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October 27, 2006

They Keep On Dying And The Band Plays On

By Thomas L. Walsh

The Commander-In-Chief Reverses Course, Then Denies Doing So.


I am so consumed with anger as I type this that my hands feel as if they are trembling uncontrollably. As we do many nights, Wynnie and I watched the Jim Lehrer News Hour while we ate dinner. At the end of Lehrer's show, they run a scroll of young men and women killed in Iraq today. There were 17 today...I've seen more, I've seen less. Every night I see this I feel close to tears. To many, these are nameless, faceless kids. Hardly anyone knows them. I 'm sure the people in this administration, none of whose kids have ever faced the prospect of risking youthful death in order to get a chance at an education, or find some way to dig themselves out of poverty, don't know them. Many are poor. Many are Hispanic or black. None have ever interfaced with the Bush or Cheney daughters. These kids are not part of the "haves, or the have-mores." They don't travel in those circles. I met one of these young men a week ago in central Illinois. He is returning to Iraq for the third time. He is a lovely young man. He needs the money. He needs an education. I don't believe either Bush or Cheney honestly give a damn about him. I'm ready to take off the gloves on this. A local newspaper whom I've written (and written well for) over the past four years recently told me I could no longer write about George W. Bush. I believe the pressure on the publisher here in ultra-conservative Idaho was fierce. Meanwhile they continue to publish the same rattling, prattling "cut and run" drivel which is written daily by the unthinking arch-conservatives who have made Idaho politically infamous. In the meantime, our American kids keep dying--- every day---for nothing. You know something? I'm sick of this crap. I'm sick of this miserable weasel of a president we have to put up with for two more years, regardless of the makeup of the congress. I'm sick of his insipid fool of a vice-president, who just last week, in the middle of a full-fledged civil war in a country we had no business invading, said moronically, incredibly, that the Iraqi government is doing "remarkably well." Does Cheney not know about the 85 American kids who've been killed thus far in October, or does he just not care? Who, other than George W. Bush, would continue to accept such incompetence? In the meantime, our American kids keep dying---every day---for nothing. It's obvious to all but the mentally impaired---George W. Bush is a serial liar. Last week he went on television and said, "We've never been 'stay the course.'" I've neither the time nor patience to track down every writer who can disprove this. I'll just give you three---all respected professional journalists. The Washington Post's Dan Froomkin listed a minimum of four incidents (and provided dates) where Bush said exactly that. I believe he could have listed ten more minimum, but it would have messed up his story. The Post's Peter Baker listed three more occasions where Bush stated exactly that. Again, to list more would have cluttered his column. William Rivers Pitt, one of my favorite political writers, listed five "we'll stay the courses" until he went on to finish his column. Get the general drift? In the meantime, our American kids keep dying---every day---for nothing. Now we see that George Herbert Walker Bush finally got James Baker to put together the Iraq Study Group, in an attempt to get the heat off his son, by enlisting an experienced, non-crazed, non neo-con former statesman to step in and try to put together something to get us out of this endless, senseless quagmire. Only problem here---let's wait until after the mid-terms, so we don't make the G.O.P. look as feckless as they are. Last week veteran political writer Mark Shields said, "How would you like to be one of the Gold Star mothers who loses a child now, and then sees the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, and realizes they waited until after the election to speak out? In the meantime, our American kids keep dying---every day---for nothing. -30-

Authors Bio:
Thomas L. Walsh graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Communications/Journalism degree in 1962. Following a successful business career, he retired to Idaho's Teton Valley in 1999, where he works as a free-lance writer. Walsh and his wife Wynne Ann both teach Alpine skiing at Wyoming's Grand Targhee Ski Resort in the winter. Tom recently published his first book.

"Damnyankee, a WWII Story of Tragedy and Survival off the West of Ireland," is the compelling story of a World War II U.S. Navy submarine patrol bomber which ditched off the west coast of Ireland in 1944 in a seething North Atlantic storm.

Four decades later an American arrived in Clifton, County Galway, claiming to have been a crew member on that aircraft lost at sea, and striving to reconfirm that this tragedy had occurred. With the help of a sergeant in the Garda, an Irish schoolboy, and an aging Irish maiden lady, the former bow gunner was able to reconstruct the incident. In the process, he found a way to honor those who lost their lives in the storm-lashed sea that tragic night.

The author's familiarity with Ireland and all things Irish adds additional perspective to the book. From a beginning in Norfolk, Virginia to a partial salvation at the tiny village of Ailleabreach along the Galway coast, this book has something for both WWII aviation buffs as well as those hopelessly in love with the West of Ireland.

Damnyankee is available through both and Barnes
& Noble.