Bush says he listens to his generals, but does he listen to his troops? Doubtful, because he wouldn't like what he'd hear. The significance of the following letter cannot be overstated in terms of what is says about the feeling within our armed forces.
It first quotes an economist's recent paper on the war's nearly unfathomable cost, and goes on to name-and-shame war profiteers and accuse the Bush family of near-treason for personal enrichment. Honestly, it's the kind language you'd expect to see in a World Socialist Worker newsletter.
But this letter, headed "Bush's Sorry Legacy" is the lead item on the Letters-to-the-Editors page of Stars & Stripes
, the house organ of the U.S. military. It appears on the website and leads the page in BOTH the European and Pacific editions (which suggests a particular endorsement from the editors).Michele Winter, stationed in Würzburg, Germany, wrote:
"In 'The True Costs of the Iraq War,' Joseph Stiglitz (Columbia University professor of economics) states, 'One cannot help but wonder: were there alternative ways of spending a fraction of the war’s $1-$2 trillion in costs that would have better strengthened security, boosted prosperity, and promoted democracy?'
"And spared lives? Clearly, but at a loss of billions in contracts to Halliburton/KBR, Bechtel and the Carlyle Group, of which George H.W. Bush is senior adviser. If it weren’t for war, the Bush family empire would be bankrupt.
Self-enrichment is why Bush and (British Prime Minister) Tony Blair were determined to launch an invasion against Iraq.
"Bush’s policy of touting peace and democracy while dropping bombs on oil-producing countries and promoting crony capitalism in an America deteriorating into a feudal backwater will be Bush’s legacy as the worst president in U.S. history."
And just in case you're thinking that such talk could/should get the writer in trouble for disloyalty to the Commander-in-Chief, the editors of Stars & Stripes helpfully offer some perspective in the very next letter:Writes Michael Williams from Baghdad:
"Letters referencing the Uniform Code of Military Justice and political protest remind me of 1996 and 2000. I wonder where these self-righteous enforcers stood then.
"I recall entering my work center at a joint service unit in 1996 to find an Army noncommissioned officer lecturing my troops to the effect that, if the election did not kick President Clinton out, he and a half million other soldiers knew how to 'finish the job.'
"I also remember talking with my division chief in late 2000 who stated to me and others that he was afraid of only one thing in that election: that George W. Bush would win the popular vote but not the Electoral College. He said if that happened, he expected the military to 'step in' and set things right
. He reacted with indignation when I informed him that such talk was treason and he questioned my loyalties. Not surprisingly, he did not advocate armed insurrection when what he feared did happen, only not to the guy he was supporting."