(And as an aside-- is it just me, or does a large amount of contemporary American political discourse seem to be centered around the idea that "well, liberals would win more elections if they'd just shut up and keep to themselves instead of going around being all liberal all the time!"? It's a curious double-bind that the American left-wing is in these days-- if liberals get really passionate and fired-up about trying to fix what they see as the problems with the country, conventional wisdom says "See, liberals are just dangerous radical Communists who'll sell us all out to the terrorists!" [See: Howard Dean.] On the other hand, if they try to compromise and build common ground with conservatives, conventional wisdom says "See, liberals are just weak and ineffectual--don't throw your vote away on a pussy!" [See: Joe Lieberman.])
Anyhow, I wanted to link to this article at firedoglake. All of it is good, but I particularly want to point out the end:
The President of the United States and his advisors have an obligation to the public to be honest and forthright with them if we are going to go into battle to defend our nation. To start a war is the single most critical decision a President ought ever make. For all those mothers and fathers who send their child into battle on behalf of our great nation, we owe them nothing less than full honesty -- and the President owes them nothing less than honesty with himself as to all of the information available before he gives the orders that will potentially send their children to their death.
This President has lost faith with these soldiers and their families. And Congress ought to be ashamed of themselves for providing what little oversight has been done -- they bear just as much responsibility as the President. Our men and women in uniform deserve much better than this.
They are facing death every day in the streets of Iraq because the President was too dishonest, too craven, too lazy to stand up and be honest with the American people about the reasons he was taking the nation to war. But the people who pay the price for this war are not the sons and daughters of privilege by and large -- and too often they are the families who can least afford to pay the price of so great a sacrifice. But pay it they do, for they love their nation. And for their love of country, what they have gotten in return is a President who has broken faith with them, and sent them into battle based on lies ginned up to create an atmosphere that would support Bush's War.
All that false caring about the troops, the praying with the families of the dead, the false bravado of the boo-yah in a speech on a base, is worthless if you didn't care enough about their lives to do the work to start with before they went into battle.
Just as all that false caring about the people in the Gulf Region here in the US is meaningless when you stay on vacation for days after you know how dire the situation is. All of the public staging, the spin, the Mighty Wurlitzer storylines about what a great, genial, wonderful man you are doesn't mean squat if you aren't man enough to listen to criticism when it is warranted -- and to information that contradicts what you want to hear. A real man faces reality, a coward hides in his bubble surrounded by sycophants who tell him only what he wants to hear and feeds him hand-picked audiences to stroke his ego.
The president pays for his own ego-trip with the blood and flesh of American citizen-soldiers. So, somebody tell me again why soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines have so much hate for Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan?