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Declaring My Independence from the Bush Administration
July 4, 2003
By Ed Hanratty

Mr. Bush: I am not, nor have I ever been a big fan of yours. As a matter of fact, I voted with the majority of voters against you when you ran for office in 2000. However, by hook or by crook (and yes, the pun was intended) you are now the sitting Commander in Chief, regardless of how illegitimate I think you are. As an American citizen, that means you are my Commander in Chief as well. My tax dollars fund your salary. My tax dollars fund your cronyism. And my tax dollars fund your deployment of my fellow citizens to all corners of the world.

And, as you're fond of saying, make no mistake - even though I vehemently disagree with your maniacal and haphazard foreign policy, I want nothing less than the safest of situations for all of the boys and girls serving you over there. They are brave and noble for their service, but this does not give you the license to use them as replaceable resources, or pawns in your game. They're people George, not toys. They chose to serve. They didn't chose to play hide and seek from the Texas Air National Guard.

Which brings me to my point. Where do you get off telling the world that the US is well equipped to handle continued and expanded Iraqi uprisings against your occupation, so "Bring them on." Bring them on? Are you kidding me? Openly daring an enemy force to try and remove the US presence in their homeland? What Dungeons and Dragons strategy guide did Karl Rove mistake for The Art of War?

You can not be serious. Not only is this yet another embarrassment that Americans will have to deal with, but it's also incredibly dangerous.

I don't care what context you meant this in. I don't care if you were misunderstood. I heard that it "sounds worse than it really is." Do you think Al Jazeera or Abu Dhabi is going to make such a disclaimer? Do you think that the insurgents and others who wish harm to America are going to say "well, he didn't mean it that way." No. You're adding fuel to an already raging fire. You put our troops in a very difficult position. Over two hundred soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq in less than four months. You've put them directly in harm's way, even though your motivations for doing so were suspect to most of the world. And you continue to do so by egging on those who consider the occupying force to be "the enemy."

George, do you realize that the perception of the American soldier in the Middle East is vastly different than the perception that we get from FOX News? They don't have an "America's Bravest Wall" in Baghdad. They don't broadcast welcome home parades in Damascus. You will not find many yellow ribbons donning palm trees in Gaza City. They don't like us George. They think we're arrogant. Wherever would they get such an idea?

I'll tell you what will be broadcast over and over again in the Middle East though: "Bring them on". And you know what George? They're going to put a spin on it so fine that Bill O'Reilly will be greener than the Jolly Giant with envy.

I'm sure it's been hard enough to explain the previous two hundred deaths to the American people, and more importantly, the families of those killed in combat. But how are you going to explain them now? It's no longer "Private Williams died to liberate an oppressed people." Now the explanation is "Private Williams died because I dared the enemy to bring it!" Doesn't jive well, does it George?

You're not the one on the front lines. You never were. Neither was I, but I didn't send them over there so Halliburton could make a fat profit. Jenna and Barbara aren't over there, neither is your nephew George P. Bush (the one your father introduced to Ronnie Reagan as "the little brown one"). You remain the safest person in America. We'd all love to have our undisclosed secure locations to run to, especially when you refuse to fund First Responders. But we can't and the troops in Iraq can't. So don't make their job any harder than you already have, okay? Thank you.

Furthermore, if I send you a thesaurus, will you promise me that you'll read it? The next time you throw a dinner party at $2,000 a pop, can you pocket a little bit for yourself and enroll in finishing school? Not only is your demeanor crude and elementary, it's an insulting embarrassment. I understand that grades and studies were never as important as Jim Beam and the white stuff. I know that it was much more fun to get loaded and do figure-8's in Kennebunkport than it was to study for the SAT. I know that big words may at times make you insecure. But do you have to digress to such playground bully language?

I'm going to let you in on a little secret here George. Those of us who don't live with our parents, watch professional wrestling, and possess Yosemite Sam mud-flaps, think you're pretty damn stupid. I don't know who you're trying to impress. "Evil Doers." "Dead or Alive." "Freedom Loving People." "Misunderestimate." You think this is decorum befitting a President? Have you ever heard of dignity, or grace, or even common decency? You may think that this is the "way to the common man's heart," and to some people, you may be right. But you know what there George, I don't believe the Framers ever envisioned a "common man" being President. It's an exceptional job that requires an exceptional person. You're a mediocre man doing a deplorable job.

Let me clue you in on the common man while we're on the subject George. The common man may be a C student, but he doesn't get into Yale University. The common man does not graduate from school and have an oil business waiting there for him to run into the ground. The common man doesn't summer in Kennebunkport. The common man has earned just about every dollar he has ever had. The common man doesn't get to take a nap during the workday. The common man can't collect $2,000 from people to hear him speak like a common man. The common man knows what it's like to struggle.

Many common men and women think that they can ease their struggles by enlisting to serve you, George. But then you just turn around and dare the enemy to bring it on. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Ed Hanratty can be reached at [email protected]

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