Belief, In the Bushes
I can't begin to tell you how unimpressed I am by the release of payroll records covering some 80-odd days of George W. Bush's service during his two-year stint with the National Guard during the Viet Nam era. In these Iraqi reconstruction days, when the Guard is called on for frontline duty abroad, folks might not realize that back then being in the National Guard, like being gay, or a draft resistor was a way to stay out of being sent to foreign wars. I wouldn't believe any paper, audio or video tape, film or computer records put forth to substantiate anything questionable regarding any Bushies. Let me explain.
Years ago when I was writing a series of pieces on Eleanor Roosevelt I read a number of books that cited FBI activities perpetrated by J. Edgar Hoover to discredit ER. His hatred of ER is legendary. The books also detailed various efforts made by minions of the FBI Director to 'sanitize' records that might reflect badly on him. Hoover managed to get his people in to change documents and alter records in federal agencies and private libraries. Curt Gentry, in his book J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets (Norton, 1991), noted that in 1951 FBI agents staged a covert action excising pages in the diaries of former Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau then held in the National Archives. Morgentheau and his wife Elinor were close personal friends of the Roosevelts; the diaries are now in the FDR Library. According to Genrty's FBI agent source 'pages were re-typed and re-numbered so that there would be no indication that anything was missing. The whole operation took several weeks.'
I was in Law School when Nixon-supported CIA grads broke into a suite at the now infamous Watergate hotel precipitating a chain of events that lead to his 'abdication.' In the 50 or so years since Hoover's efforts and the 30 years since Watergate, technology has advanced by giant steps. Who can say what tools are now in the 'dirty tricks' bags of various committees to elect or re-elect any president. It is noteworthy, I suggest, that Bush the First was once head of the CIA. I suggest that anyone seeking folks to perpetrate covert actions on behalf of Bush the Second, might have less trouble finding likely candidates among former Agency people. The Bushies have had years since the charges were first leveled against Bush the Second regarding his Guard service, or lack of it. I find it interesting that no documents surfaced in rebuttal earlier. No flight rosters with Bush II on them, no drinking buddies who remembered serving with him during the time in question, no photographs or even postmarked letters home have surfaced. But now we have the payroll records. And Forrest Gump met President Kennedy. Right.
PBS and NPR regular Tavis Smiley, who speaks to the choir when he does his stint on the Tom Joyner radio show, reflects a growing number of commentators who note more questions than believable answers in the Bush II saga. It is almost a given among them that Bush II was going to get Saddam one way or another for trying to kill his daddy. Other reasons given for the Bushies pre-emptive war now seem to be full of holes. Ours is a country re-examining the death penalty because we realize even the 'good guys' can stack the deck against someone who maybe didn't do this crime, but got away with something else and is just as guilty so let's get him. Isn't this what happened in Iraq? No evidence surfaced that connected Saddam with 9-11. He was guilty of atrocities that 'he got away with' under our watch in the international sense. But when Saddam used nerve gas against the Kurds, wiping out entire villages, the U.S. did not march into Iraq because he was our ally; enemy of our enemies, recipient of our monetary largess. We have motives—guilt, vengeance, oil. It was a stated goal of Wolfowitz, Cheney, et al at the end of the reign of Bush I that Saddam had to go. Under Bush II it became a self-fulfilling prophecy conveniently abetted by 9-11.
So now we have this war against terrorism. And where is Osama bin Laden, who we HAVE been able to link to 9-11? I suggest that the Bushies know. A reporter recently returned from Afghanistan told Charlie Rose on his PBS-TV show the other night that a high-ranking military official in Afghanistan said bin Laden would 'likely be caught by the end of the year.' That doesn't surprise me. I fully expect it will be before election night; especially if the Democrats are perceived as a serious threat by then. Didn't it seem too convenient that Saddam was found in his little hole with no other supporters around; that the troops only found him after a second sweep of the premises? Doesn't that suggest they knew he was there, but weren't certain of just what rock he was under? 'Keep looking boys, the informant we paid off, says he's here.' Don't you think that now, somewhere in the mountain borders of Afghanistan, someone has succumbed to the rewards offered and bin Laden is being closely watched? We know that some politicians like to time their events for maximum propaganda. Remember the deal made so that the hostages wouldn't be released during the last days of Democrat Jimmy Carter's term, but would be the 'glory' moment for the first days of the Republican Reagan administration?
