Ignoring Their Advice

A television commercial in the works by VoteVets.org, challenging the notion that President Bush listens to commanders on the ground, will feature Maj. Gens. John Batiste and Paul Eaton. Batiste and Eaton were those very commanders on the ground, and their words will inform voters in districts and states represented by Republicans that, indeed, Bush did not heed their advice about the right strategy for Iraq. These words, from the non-political military, will be hard to forget.

In a staggering letter Eaton wrote Bush last week following Bush's veto of the emergency war spending bill passed by Congress, Eaton said the bill Bush vetoed represented "a course of action that is long overdue." He accused Bush of ignoring the advice of his military experts and noted that a number of generals, including Gen. Eric Shineski, who "did not tell you what you wanted to hear," were forced out of their jobs. Eaton expressed respect for the office Bush holds but said he "could not sit idly by as you told the American people today that your veto was based on the recommendations of military men. Your administration ignored the advice of our military's finest minds before, and I see no evidence that you are listening to them now."

No one in any party, whether they support or oppose the war, wants to read these words. We all want to believe our presidents wage war for legitimate reasons based on sound and exhaustive deliberation, and that wars are waged legitimately based upon the counsel of military experts who do not run for office and whose decisions are never connected to votes.