Bush's address to the American people announcing combat victory in Iraq deserved to be marked with solemnity, not extravagance; with gratitude to God, not self-congratulatory gestures. American blood has been shed on foreign soil in defense of the president's policies. This is not some made-for-TV backdrop for a campaign commercial. This is real life, and real lives have been lost. To me, it is an affront to the Americans killed or injured in Iraq for the president to exploit the trappings of war for the momentary spectacle of a speech. I do not begrudge his salute to America's warriors aboard the carrier Lincoln, for they have performed bravely and skillfully, as have their countrymen still in Iraq, but I do question the motives of a desk-bound president who assumes the garb of a warrior for the purposes of a speech.
As I watched the president's speech, before the great banner proclaiming "Mission Accomplished," I could not help but be reminded of the tobacco barns of my youth, which served as country road advertising backdrops for the slogans of chewing tobacco purveyors. I am loath to think of an aircraft carrier being used as an advertising backdrop for a presidential political slogan, and yet that is what I saw.
- Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV)
Robert Byrd may have turned into a parody of himself over the past few years, but the Senate's resident blowhard and porkmeister does make some valid points in this piece. Does anyone really believe that Shrub's speech on the USS Lincoln was another but a backdrop for the 2004 Presidential campaign? Well, yes, I suppose some of you probably might. Perhaps if his speech hadn't sounded so much like a campaign stump speech, I might be inclined to give Shrub the benefit of the doubt.
The Administration will, of course, feign ignorance in their "How dare you accuse us of such underhanded tactics??" manner. Well, j'accuse. Mark my words, when the Shrub campaign rolls out their 2004 campaign commercials, Shrub's tour de farce will undoubtedly figure prominently. Guess what, America? Your tax dollars paid for the charade...but then criticizing the motives of Our Sainted President is unpatriotic, isn't it?
I do believe that being thankful for the excellent performance of our uniformed men and women is entirely appropriate. There are many who weren't fortunate enought to survive the war in Iraq, and they deserve better than to be used as a backdrop for Shrub's re-election campaign. Apparently, Shrub and his minions see nothing untoward in the cynical use of a US Navy and it's personnel.
Byrd indeed has a solid point- to whom much is given, much is expected. This should be particularly true of Our Sainted President. In this respect, though, Shrub has proven himself to be just another politician, willing to use whatever symbols that provide themselves for personal gain. For shame....