Yankee doodling

July 06, 2005

PRESIDENT BUSH had the nerve to invoke Valley Forge on Monday during a speech about the war in Iraq. Americans persevered through "terrible hardships and losses" back then, he said, and presumably Iraq will be no different.

Question No. 1: In what ways are the American Revolution and the war in Iraq similar?

Answer: In no ways.

Question No. 2: In what ways are George Washington and George W. Bush similar?

Answer: See above.

If the commander in chief needs reminding, the encampment at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-1778 was the darkest hour of the struggle for independence. A starving, freezing Continental Army was up against the mightiest military on the planet and on the verge of disintegrating. Washington kept his force intact, and it emerged in the spring as an army ready to turn the corner on the war.

To cloak the current war of choice - a war in a distant land that has revealed American leaders to be dishonest and incompetent - in the mantle of Valley Forge is an insult to the memory of those who served and suffered in the Pennsylvania cold. And it shows just how bankrupt Mr. Bush's justifications for the Iraq war really are, if this is what he must stoop to.

Now, it's true that the American Army in Iraq has been shockingly ill-equipped, considering how wealthy and powerful the United States is today. That's not the parallel Mr. Bush was trying to draw, though; and even if it were, it's hardly apt. The fate of the republic-to-be was on the line at Valley Forge; Mr. Bush still can't seem to decide if Iraq was about democracy or terror or nerve gas. Maybe it was about trying to win a war just for the sake of it.

Question No. 3: Who were the insurgents during the Revolution? And who won?

Answer: It wasn't the redcoats.

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