Conversation Between a Veteran and George W. Bush
(as imagined by Dr. Robert M. Bowman, Lt.
Col. USAF, ret )
This was used by Dr. Bowman as an introduction to his
featured address to the Veterans For Peace National Conference on August
17, 2002 in Duluth, Minnesota.
OK, Mr. Bush, let me see if I’ve got this straight. You
want a Department of Homeland Security, whose mission is to protect this
country and its people from attack? But I thought that’s what the
Department of Defense was for?
Oh, silly me. That’s never really been the job of the
DoD, has it? We have troops stationed in 150 countries around the world,
and not one of them has anything to do with protecting America or
Americans. Like in South Korea – their job is to keep North and South
Korea from getting together again. And in Saudi Arabia, it’s to keep the
Saudi people from toppling our puppet regime which protects the
interests of our oil companies. In Germany and Japan ... tell me again
why we’re still occupying them almost 60 years after the war ended? In
Kosovo and Bosnia and Afghanistan it’s clear. Their job is to secure oil
pipelines from the Caspian to the Mediterranean and Indian Oceans.
You know, Mr. Bush, it does seem like if the oil
companies hired their own mercenaries with their own ill-gotten money,
then the DoD could pack its bags, come home, and go out of business! And
so could the CIA.
But then no one would hate us, and there would be no
terrorists, and the Department of Homeland Security wouldn’t have
anything to do either! Let me try again. We have the DoD to create
terrorists, the CIA to train them, and the Dept of Homeland Security to
protect us from them. Is that right??
Mr. Bush, why are you laughing? Oh, I see, I’ve fallen
for it, haven’t I? I’ve only got it part right. The job of the DoD and
CIA is to make people hate us so they will scare the bejeebers out of
the American people. (The job of the FBI is to make sure nobody
interferes with their planned attacks.)
The Dept of Homeland Security had me confused for a
while, until I realized that some of us were not taken in by your phony
“War on Terrorism,” and we would have to be controlled. (Ashcroft’s
concentration camps are a nice touch.)
So the DoD and CIA deny democracy, freedom, and human
rights to third world people, creating terrorists. And the Dept of
Homeland Security exploits the terrorist threat to deny democracy,
freedom, and human rights to us Americans!
Let me put it one more way. We know that both you and
your puppet foreign dictators work for the oil companies and other
global robber barons, not for the people. (And sometimes the people
don’t like that.)
So the DoD and CIA exist to install and protect foreign
dictators from THEIR people, and the Dept of Homeland Security is to
protect YOU from US! ... That’s it, isn’t it?
Why, Mr. Bush, you’re not smiling any more. The smirk is
gone. You look ... afraid! And well you should be. Because we know! We
know what you and your Daddy and all his global robber baron friends are
up to – and we don’t like it! As a matter of fact, we’re mad as hell,
and we’re not going to take it any more.
You have spent billions to bail out the top executives
and stockholders of airlines that have gone bankrupt anyway. You have
given hundreds of billions in tax breaks to your wealthy friends and to
the multinational corporations. You have inflated a defense budget which
was already obscene. You have squandered the surplus built up over the
last decade. You have impoverished millions of your own citizens. You
have isolated us from the rest of the world by undermining one treaty
after another. You have inflamed the Muslim world against us by leaving
troops in Saudi Arabia. You have killed more innocent civilians in
Afghanistan than the hijackers killed in the World Trade Center. You
have staged a coup in Venezuela for the oil companies, and are getting
us into war in Colombia. You have supported genocide against the
Palestinian people. You have continued the cruel embargo against Cuba
and the tragic sanctions against Iraq. You have blood on your hands.
We’re going to tell on you, Georgie. You’ve been a
naughty boy. Go to your room! (Not the oval one. That’s for elected
We’re going to tell the veterans. We’re going to tell
the churches. And you’re not going to like this Georgie ... we’re going
to tell the women! We’re going to tell your Mother.
What are you going to do, lock us up? Well you tell Mr.
Ashcroft he better get a big concentration camp ready, because there are
thousands of us, and we stand together. Are you with me?
We’re combat veterans, and we won’t go quietly. But here
we are, 200 of us in one place. Come get us. But who will you use to
arrest us? Our brothers and sisters in uniform? I think not. We are
their comrades in arms. Are they going to strip us naked and take us to
Guantanamo Bay? For telling the truth? Nope.
Face it, Shrub, you’re finished. Too many of us know
what you’re up to, and with all your money and power, you’re not going
to be able to shut us up. We are the people. This is OUR country. We
fought for it. Our friends died for it. And it is OURS. We are
sovereign. We are not going to let you and your co-conspirators turn us
into whores for the multinational corporations. We are not going to let
you endanger our fellow citizens by making them the target of
terrorists. We are not going to let you trash the Constitution we are
sworn to protect. And we are not going to let our beloved country
continue to be the #1 rogue nation in the world.
Ask my wife about war. My father-in-law fought in World
War II. He commanded the engineering battalion that built the first
bridge across the Rhine. He was gone for almost three years. Her two
brothers fought in Korea. One of them was at the Chosin reservoir when
the Chinese flooded across the border into the war. And of course she
had to sit and take care of our seven children while I flew 101 combat
missions in Vietnam. She wasn’t aware of the specific times that I came
very close to not coming back. But she lived with the possibility every
So if you ask her, she will say, “Enough is enough.
You’re not getting my sons and grandsons too.” And I agree. The best
thing our government can do for its combat veterans is to quit making
more of them.
Robert Bowman (email@example.com)
culminated a 22-year Air Force career in 1978 as Director of Advanced
Space Programs Development for the Air Force Space Division. In that
capacity, he controlled about half a billion dollars worth of space
programs, including the "Star Wars" programs. A presidential candidate
in 1999, Bowman is one of the country's foremost authorities on national
security. He is also a recipient of the Eisenhower Medal, the George F.
Kennan Peace Prize, the President's Medal of Veterans for Peace, the
Republic Aviation Airpower Award, The Society of American Military
Engineers' Gold Medal (twice), the Air Medal with five oak leaf
clusters, and numerous other awards. He maintains a website at