For George Bush:
I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.
Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.
The perpetual war machine requires blood in order to operate, and simply goes through young men in the primes of their lives. Sometimes war is just—sometimes war is even noble—but oftentimes war is simply a way for corrupt men to enrich themselves by shedding the blood of innocent men. War is bought and paid for in taxes. War is a racket. Those who produce munitions and those items necessary for carrying out a war profit immensely from their labor. And they profit off of the backs of hardworking taxpayers who are duped into supporting war in the name of patriotic duty.
When a war exists perpetually, as is the case in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the end of war never seems in sight, then soldiers become fatigued and cynical, and rightfully so. They begin to realize that war isn’t about winning, but about lining the pockets of military suppliers. Once the war ends, the money dries up. And so, when confronted with this realization, soldiers lash out against those who have squandered their youth and vitality in the service of pretty lies.
Perhaps it is no wonder why Ron Paul engendered so much support from the military. And perhaps conservatives might do well to ponder why the veteran Ron Paul is so opposed to war while the draft-dodger Bush was so gung-ho. Perhaps one of those two men has a realistic and personal understanding of war, and perhaps that’s why he doesn’t see war as something to enter into lightly.