‘A Tale of Two Georges’
November 26, 2007
To borrow shamelessly from the immortal Charles Dickens: “It was the best of times, it ‘is’ the worst of times.” But I write instead of “A Tale of Two Georges” (not Cities). (Actually, three Georges if you count the aptly named King George the Third.) In the best of times, our country’s icon, George Washington, fought against all odds, at risk of certain death should he loose, to help found mankind’s greatest democracy. In today’s worst of times, our current President George W. Bush has, in almost every act, worked against our democratic principals.
Every school child knows the tale of Washington and the cherry tree. “I cannot tell a lie, I chopped down that tree.” Today’s George not only tells us lies, he has sometimes told us that he thought that was the best course. We have heard there were no illegal wiretaps, or there are no secret prisons overseas, or this country does not torture, or Rumsfeld is definitely the secretary of defense for the rest of his term. Or the latest: His former press secretary Scott McClellan is now saying the top White House officials, including the president, lied to him about the outing of the covert CIA agent Valerie Plame.
While the English King George III’s troops would often take brutal actions against the Revolutionary troops and even the civilians, General Washington took the opposite tact. He demanded that the British troops be treated with complete respect. There would be no torture or mistreatment. Consequently, in critical situations, the foreign troops knew they could safely surrender. In fact, a number of these troops, including the Hessian mercenaries, stayed on after the war. Today’s “King George” started his term by “taking the gloves off.” The Geneva Conventions, the Army Field Manual and other international standards of decency went into the trash can. And add to that the U.S. Constitution.
George Washington led in a desperate war. George Bush, when he had the chance, had his father arrange his assignment to a stateside National Guard unit. Even then, he failed to show for nearly a year. George Washington depended on the French, under General Lafayette, to seal a victory against King George. Today’s George attacked the French (and Freedom Fries) for opposing his invasion of Iraq.
History has spoken on the greatness of George Washington. What will history say about George W. (not for Washington) Bush?
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