Bring It On!

Dear Mr. President

May 2nd, 2007 | by Omnipotent Poobah |

Note: After President Bush’s veto of the war funding bill, I sent the following email to the White House. In a departure from my usual practice, I have used my real name so that he is able to see exactly who I am and what I believe.

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing this letter in the unlikely event you will actually see these words. Even if you do, I know it is unlikely that you will heed my words where so many other more knowledgeable, powerful, and eloquent people have failed. Still, I am a loyal and patriotic American and believe it is my duty to make my voice heard. To do less would be to surrender my responsibilities as an American. To do less would make me exactly what you accuse your detractors of - traitors.

Without the slightest trace of personal malice, I can say that your veto of the war funding bill is not only disastrous, but shameful. In your veto speech you again repeated venomous accusations that those who oppose you offer comfort to the enemy and are unwilling to “support the troops”.

Respectfully Mr. President, if you believe this, then you must also logically believe that you are equally unwilling to support them. You are the one who thrust them into a deadly, untenable war. You are the one who has repeatedly lengthened their tours of duty. You are the one who tried to hide their flag-draped coffins and welcomed the maimed back to a squalid Walter Reed. You sir, sent them into harm’s way poorly equipped and directly conducted disastrous policies that have killed thousands of soldiers and American civilians along with tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians. These actions occurred long before a timetable was a gleam in anyone’s eye and you have the temerity to point to these acts and speak of progress.

Sir, these actions are the very antithesis of support.

Mr. President, your veto was not about timelines or benchmarks, pork barrel projects or political maneuvering, and you know it. This veto was about avoiding something every one of those troops has to face daily - responsibility. They swore an oath not unlike the one you swore. They hold that oath inviolable. They do not run. They do not refuse your orders. They go to war and fight and die. And if they are lucky enough to survive, they return only to leave their families and go back again and again, because their oath said they must follow the orders of their Commander-in-Chief. These men and women have a different definition of their oath. Their oath is sacrosanct and despite the fact I totally disagree with any utterance you have ever made about this war, I solidly support every last one of them in carrying out that oath. To accuse me otherwise is a personal insult to me and every other patriotic American who thinks likewise.

How dare you Mr. President? How dare you?

I’ve heard you live in a bubble, but I’m sure you have heard the voices of the people - they are impossible ti miss. You have seen the increasing number of people taking to the streets in an ugly reminder of the last time we blundered into a war that served no purpose. Many have made light of your veto coming on the anniversary of your embarrassingly infamous “Mission Accomplished” speech. I think we could all agree there is much irony in that date, but there is another date in the news today - May 4, 1970. That is the day four Kent State students were killed in a Vietnam war demonstration gone awry. This date doesn’t represent irony Mr. President. It reminds us of a dangerous time when America was riven by wholly avoidable strife because of a war our leaders were too cowardly and irresponsible to end.

Mr. President, with all due respect, your continued efforts to keep this war alive in the face of overwhelming and growing opposition of the people is just as cowardly, and ultimately, just as disastrous as the actions of the Vietnam era administrations. So in the vain hope that you still have a shred of decency, I implore you to actually negotiate with Congressional leaders when they visit you. The time is long past for feigning flexibility while pouring concrete around your position. The time is long past calling your fellow citizens traitors. The time is long past for this shameful episode to end.

It is my sincere hope that you finally decide to stand up to the responsibilities of your oath and duties as Commander-in-Chief. You may say that those who believe it is time to withdraw are cutters and runners. But if you do, I choose to say you are a fool.

Jack Koeneman

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  1. 30 Responses to “Dear Mr. President”

  2. By Lazy Iguana on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    The President would like you to know he thought it was funny that you said “doody”. He is still laughing at that classic joke.

    By the way, after the first sentence Bush had already run off to run around after Barney The Dog. Can adults have ADD??

  3. By rube cretin on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    with a little editing, kieth olberman could take this letter and do great things with it.

  4. By Jet Netwal on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    Great letter! Stubborness is the new moral value.

  5. By liberal vet on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    A fine letter. That being said I have some thoughts on alternative ways to get all the rich and powerful thinking. We need a draft so that we have an equal playing field. When the sons and daughters of the rich and powerful come home in a body bag with missing limbs and shattered craniums the war will end.

    You will stop seeing the stock market rise and the resultant jubilant faces of the rich getting richer. There is a disconnect in our society. While the middle class struggles to pay for essential like gasoline and heating oil the fat cats increase their profit margins and spit in the faces of the common man. When will we elect a man of the people?

    Perhaps never, but I remain optimistic that the vast majority of Americans will wake up and smell the coffee. Just my thoughts, LV

  6. By ken grandlund on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    great job OP- too bad Bush will never see it. And if he somehow did, too bad he wouldn’t comprehend its meaning.

  7. By BYSHOP on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    “We need a draft so that we have an equal playing field. When the sons and daughters of the rich and powerful come home in a body bag with missing limbs and shattered craniums the war will end.”

