Connie's Comments

Incisive observations on political, cultural, and spiritual topics, based on personal commitment to accuracy and honesty.
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Tuesday, June 24, 2003
by Connie Cook Smith

Bush cut out on military service
Assistant quits and goes to Democrats
9/11 families "sickened and disgusted"

I hope Mr. Bush doesn't stage any more stunts like putting on a flight suit and declaring the Iraq war over. It is cruelly painful to all who have loved ones in the service -- to fill families and troops with hopes of homecoming -- and then for our soldiers to face continuing danger and death.

Further, many consider it an insult for Mr. Bush to don military garb, because over a year of his stint in the National Guard is still unaccounted for. The Boston Globe in May of 2000 -- and many sources since then -- have thoroughly documented Young George skipping out on flight physicals and not showing up for duty for months at a time, while his contemporaries were fighting and dying in Vietnam.

I don't understand how he got a pass on this when he was running for president. And I don't understand how he can send our loved ones off to the horrors of war, while he himself always dwells in luxury and safety.

There are two very telling developments that I think indicate what kind of man George W. Bush really is. One pertains to a 35-year-public-service veteran -- including years in the White House under Reagan and Bush I -- now giving Bush II his resignation and going straight over to the Democrats to help them defeat the president next year.

And the other is the 9/11 victims' families announcing that they are "disgusted and sickened" at how badly they are treated by everyone in the Bush administration, from the top down.

The first case is very alarming. The Washington Post on June 16th quoted Rand Beers, a special assistant to the president on counterterrorism, as leaving the White House and going over to the opposition because "the administration is making us less secure, not more secure."

Beers asserted, "There has been little, if any, follow-through on cybersecurity, port security, infrastructure protection..." This includes minimal security at nuclear plants, of special concern to Illinois residents. Beers said our basic security requirements since 9/11 "have been avoided, neglected, and shortchanged."

And why? "Politically," he said, "it's easier to go to war."

But Mr. Beers claims that war, too, is not done well by the Bush administration. The Post article said, "Beers thinks the war in Afghanistan was a job begun, then abandoned." And that war in Iraq has been "ill-conceived and poorly executed."

Commentator Paul C. Light has declared, "I can't think of a single example, in the last 30 years in Washington, of a person who has done something so extreme" as Rand Beers. "The way he wants to make a difference in the world is to get George W. Bush out of office."

Indeed, Mr. Beers has no qualms about this being a necessity. He's now on record saying that he's "never felt so strongly about something in my life."

Meanwhile, there is the continuing heartbreak of the 9/11 families.

Contrary to an AP article in the Friday, June 20th Daily Ledger, wherein a Bush spokesperson claimed, "The president strongly supports the commission," 9/11 widow Monica Gabrielle said in a recent interview with Eric Boehlert: "We've been fighting the administration for 21 months. The White House is just blocking everything."

It is a matter of record that Bush and Cheney personally phoned former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and pressured him to limit the investigation surrounding the September 11th attacks. Senator John McCain complained that the administration "slow-walked and stonewalled" every step of an inquiry process.

Despite these obstacles, a bipartisan committee produced a 900-page report about 9/11 on December 2, 2002, and that officially launched the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks. However, this 9/11 Commission is allowed only a total of 18 months to conclude its work, whereas several years of depositions may need to be taken.

The American people need to consider this: First, it took a year and three months to establish the commission. Second, enough time to do the job is scarcely allowed. And third, a budget of only $3 million was initially allotted.

By comparison, for the recent space shuttle disaster, a special commission was set up that very same day. And a $50 million budget was immediately allotted.

No price can be put on anyone's precious life, but 9/11 family members can't help but bitterly notice that an immediate investigation and $50 million was granted to investigate the loss of 7 lives -- whereas over a year of obstructions and finally only $14 million was allocated -- to investigate the loss of nearly 3,000 lives.

Not to mention -- what about ANSWERS to the the most critical questions about how the United States could be so completely defenseless!

The 9/11 families find it staggering that there have been no repercussions whatsoever for anyone in the administration, the military, the intelligence services, nor in aviation. Not even despite the fact that after the World Trade Center was hit twice and before Flight 77 hit the Pentagon, there was three-quarters-of-an-hour during which no one gave any thought to defending Washington D.C.! Yet authorities knew that other hijacked planes were in the air.

This is so inexcusable, it makes me think that maybe they had it right in Asia. Leaders there who failed this badly used to fall on their swords in shame. It's no wonder there are suspicions that high-level orders must have been given that day for the military to stand down and let it happen. The skies over Washington should have been a-buzz with fighter jets, because there was plenty of time for defensive action over the nation's capital after New York was attacked.

And now, there have been seven more months of stalling from the White House, seeking to re-classify information that was previously released -- apparently, to keep the public from seeing it again. Specifically, according to Newsweek, it's those troubling presidential briefings in August of 2001 about "planes being hijacked" -- John Ashcroft stopped flying commercial airliners in July -- plus discomforting reports about the Saudis, long-time business partners of the Bush family, being responsible for the funding of terrorism.

Widow Kristin Breitweiser is "sickened" that President Bush mentioned 9/11 over 10 times in his last State of the Union address, while at the same time, the White House was blocking funding for the 9/11 investigation. And she's likewise angry at the major media, saying, "The commission is doing the most important work for this nation and it's not even on the nightly news. I've been scheduled to go on 'Meet the Press' and 'Hardball' many times, but I'm always canceled."

Widow Monica Gabrielle is equally upset: "Bush has never personally met with the [9/11] families to discuss any of this, so for him to use Sept. 11 and its victims to justify his agenda, I myself am disgusted."

Personally, I am wondering when the American people are going to wake up and get disgusted. The way it's going now, the Bush White House will stall out the investigation to its premature conclusion-date next May. Then they'll move blithely on into Campaign 2004 -- with the appalling idea of "winning big" regarded as a virtue, while "serving well" is never even considered.


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