Saturday, February 28, 2004

Four for 500, One for 9-11

The White House announced that the panel investigating the September 11 attacks on the United States will get only one hour to ask President George W. Bush what he knew about the events that lead to the suicide airline hijackings.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan answered, "They are looking at an hour as you pointed out," when asked whether he could confirm reports that the president was limiting the meeting to an hour.

Just a few weeks ago, Mr. Bush set aside over four hours to watch NASCAR's Daytona 500, but now he cannot spare more than a single hour for the commission charged with examining lapses in intelligence and national security in the months before the attacks. Don't American's looking for answers -- especially the families of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon -- deserve as much of the president's time and attention as NASCAR received.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Where's the gay threat?

Could someone please explain how gay marriages threaten traditional, straight marriages? Is my Presbyterian marriage threatened by Methodist marriages? Do multiracial marriages threaten my single-race marriage? Is my marriage under threat from other couples' second and third marriages?

Just how threatened is my traditional marriage?

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Are there two Ft. Polk, Louisianas?

You would certainly think so if you read the accounts of Mr. Bush's visit to Ft. Polk in both the Chicago Tribune p. 19, "Political storm about Guard duty hovers over visit"] and the Chicago Sun-Times p. 34, "Bush finds support with Iraq-bound guardsmen"].

In the Tribune's story, controversy about Mr. Bush's duty in the Air National Guard permeated the events. In the Sun-Times -- actually Associated Press -- story, Mr. Bush rose above such questions. In the Tribune story, guardsmen said that, after listening to Mr. Bush, they would be voting for Democratic front-runner, Mr. Kerry. In the Sun-Times story, guardsmen brushed off any questions about Mr. Bush's character.

I am certain that something very significant occurred in Ft. Polk, La.

I wonder what it was.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Guard Service: Then and Now

The president and his spokesman do not seem to understand why Mr. Bush's record in the Texas Air National Guard repeatedly being called into question. Mr. Bush insists that this issue was fully addressed in the 2000 campaign. But many things have changed since Mr. Bush has taken office.

Mr. Bush initiated what now appears to have been an ill-advised and unnecessary military invasion of Iraq. This massive military campaign necessitated the activation of innumerable National Guard units and their soldiers. These previously part-time soldiers have been ordered to active duty -- the same active duty Mr. Bush joined the Guard to avoid -- and sent to a battle-field overseas -- much like the battle field that Mr. Bush joined the Guard to avoid. One year ago, 79,000 Guard and Reserve members were on active duty. Now, nine months after Mr. Bush declared an end to major combat in Iraq, 190,000 are on active duty.

In addition, many of these Guard soldiers have been subjected to the Bush Pentagon's "stop-loss" and "stop-move" orders designed to maintain troop strength in Iraq and Afghanistan. The "stop-loss" order prevents troops from retiring or leaving the service at the end of their enlistments -- unlike Mr. Bush who admits that he left the Guard before his commitment was completed to go to Harvard Business School. The "stop-move" order holds troops overseas beyond the original end of their tours. While these troops are required to stay with their units in the war-zones of Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr. Bush was unable bring himself to remain in Texas with his Guard unit.

Currently 40,000 servicemen and women, many of them members of the National Guard and Reserve, have been affected by the "stop-loss" and "stop-move" orders.

When so many Guardsmen and women are risking their lives by serving their country overseas, it is certainly legitimate to ask if their Commander-in-Chief met his state-side service obligation.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004