    Great idea on paper Vet. However, history has shown time and time again that the rich and influencial don’t fight the wars they start. Conscription only applies to those without the ability to skirt it. Deferments, joining the Air National Guard, paying someone to take your place, etc.

    “Perhaps never, but I remain optimistic that the vast majority of Americans will wake up and smell the coffee.”

    This is the saddest part of all. The American people have woken up, at least as many as are going to. The polls show that daily and nothing has changed in the broader picture at least not yet.

    Democracy is intentionally slow, the majority party are pushing the agenda as hard as they can. It takes time and patience, it took the GOP 30 years to get a lock down on the American government, but look what they got done once they did.

    My biggest fear is that the patience of the American people will wain and the urge to kickstart the process will lead to the streets.

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
    -Thomas Jefferson

    “Of course the people dont want war…that is understood. But voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
    -Thomas Jefferson

  8. By liberal vet on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    I agree Byshop. Fortunately from my perspective I am not a pessimistic as you. To espouse revolution would be contrary to my core beliefs. I am no pacifist I am a fervent believer in separation of church and state. I despise the lies and deceit evidenced by the current buffoons in Washington. I still believe conscription would be beneficial to the down trodden. I never said it would stop the disenfranchised from joining the military. I still believe if affluent sons and daughters enter the fray we may see lasting change with regard to war. LV

  9. By Omnipotent Poobah on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    I believe there is something to a draft as long as there is no provision for deferments and everyone who is capable of doing a civilian job is included. Exclude only the most severely disabled and expose all others (male, female, regardless of income or connections).

    I know such a bill would never make it, but it’s nice to dream.

  10. By BYSHOP on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    “I never said it would stop the disenfranchised from joining the military.”

    I am not understanding this part in the context of the conversation, please elaborate.

    “I still believe if affluent sons and daughters enter the fray we may see lasting change with regard to war”

    That is a big if my friend. No one wants to loose a loved one and if they have the ability to stop it they will. I am glad you are more of an optimist. A little balancing yin to my yang. I have been told I a have skeptipessicyncism all my own.

    I heard a lyric in a song one time that profoundly changed my outlook on civilization. Upon reflection I realized that it had been true and likely always would be. The swell of pride I once felt at the notion that “All men are created equal” could not reconcile with the fact that all people are not treated equally. I got lost in the juxtaposition of ideology and reality, skeptipessicyncism is what emerged.

    I completely agree that shifting the burden to those who actually endorse our situtation would be an effective tool in bringing this situation to a swift ans lasting closure. I just don’t think the draft is the way and I have no better solution to offer.

  11. By liberal vet on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    Good talking to you perhaps you read too much Vonegaut. As far as my statement about the disenfranchised it was of my own making and just another random thought on my part, nothing to do with anything you said. Just more evidence that the poor are used as cannon fodder. Take care,LV

  12. By Ron on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    “When the sons and daughters of the rich and powerful come home in a body bag with missing limbs and shattered craniums the war will end.”

    This just isn’t going to happen. Deferments galore. Besides, a good progressive shouldn’t advocate more death and more war-regardless of how logical it sounds, it is still an awful idea.

    “When will we elect a man of the people?”

    1.When we shift to public financing of candidates.
    2.When we stop worshipping at the altar of individualism and recognize the similarities in us rather than aggrandizing our differences. Until we who are getting hosed continue to buy into “me me me” there is no people to speak of.

  13. By windspike on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    OP, I’d make a few edits, shorten it up a bit and submit it to the WaPo or NYTimes for an Op-Ed article. This letter is fantastic.

    blog on friends. log on all.

  14. By windspike on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    oops, I meant “blog on all.” sorry for the typo

  15. By liberal vet on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    I don’t advocate more war you are misinterpreting. If we draft the rich and powerful a swifter end will come of this awful war. It is curious to me what would you have a prolonged war with only the impoverished and poor dying to protect our so called freedom, check out Charlie Rangel. End deferments is the answer, an equal playing field , naturally I despise war and wish no one lost limbs or sugffered TBI’s, but they do. LV

  16. By liberal vet on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    By the way I am a victim of conscription and did not reach my conclusions casually. LV

  17. By Ron on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    Hm. You really can’t end deferments; you’ll be hurting more poor folks than rich simply because there are less rich folks. Today, there are more of us in college than ever thanks to community colleges, grants and loans. It would still be inequitable along class lines, if I’m not mistaken, and I could be.

    I am sorry that I inferred that you were suggesting you would have more people sign up for war. I should know better.

    The easy answer to the problem, and I know you will agree, is to stop getting into wars that we have no business being in.

  18. By Ron on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    I’m headed for stop-loss myself so I understand. My war isn’t like yours by a long shot and I’m just glad you made it back.

  19. By liberal vet on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    No problem Ron overall I like your comments. On this particular point we must agree to disagree. While I was in basic in 1972 at ft Dix I passed out absentee ballots and almost got thrown n the brig. LV

  20. By Ron on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    That’s really scary, LV. Hardly the America we think we live in, is it?

  21. By liberal vet on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    Most founding fathers would be disgusted and likely revolt. LV

  22. By BYSHOP on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    Based on thier actions when living, a revolution would be well underway if they were here today.

