August 22nd, 2005

Space Cadet

A Marine Speaks

Science Fiction and Fantasy writer Elizabeth Moon returned recently from a visit to England and Scotland. This morning, she made the post below in her newsgroup. It is so perfect that I asked her if I could post it here. She said yes. So here it is:

Subject: Presidential Outrage

This is something that was shown on BBC while I was in the UK. 
The news story was about the protest against the war, with
comments by a woman whose son was killed in Iraq, followed by a
brief clip of Bush's response.

I didn't post on it the instant I came home because I was too
tired and brain-scrambled to say all I wanted to say.  At this
point maybe I can.

What was an outrage--obscene, in fact--was not so much what Bush
said but the fact that he laughed when talking about her
protest.  It was a contemptuous, demeaning snigger directed at
the mother of a man who died for his country.

Whatever you think of Bush or the war in Iraq, the fact is that
no commander with a milligram of morality will be contemptuous of
the deaths of soldiers under his/her command.  No good commander
will laugh, giggle, snigger, or otherwise indicate that such
deaths are (heh, heh, heh, as Bush chuckles indulgently) not that
big a deal...and especially not to the mothers of the soldiers
who died.  

It was beyond disgusting.  I sat there in my hotel room, mouth
open, immobilized with a combination of horror and rage.  How
COULD he?  Well, he could because he just doesn't get it, as he
just doesn't get a lot of other things.  Yes, soldiers die in
wars, and yes, all our US Presidents who have sent soldiers to
war have had complaints from the mothers of the dead.  *Other*
presidents have summoned the gravitas, the sober and serious
mien, the courtesy due the mothers of the dead (and the dead
themselves) which indicates--even more than their words--that
they take seriously their responsibility for sending soldiers
into danger.

Instead, Bush chose to chuckle.  To disrespect the dead, and
their families, by making light of their sacrifice.  That hideous
heh-heh-heh-heh thing he does, that labels ridiculous anyone's
disagreement, that infantilizes opposition.  

Some Commander-in-Chief.  Not.