Veterans know war is ugly


I'd like to offer a little background on the Democratic leadership in Washington.


Tom Daschle, the Senate majority leader, served his country in the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command for three years. Dick Gephardt, the House minority leader, served six years in the National Guard. David Bonior, the House minority whip, served four years in the U.S. Air Force. Senators John Kerry and Daniel Inouye both earned Purple Hearts for their injuries suffered in Vietnam and World War II, respectively. Senate committee chairmen Harkin, Hollings and Kennedy all served their country in uniform. Former Vice President Al Gore served in Vietnam.


Yet these Democrats are precisely the people who, according to George W. Bush, are "not interested in the security of the American people," only because they have the audacity to question whether the president is indeed acting in the best interests of our country, or whether our imminent invasion of Iraq has been conveniently timed to coincide with the upcoming election.


To be fair, there are plenty of distinguished military veterans among the Republican faithful as well, such as Secretary Colin Powell, former Secretary Larry Eagleburger, Sen. Chuck Hagel, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, and Gen. Anthony Zinni, among others. And they all believe that this administration is being far too reckless in its thirst for military invasion.


So what about the president's advisers and supporters who can't wait to send our young men and women into hostile territory? Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, Condoleeza Rice, Tom Delay and Trent Lott all have two things in common: Never in their lives have they worn a military uniform, and curiously, they all have very close ties to either the oil industry or the military-industrial complex. Go figure.


And what about our revered president? He managed to bypass an extensive waiting list to get into the Texas Air National Guard at the height of the Vietnam War in 1968, served four years of a six-year commitment.


Veterans know that war is an ugly business, and the thought of invading a sovereign country without any provocation whatsoever should give anyone pause. That Bush would spit upon the reputations of those who, unlike himself, risked their lives in defense of this country is disgraceful. But it pales in comparison to the idea that the blood of our sons and daughters is a small price to pay for oil fields, votes in the 2002 election, and distraction from a complete failure of leadership.


Geoff Trowbridge The Elkhart Truth, 10/1/2002