    After thinking about it, the only way to grab the attention of the rich is to threaten thier riches. A HIGHLY progressive(Like taxation of 5% for first 30K 10% for 30-100k 25% for 100-250k 50% for 250-500k 75% for 500-1 mil etc.) “War Tax” may motivate them.

  23. By liberal vet on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    Yes indeed, it is a pleasure communicating with both of you. Perhaps before I die I will know my children and their children will be safe so I can take a dirt nap in peace. LV

  24. By steve on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    Does anyone love this country any more?

  25. By Omnipotent Poobah on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    I love it. I just don’t love the way we’ve been running it.

  26. By steve on May 2, 2007 | Reply


    I think we’re all sad that we’ve lost 3000 plus people and will probably lose another 3000 more before this over. I think we are better off funding it until January 20th, 2009 than defunding it and heading home. I think we’ll lose more guys if we start packing it in than if stuck around for a new President.

    This guy is not getting impeached. He’s a year and a half left. He can’t go to Iran now. He can’t escalate this thing to get us into more risk. What can he do? He can fight with what he has and thats it.

    If the Dems were smart and so against this war, they’d investigate Halliburton and Blackwater. See how our money is being spent here. If there is corruption there, that we all know there is, then go find that!! I bet those guys are our problem in Iraq. Not Iraq!! It wouldn’t take much to get a Senate hearing with those guys right? Just call it in and get it done. Chasing those guys around might flush out the problem. Defunding it hurts our brave soldiers. It in no way makes the situation better.

  27. By Steve O on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    I applaude you OP!!! That was beutiful!!!!

    We stand at a crossroads my friends, the war on drugs and the war on terror are related, there is no identifable enemy. It’s every one, it’s no one, it’s what every neo-con dreams of.

    This has been going on for over twenty years and it needs to end now.

    Both wars were inventions of a totalitarian state and the people that want to control it. We are the people, we are the ones they want to control. So stand up and be counted.

    Do you want to be controled?

    It’s funny, the terrorist enemy we are fighting despises government yet here we are trying to force government on them.

    Do any of you even know what the Islamic extremist movement is all about?

    It’s about imposing religious law based on the Quran, the opposite is imposing religous law based on the Bible. The funny thing is that both religions have the same laws about not killing innocents or committting suicide.

    Not sure where I’m going with this but I know one thing about our conservative friends is that the last time you tried taking over this country it ushered in over 40 years of liberalism. Smile at the camera!!!

    And fuck religion, it kills!!!!

  28. By Ron on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    “I think we are better off funding it until January 20th, 2009 than defunding it and heading home.”

    The congressional bill had a gradual withdrawal date of Oct 2008. What would be the difference?

    “This guy is not getting impeached.”

    He may yet be impeached, but not removed!

    “Defunding it hurts our brave soldiers.”

    No one will go unpaid or unfed. The funding will be cut for combat ops.

  29. By Ron on May 2, 2007 | Reply

    “Do any of you even know what the Islamic extremist movement is all about?”

    Ain’t that the crux of the biscuit? It is imprtant not to forget that this may be an extremist movement, but it is also a populist movement, a resistance to the disempowerment of poor Arabs by their greedy, incompetent dictators whom we help keep in power.

  30. By Steve O on May 3, 2007 | Reply

    Ron, exactly. This goes all the way back to the 1950’s.

    The crux of the problem is that unlike the Bible the Quran has a set of laws on which to govern a nation and this is what the extremists are fighting for.

    Just like our Evangelicals here using the Bible in the US the mullahs over there have taken a literal interpertation of these laws in the Quran and founded a movement and a justification to kill (the Evangelicals haven’t made it that far yet).

    They despise democracy and any other form of government. Their only goal is to set up an Islamic state. They hate us because we prop up the puppet regimes they are trying to bring down.

    The only way to win this war of ideas is to change our foreign policy. The Islamic movement feeds off of the uneducated masses over there and brainwashes the educated who are oppressed. YOu can’t win against that by dropping bombs. Shit, in its infancy, the movement was funded mostly by educated Muslims in this country.

    Anyway, our dumb president from Texas has played cowboy and indians long enough. It’s time for a change. It’s time for him to step down. It’s time for us to take the lead in this world again and lead by example. Stop making bombs and start building schools and feeding the hungry. In time that is what will win this war.

  31. By Ron on May 3, 2007 | Reply

    I think religion is the backstop, the motivator, and the invigorator of this movement, but I am not totally sure if this is about religion per se. What I’ve read of Bin Laden tells me this is a class war. Bin Laden et al don’t have a specific disdain for democracy-they don’t have an opinion on it at all, unless I have missed something(I probably have, Bin Laden’s writings are many in number), they just want their way left alone.

    I think the Islamic state is the only way they know to be themselves, to retain their identity. As I said in a previous post, it’s backward and twisted but all the more reason to just leave it the fuck alone because people who really think that harsh Islamic law is the right way to live are not readily going to understand democracy and freedom of individual conscience. That is a revolution they will have to have by themselves.

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