I asked our few Republican relatives and friends if they believed Bush, and would they vote for him again. Most concurred that they didn't believe him. That more than likely he got moved to the head of the line because of his father when it came to getting into the Guard, Yale, Harvard, etc., but that's just politics as usual. None believed that the war in Iraq was a good idea; yet echoed the Bushies line that we will stay until the job is done whatever the cost. Guess that must be the prevailing opinion of all those Democrats in Congress who voted for the war: even those running for the nomination.
Election after election we are asked to vote for the person we consider the lesser of two evils. Maybe money will determine the winner. Bestselling books, movies that gross the most on their release week, TV programs that sell the most commercials—these are what pass for quality in our society. As long as we American people are passive, the dollar, not the vote, will decide our elected officials. If we don't work for change, we will get what we deserve, believe me.
Copyright 2004 by Marie J. Kuda.
It is with great sadness that I read about Cardinal George's message at the AGLO mass [Windy City Times, Feb. 11, 2004]. AGLO's leadership and members stated, 'as a cardinal of the church, he upholds the strict teaching —that's his job … it was a positive experience … he puts himself on the line with others. Bishops are teachers, he has to follow the teachings of the church. I heard some compassion in that.'
However, the cardinal did no such thing. The cardinal defied current church teaching!
The cardinal stated: 'the church in Illinois has reiterated that sexual orientation should not become a civil right. In itself, sexual orientation is not directly comparable to race and religion. In its effects, that legal categorization would change the church's relationship to civil law and to society itself.'
If a bishop is to only reiterate church teaching, then Cardinal George at the very least misspoke and at the worst went out on his own to be even more punitive than current church teaching. According to the above, Cardinal George is saying that even celibate homosexuals deserve no civil protection under the law.
Yet the Bishops of the United States in their letter, Always Our Children, issued in 1997 state that: 'Respect for the God-given dignity of all persons means the recognition of human rights and responsibilities. The teaching of the Church makes it clear that the fundamental human rights of homosexual persons must be defended and that all of us must strive to eliminate any form of injustice, oppression, or violence against them (cf. The Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, 1986, n.10). Nothing in the Bible or in Catholic teaching can be used to justify prejudicial or discriminatory attitudes and behaviors. We reiterate here what we said in an earlier statement: We call on all Christians and citizens of good will to confront their own fears about homosexuality and to curb the humor and discrimination that offend homosexual persons. We understand that having a homosexual orientation brings with it enough anxiety, pain and issues related to self-acceptance without society bringing additional prejudicial treatment (Human Sexuality: A Catholic Perspective for Education and Lifelong Learning, 1991, p.55).'
It is quite clear that the U.S. Catholic Conference and current church teaching does not support discrimination against homosexuals. It is my understanding that AGLO prides itself on working within the church for change. Yet, here we have AGLO members defending blatant and false teachings by someone who has hired (with church money) a lobbyist to fight against their very civil rights to a job and a place to live.
Anyone, who would celebrate and defend this false teaching and the man who promulgates it, is either incredibly naïve, or self-loathing, or a betrayer of who they are as a person and a betrayer of their community.
Jim Bussen, Chicago
I am opposed to state-sanctioned gay marriage, as well as all other forms of state-sanctioned marriage. However, I hate that the religious right is using this issue to drum up anti-gay support. Therefore, I propose the following revisions to the proposed federal constitutional amendment to legally recognize marriage only between a man and a woman.
If marriage rights are going to be limited, let's fight for restrictions that really reflect the sanctimony that matrimony deserves.
***The Original Federal Marriage Amendment (H.J. Res. 56): SECTION 1. Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.
***Revised Federal Marriage Amendment: SECTION 1. Marriage ... shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman, and shall be reserved only for a man and a woman who have been legally proven and medically verified virgins. Conjugal relations shall be restricted solely to the missionary position and must always involve the reasonable intent of procreation because to do otherwise is simply an abomination. The purchase, possession or use of all forms of birth control between a man and a woman in a legally santicfied marriage are outlawed. Cohabitation or any sexual relations (including sexual intercourse, fellatio, cunnilingus, masturbation and heavy petting), prior to the sanctimonious ceremony, disqualify a man and a woman from the right to marry permanently. A termination of the union of a man and a woman (divorce) shall be illegal in all circumstances. Only first marriages shall be recognized as legitimate and all second, third, fourth, fifth and so on, marriages shall be immediately considered null and void. Adultery or any sexual relations ... of a man and a woman in a legally recognized union, of marriage with any one individual or group of individuals shall be punishable by public stoning for such a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.
Michael Tajchman, Chicago