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Monday, September 23, 2002

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 presidents.)

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 day.

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 (isss@rmbowman.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 www.rmbowman.com.