Bush is a consummate braggart. At the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Salt Lake City yesterday, he let loose again with more of his exaggerated muscle-flexing, his bragging bloviation, and his appeals to the basest instincts of the American people.
He bragged that his administration has increased veteran's benefits more in his first four years, than Clinton did in his entire eight years. Of course, what he did not mention is that his Iraq war, with almost 2000 dead American soldiers and 11,000 American wounded, is the reason he has had to raise veteran's benefits. And he also didn't mention that he has raised veterans benefits only after being dragged kicking and screaming by the Republicans in Congress, as well as veterans organizations. He also didn't mention that in the previous eight years the only major conflict the United States engaged in (Bosnia) resulted in no American soldiers being killed.
Wrapping himself in the flag yet again, he just had to thank the VFW for supporting the flag desecration constitutional amendment passed by the House of Representatives and now waiting in the US Senate. Why not a constitutional amendment protecting copies of the US Constitution from being burned in protest, or copies of the Declaration of Independence, or copies of the Bill of Rights? Before he died, my father, who was a company commander in WWII and liberated a concentration camp in Wels, Austria, was appalled when this amendment was first proposed. He said: "My men died in France, Germany, and Austria defending the right of Americans to burn their flag in protest of anything they want." Why is it that chickenhawk fakers like Bush and Cheney are the ones who wrap themselves in the flag so easily?
Vice President Cheney, a few days ago in a speech before another veterans group, compared himself to George Washington and these times to the darkest days of the American Revolution. In this speech to the VFW, Bush links 9/11 and his Iraq war to "the shores of Normandy and the snows of Korea." He proves yet again Samuel Johnson's apt adage that "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."
Samuel Johnson elaborates fittingly: "Let us take a patriot, where we can meet him; and, that we may not flatter ourselves by false appearances, distinguish those marks which are certain, from those which may deceive; for a man may have the external appearance of a patriot, without the constituent qualities; as false coins have often lustre, though they want weight." (in the Patriot, 1774)