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The difference between disloyalty and dissent

Friday, September 27, 2006. High Tea with Sandy and Vern Buchanan. At the Ritz. With extra-special guest, Laura Bush.

“Responsible candidates understand that the men and women of our military are risking their lives for us overseas, and that we must conduct our debate here at home in a way that does not jeopardize our troops in harm’s way,” the First Lady said. She also stated that “People around the world are listening to these discussions.”

Allow me to translate:

“Unless you want to look like a disloyal, anti-American, you better not speak out against the war – and if you do, American soldiers will die and the responsibility will be yours.”

In other words, anyone who expresses ideas that are not in alignment with the Bush administration’s agenda in Iraq, should keep their mouth shut.

And, then just in case you’re as dumb as a bush, I mean, as a post, she adds justification for such censorship: you’ll be jeopardizing the lives of American troops.

Excuse me, First La-di-da, our troops are in harm’s way because your husband has put them there.

Now, usually, I don’t pay a lot of attention to the First Lady and here’s why: As little as I think of her husband, I think even less of her for paying such tight-lipped service to her husband’s havoc-wreaking prehensile dysfunction.

But in her address to the ladies at High Tea, Mrs. Bush stepped so egregiously into a fieldful of double-speak horse manure that I think she needs a reminder in what constitutes “responsible” speech and behavior toward one’s country.

Laura Bush would have us believe that dissent equals disloyalty, and that’s just not true. She’d have us believe that “responsible” individuals should avoid plain speech – even if it’s the truth — and speak only in carefully crafted code language – like her own.

A little lesson in the difference between disloyalty and dissent from a rather famous Republican:

“Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels – men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, we may never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Disloyalty is the quality of not being true to one’s duty or obligation, and by that definition, an argument may be made that it is President and Mrs. Bush who are acting in ways that are disloyal.

Last time I counted, no American soldier has lost his or her life on Iraqi soil because an American citizen expressed opposition to the war.

But plenty have been seriously injured or killed because our President hasn’t lived up to the duty of his office by insisting that those whom he would put in harm’s way be at least provided with the basics of adequate armor.

To wit:

Disloyalty is a President who sends American soldiers into combat with unarmored and soft-topped Humvees — the vulnerability of which has made them a target of choice for roadside and suicide attacks. Since 2003, hundreds of soldiers have died inside these easy-target deathtraps.

Disloyalty is a President who sends American soldiers into combat without even the basic Kevlar Interceptor vests (capable of stopping AK-47 rounds) or the ceramic insert plates needed for torso protection. Under G.W.’s watch, soldiers have been reduced to wearing inadequate armor, sharing protective vests or simply going without. A late 2005 study by the Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner concluded that at least 74 American soldiers have died unnecessarily due to a lack of basic protective gear.

Disloyalty is a First Lady who delivers a thinly veiled warning against those who would exercise their most American of rights – the right to speak out freely and without fear of reprisal against an administration and a war they do not support.

And dissent?

Dissent is this column.

Posted on October 31st, 2006Comments RSS Feed

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