View Full Version : Will the Republicans we elected please stand up

06-21-05, 09:36 AM
Will the Republicans we elected please stand up
June 21st, 2005

I voted for our current president twice for one fundamental reason: he exhibited the unique, personal leadership characteristics, I believed our country needed the first time he ran and continues to need today. He looked at a situation, sized it up, made a decision, told you what he was going to do and then…he did it.

His propensity to deliver on promises made some inside the beltway very uncomfortable, I am sure.

As I look at where we are as a country today, I see some alarming parallels between the behavior of some elected officials during the Vietnam War and some elected officials now. Perhaps you do as well. I know that some of you served with distinction during the Vietnam War and have the awards for valor to prove it. I also know that the trauma and personal hardships you suffered did not occur only in the jungles and skies over that beleaguered country. You suffered them upon your return home to a nation horribly divided over our involvement there. Many of our citizens saw no difference between honorable, selfless service and alleged war crimes that many times were hyped and exaggerated by those among us who had agendas of their own.

These things happened a long time ago, but memories still remain. Many of us simply tucked these thoughts away and got on with our lives upon our return home. The feelings of undeserved betrayal were displaced by the realities of supporting families, earning a living and wriggling out from the enticing seduction of viewing ourselves forever as eternal victims. I can’t speak for other veterans, but over the years, I promised myself, that to the degree possible, I would do everything I could to save future members of our military from suffering the same fate at the hands of both elected officials, those who sent them to war, and their fellow countrymen, those who should be thankful they went. That time has come.

I was in awe of the campaign you Republicans waged to re-elect our president as well as gain control of Congress. We turned out and supported you. Surely things would happen now, I thought. But since the election, I feel your sense of urgency is gone. Folks across the aisle seem willing to say and do anything and there is little more than some “official” outrage from you to rebut their comments and assertions.

Americans are a funny lot. If you pummel us with outrageous comments long enough and there is no well directed amount of countermanding logic and reason to repudiate it, over time we start to believe the outrageous stuff. Surely you know this.

I know that the President’s political agenda is full. This man does nothing in small bites. He wades in and tackles the big ones: issues few politicians would dare touch. I know that mid term elections are coming up, and soon the president will reluctantly assume the mantle of the traditional, second-term lame duck leader. This natural evolution of power and position has some of you distancing yourselves from him and setting up your own election platforms. That’s fine…that’s politics. But something else is happening that I must remind each of you that you cannot ignore and shrug off. It has to do with protecting the flanks of those men and women you sent into harm’s way. The assault had begun on them and it's a war of words.

Last week, a senator from Illinois made the linkage between our interrogations in Guantanamo and the overt atrocities committed by the Russians, Nazis and Pol Pot. Later, when it all began to hit the fan, he offered some pathetic clarification of what he meant to say versus what we all heard him say. I know that his words may fall short of what could be termed treason, but they certainly were at the heart of the definition of the word, betrayal. Our enemies now have on tape proof positive that any standards to which we might have held ourselves have been shattered. And guess what...one of our own elected officials made the connection. His words have been cut, pasted, edited and spread around the world signifying that we are beginning to weaken and atone for our “sins”…just as they predicted. Worse yet, they indict our servicemen and women. Sound familiar?

My question for each of you is this. How does this man get to keep his job? Where is the Republican Party outrage? Are we supposed to watch the Sunday morning talk shows and listen to the few among you looking for some face time and be satisfied that they/you speak for the whole party? I especially direct this question to those of you who saw this happen once before. Those of who served your country in Vietnam.

I repeat…Will the Republicans we elected please stand up.

Semper Fidelis.

Dave St. John is a former Marine captain who served in the Corps from 1964-1970. He is a Vietnam Veteran.