker Bush bungled his way into the Bush War, and is unable to win it. And now he has lost that war, and although he knows it, he won’t admit it. He cares more for clearing the brush on his ranch than he does for his loyal armies. The shame and the irony are obvious to all but one of us: Long Live the King!