Neither Truth nor Consequence

America stands shamed in the eyes of the world thanks to the Bush administration’s crime spree.  And, as a partial result, the Democrats scored a resounding triumph in an election where only 40.4% of eligible Americans cast ballots.  40.4%!  So much for urgency.

The Democrats, covering their aid-and-abetment in the American catastrophe called Iraq, chortled in their joy like latter-day Jabberwocks.  Then promptly focused on the minimum wage and other measures to narrow the income gap in the United States.  Income gap?  Please be serious.  The majority of the people in the world outside Bubbleland-USA have almost no income at all.  Almost 1.4 billion people live on this planet earning less than $2 a day.  That’s almost half the world’s workers!  Minimum wage indeed!  According to the US Census Bureau, almost 40% of those Americans considered to be in “poverty” own their own homes.  Hint to Democrats: Terrorists don’t “hate our freedoms,” they hate their violent impoverishment.  That’s the gap to focus on.

Oh, and we must stop killing people.  Our country, its leaders, and American democracy, have failed the world dismally.  America has fought an illegal war in Iraq for almost three years.  And at enormous cost to millions of innocents, killed, injured, and displaced.  At enormous cost to our military, both physically and emotionally.  And at enormous cost to our nation’s honor. 

And now, because they won an election, the Democrats, complicit in the devastation wrought by the Bush administration, grin and gape in victory.  Instead they should be mourning, mourning for the millions their decisions have so grievously harmed.  Their high-fives and boogying are as unseemly as their role in the slaughter of innocents that is Iraq.  As unseemly as not holding the Bush administration accountable for its lies and criminal behavior.  Or are the Democrats embarrassed to revisit the source of their gullibility and shame?

Well, take heart Democrats, and consider these truths to be self-evident to the world . . . the president of the United States is a liar!  The vice president of the United States is a liar!  The former secretary of defense is a liar!  The former secretary of state is a liar!  The former national security adviser (and current secretary of state) is a liar!  And because of them, these liars, our country stands alone and disgraced in the world.  Because of them, vast numbers of innocent people have been slaughtered and grievously injured.  None of us, and certainly not the Democrats, should be celebrating.  What they should do, now that they have some political power, is deliver consequences to those responsible for this catastrophe to the American soul.  But do they have the courage?  One can but hope.

The illegal war and the criminal behavior of the administration remain despite election results.  The Democrats must bear fully in mind that the reason for now opposing this war is not because it has gone badly, or because their constituencies are angry, or because this war is affecting economic opportunity for Americans.  The reason for revulsion is because this war has been illegal from the beginning.  The reason to oppose this war is not because our children and grandchildren may be called to serve in the armed forces, but because this war has been, and remains, immoral.

Consider this, Democrats.  The Bush administration was smoked out well before the election.  The election results have it on the run.  And now it must be brought to justice.  As Pogo Possum said long ago, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Attention must be paid, Democrats.

As graduates of United States military academies, we believe that there should be consequences for actions.  As cadets and midshipmen, our honor systems stated that we should not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do.  It was moral training meant to prevail lifelong.  Those who were accused (or reported themselves) for committing honor violations received hearings from an honor committee presided over by their peers, that is, other cadets or midshipmen.  There were many such hearings in which these young people were dismissed or had to resign from their academies for having violated the honor system.  In effect, 20 or 21 year-olds had to participate in deciding the fate of many others who were 17, 18 or 19 years old — young men who aspired to attend West Point, Annapolis, or the Air Force Academy and enjoy a career in the military.  They were sometimes even sons of graduates or even grandsons.  They were accused of lies or violations that were seemingly minor by many standards, but still violations of the honor system.  Thus, careers were dashed, hopes denied, and many cadets and midshipmen wept when they learned that they had been dismissed.

If these young cadets and midshipmen suffered the consequences of their actions, why should not our elected officials be subject to similar consequences for lying to us?  We believe that they should, and that is why we are continuing to call for the impeachment of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States of America, George W. Bush, and his criminal coterie.  Elected officials also should suffer the consequences of their actions.  So if Democratic congressmen and congresswomen feel that they were hoodwinked by the lies and deceits of the Republican administration and their ilk, they should seek public atonement (and redemption) by initiating the impeachment process.  Then the world will see that America is not just another old-boy flimflam network of plea-copping politicos playing the big con.  Many people in this world suffer from these types of governments.  Americans should not.  Nor should the honor of our nation remain stained by the hoodlums in this particular government.  America should, at long last, get about the business of setting a good example for the world.  It’s called “leadership by example,” a nonexistent commodity in the present administration.

Do Americans fully understand the consequences of their government’s criminal behavior?  Given the low election turnout, it seems not.  Do they fully understand the blood that is on their country’s hands because of these deceitful, dishonorable people, now smoked out, running, yet still held unaccountable?  Apparently the newly elected majority party does not.  Those who do must demand consequences for the criminal warmongers of the Bush administration.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Before we as a nation can redeem our honor, we must acknowledge the destruction done in our name.  Then justice can be done.  We must once again aspire for our country to be as a city upon a hill.  Indeed, the eyes of all people are upon us.

James Ryan, a 1962 West Point graduate, is cofounder of West Point Graduates Against The War ( and Service Academy Graduates Against The War (

| Print