US Politics

Who Is Politicizing the Dead?

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One of the favorite conservative memes is the contention that the Left in this country politicize the war and the soldiers who serve in it by demanding an accounting of the dead and wounded. Given that claim, you would assume that Republicans would never seek to politicize Memorial Day, right?

Today, though, President Bush decided, was a day for political posturing.

The president vowed to honor those who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan "by completing the mission for which they gave their lives — by defeating the terrorists, by advancing the cause of liberty and by laying the foundation of peace for a generation of young Americans."

More than 4,500 people gathered under a sweltering sun to catch a glimpse of the president, who was introduced by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld as "an historic leader, a selfless leader."

How about honoring them by ending a war that your manager lacked the skill to plan for and that you have long since lost the political will to turn into a victory? How about honoring our soldiers by improving their gear in the field, ending the practice of sending mentally ill troops into the fight, improving their care when the wounded come home, and ending the practice of secretly transporting their caskets when they fall?

‘Honor’ certainly has a unique meaning in this administration.

Memorial Day should be a solemn reminder to politicians about the consequences of war in human terms, for it is politicians who start wars, not soliders. Today is not a day for self-congratulatory praise of the incompetent who made the war effort fail, nor is it a time for political posturing. It is a time for politicians to remember what happens to men and women when they start wars.

Our president should honor the fallen, not exploit their memory. Our president should honor the men and women of our country by telling the truth. Our soliders deserve better.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

4 Comments

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  • “Today, though, President Bush decided, was a day for political posturing.”

    You must be joking. There is a war going on in Iraq, today, and for President Bush to recognize that fact during the memorial is hardly political posturing. Imagine if he had not brought up Iraq and how offensive that would be.

  • Perhaps he could have left it at thanking the men and women serving. Perhaps he could have left it at thanking their parents, children, brothers, sisters, and friends.

    Instead he chose to push his agenda for failure.

  • This ‘war’ will not come to an end for a very long time so settle in. If I see one more ‘support our troops’ yellow ribbon I am going to vomit.

  • I’m not sure I agree. I think we are going to have a major drawdown, in say, October, with a lot of Defense Department sponsored parades in key districts.

    The situation in Iraq won’t have changed, but since Bush already declared victory years ago, what difference does that make?

    Talk about dishonoring our soliders.

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