I’m finding it hard to put into words the digust and shame I feel at the Bush Legacy Tour currently on display. It was tough to watch him go through the motions last night, reading his accomplishments and failures (although, of course he calls them “disappointments”) and ultimately contending that he did what he thought was best and in the interest of the country.
I was particularly irritated at the mention of the 60 year old father who joined the Navy Medical Corps to honor the memory of his young son, killed in Iraq. Next year, Bush said, this man will be shipping out to Iraq himself.
Frankly, I think that’s one of the saddest legacies of this administration. You have a young man, in the prime of his life, killed in a needless war. His father is so distraught (necessarily) over his son’s death, that he himself joins the needless war effort — perhaps to meet a fate as terrible and untimely as his son’s.
Maybe if he were going to fight a terrible enemy, if the war had been based on sound evidence and not terrible lies, this story would be uplifting, an example of dedication to one’s country and one’s family. Instead, I am chilled to think of a family losing a son and a father, for the pursuit of Dick Cheney’s twisted goals.
George W. Bush keeps saying that history will judge him, that future historians might one day conclude that it was right to invade Iraq. I doubt it. But even so, such a judgment won’t change the fact that it his was a war that could have been avoided, that thousands of Americans and untold numbers of Iraqis died for a paltry reason.
History’s conclusions don’t absolve the present of blame. They certainly don’t make death any less tragic. People have a tendency to read the wars of history through a disconnect, as if the death toll from one war or another doesn’t matter now that years have passed. There should be no disconnect. War changes everything, has untold consequences that should matter more than one man’s desire to be proven right in the long run.