The Herbert Hoover Of National Defense

The next generation of Republicans will spend their political careers promising not to make the draconian mistakes that George W. Bush and his Republican supporters in Congress are still escalating in a war that should not have been fought.

George W. Bush is the first commander in chief in history to host a National Political Convention that handed out toys to make fun of the Purple Heart, to demean the leader of the opposition, who was awarded bronze and silver stars for valor.

Even when Ann Coulter demeaned widows of 9/11, calling them harpies, the man who used 9/11 for partisan politics lacked the honor and chivalry to defend them, and his partisans in Congress, as usual, remained silent.

George W. Bush is the first commander in chief in history to try to create fear in the land, rather than bravery, at a time of war. He is the first commander in chief in history to demonstrate such long-term disrespect for the military advice of commanders, while publicly claiming to give them total support.

In the Republican Washington of George W. Bush, you can do grave damage to our security and be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and exploit your failure through high-paid consultancies and high-priced book deals.

Even today the president escalates his damage through a troop surge in Iraq that was opposed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and our commanders in Iraq. Meanwhile, he gives the back of his hand to our allies who are leaving American troops virtually alone, and ignores the unanimous advice of the Baker Hamilton group, which desperately sought a new bipartisan plan.

George W. Bush has done a incalculable damage to our military force structures, our deterrent capability, our national readiness. He has done a generation’s worth of damage to our credibility and respect throughout the world.

George W. Bush has done long-term damage to military recruitment. He has done extreme and long-term damage to our ability to meet military personnel needs. He has done deadly-dangerous damage to equipment supplies that are disastrously low, catastrophically depleted stocks at home and pre-positioned stocks abroad.

George W. Bush is the only commander in chief in this history of the Republic who tells troops to fight to their death in war, while he fights to the death to preserve tax cuts at home.

When men and women who serve with valor are killed or wounded because Washington did not provide the armor and protections they deserve, he clutches his tax cuts, brags about the accumulation of great wealth and tolerates massive fraud and waste of reconstruction money.

When men and women who serve with valor are wounded on the battlefield, he tolerates substandard conditions for heroes while using troops as political pawns against opponents.

Make no mistake: through mismanagement, negligence, incompetence, recklessness and ignorance of foreign cultures and military strategy, George W. Bush has created more than a trillion dollars of unfunded needs for military readiness, equipment rebuilding and treatment of wounded vets returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Men and women of faith believe in a concept called stewardship, where every generation leaves a legacy of a better world to future generations. George W. Bush is the first wartime president who embodies stewardship in reverse. He tells those who serve, "Ask what you can do for your country" while he  tells partisans and profiteers, "Ask what's in it for me" and tells the next generation of young people, "Tough luck, you pay the price when the next president has to ask you."

For much of this war, Democrats were no  heroes. What is worse than an extravagantly paid consultant telling a Democratic senator to send to troops to war to compensate for his inexperience in national security? What is worse than a Democratic nominee for president surrounding himself with an army of would-be secretaries of state while he supported this war when it began and failed to offer a credible alternative when he ran for commander in chief?

That is bad, but there is something worse: those who today continue this catastrophe. Those who chortle and smirk at what they believe are tactical victories in support of escalating this blunder, and prove they have learned nothing from the mistakes of this war, and their own catastrophe at the polls last November.

I am not one who criticizes the Speaker; I support her, and hope Democrats will unite on a proposal that would win a majority and break new ground in moving to de-escalate and ultimately, honorably and intelligently, end our catastrophic obsession with this disastrous war.

I have worked for the leadership and know well the difficulties faced by the Speaker. Madame Speaker, welcome to the NFL, and to Democrats and honorable Republicans, it is time to draw the line, and change the course.

As we remember the first four years of this sickening and sordid war that should never have been fought, both parties should end the crisis of our national-security establishment, in both parties, that has taken us to this place today.

The hard and bitter truth is, no matter what the Speaker and Senate majority leader do, this war will not be reversed until enough Republicans in Congress take positions of principle, and act publicly, on what they believe privately.

George W. Bush will go down in history as the Herbert Hoover of national defense, and those who march in lockstep with him are doing our country, and their party, a grave disservice that will be mourned for generations to come.