This was sent to me by my co-editor:
A Handful Came to Honor Military Families & Support the Troops
They came to cheer for Bushâ€™s war. They came to counter the anti war rally. They came to heap praise on their president for his leadership and wisdom. What a sorry group they were.
Their organizers had planned for thousands. The glitzy bandstand looked out on a sea of chairs prepared for a large turnout of real Americans to show their support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the end, a meager few hundred souls showed up. They came to prop up their trusted leader and his blind commitment to staying the course. They failed quite miserably.
It wasnâ€™t only the poor turn-out that made this event so pathetic. First, it was the exploitation of the dead. Family member after family member of a dead soldier thanked George Bush profusely for waging the war that took the life of their loved one. And second, it was the concerted effort to portray the anti war protesters as fools and traitors and left wing radicals. That, too, fell totally flat.
They really tried, give them credit for that. It was a one-two punch. Hit the audience with a heart-wrenching story of valor and death, and then blame the protesters for not supporting the troops. Have a grieving parent or spouse share the real pain of losing someone in the war, and follow it up by someone telling Cindy Sheehan she should move to Iran. And so it went for hours on end, interspersed with sparse applause and isolated war whoops. On and on and on.
And then, of course there were the highlights, the moments to remember â€“ the ones that put the icing on this bitter, poisonous cake. Best of all was the introduction of â€œa great Americanâ€ to help their cause â€“ J. Gordon Liddy! Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel! It could be that many in the audience had no clue that the man they were cheering and applauding had spent more than four years in prison for planning the Watergate burglary. What a historic moment that was, witnessing the birth of Convicted Felons for War! Then again, thinking of Bushâ€™s appointees, how utterly fitting.
Second best was Ronald Conley, a past commander of the American Legion. To the wild applause of his audience, he outlined a plan to deal with protesters â€“ whom he blamed for losing the Vietnam War! Since protesters have the potential to destroy our way of life, Conley explained, the Legion had passed a landmark resolution last August. Among other things it stated that. “the right to protest must be carefully weighed and be responsible so as not [sic] to avoid enemy propaganda.” Mangled as this phrase was, the intent was clear: fascism lives!
Aside from the families, the afternoon was a venue for a handful of right wing talk show hosts, politicos and gung ho military men. Their common rhetoric, to no oneâ€™s surprise, featured three emotionally charged trigger words: terror, terrorist, and 9/11, while the continuous barrage against Cindy Sheehan and the anti war movement was relentless. It could be that the real anger on display was motivated by the embarrassingly small turnout for a dying cause. My money is on that possibility.
My money also is on Karl Rove eating a great deal of crow right now. His public dismissal of the anti war movement was a really dumb move. But heâ€™ll atone by making certain that George Bush is spared any news of the massive rally against his wars and his presidency that took place on Saturday. You can be just as sure that Rove will keep his fragile puppet from learning about the dismally small number of Bush supporters that showed up on Sunday.