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The Privilege of Unaccountable Elitism: The Real Insult to Our Troops

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In this topsy-turvy "Bizarro" United States under the regime of Bush and Cheney, nothing is as it seems. Thanks to the American genius for advertising, the lazy and obsequious stenographers in the mainstream news media and the abysmally poor education of so many Americans, a cowardly Vietnam era draft-dodging alcoholic son of privilege became "born again" President of the United States and, in the name of "moral clarity," sent other parents' children - but not his own -- to kill and be killed in support of the most egregiously illegal and immoral war ever to besmirch America's world reputation.

Yet, how does our "Bring 'em on" blundering Commander-in-Chief respond when Senator Kerry -- a decorated hero of the very Vietnam War that Bush evaded -- commits his own rhetorical blunder in a joke designed to link Bush's famously deficient education with his subsequent criminal negligence in Iraq?

How else? Just as he did during the Terri Shaivo debacle, Bush rushed his sorry ass to capitalize; this time by scurrying to "Rush" -- talk radio's most infamous drug hypocrite, lying lard-ass and bloviating gutless wonder. What a team! Together, they barked at the moon in feigned fury over Senator Kerry's so-called insult of American troops. Rush once again accused Kerry and the Democrats of effete elitism, which not only puts them out of touch with America's warriors but also renders them weak on National Security.

Their real objective? To deflect attention away from Bush's own egregious insults of America's troops - sending them into combat without enough men, without the proper equipment, and without a comprehensive strategy to secure the peace. Of course, the worst insult of all is to have some 2,800 American soldiers die because Bush and Cheney lied about why the United Stated needed to invade Iraq.

Speaking of liars, who's surprised to learn that our malevolent Vice President - the "man" with five draft deferments, the "brains" behind the 1992 Department of Defense plan for world domination, the war criminal who pushed for the invasion of Iraq and the Pangloss who predicted that Iraqis would greet American invaders as liberators - gave a speech in Hayden, Idaho on November 2, 2006, in which he quoted Senator Kerry out of context?

Yes, Cheney quoted Kerry correctly when he said, "You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq," but what the dishonest Cheney failed to say was that Kerry had prefaced that part of his joke with assertions about Bush -- that Bush once lived in Texas but now "lives in a state of denial." Taken in full, Kerry's statements clearly were intended to insult Bush, and not America's soldiers.

But, then, Cheney revels in the deceit of the half-truth. Remember his 26 August 2002 speech to the 103rd National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars? Cheney told his audience, "The Iraq regime has in fact been very busy enhancing its capabilities in the field of chemical and biological agents." Worse, he claimed, "We now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons."

As evidence, Cheney cited the firsthand testimony of Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, Hussein Kamel Hassan. But Kamel could not have provided any recent information to support Cheney's claims: He had been executed in 1996. Moreover, rather than supporting Cheney's ominous claims, a complete reading of Kamel's assertions actually contradicted them. For Kamel also said: "All chemical weapons were destroyed. I ordered the destruction of all chemical weapons. All weapons-biological, chemical, missile, nuclear-were destroyed."

Finally, if you want evidence of insulting elitist hypocrisy by Republicans, simply turn to pages 140-41 of Bob Woodward's book, State of Denial. There you'll find that pro-war zealot, Paul Wolfowitz (who never served in the military), recommended Cheney's daughter, Liz, to Jay Garner as a person capable of putting together a government in Iraq that had an Iraqi face. After meeting Ms. Cheney, Garner agreed - nepotism notwithstanding. But then Wolfowitz quickly added: "We can't send her over there because she's too high-risk being the vice-president's daughter."

Thus, for all of the Republican Party's faux outrage and populist prattle about Kerry's alleged elitism, Americans would do well ponder why it has become perfectly acceptable for thousands of ordinary husbands, wives, sons and daughters in America's military to risk their lives for their country, when it was not acceptable for Liz Cheney to risk her life to serve her country in Iraq. Don't we all recognize a genuine elitist double standard when we see it?
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Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San (more...)
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