Our Educator-in-Chief Leaves Us All Behind


In tonight’s interview on 60 Minutes – one which the Administration might rethink the wisdom of allowing – Bush, along with the stream of consciousness Clara details below, essentially told the American public, Congress, the military, the international community, all those who have questioned his latest strategy, to sit down and shut up.

“Scott, sometimes you’re the commander-in-chief, sometimes you’re the educator-in-chief, and a lot of times you’re both when it comes to war.”

Well, if he’s anyone’s educator, we’re in for a hard lesson.

A telling moment in the interview (this one’s not in the transcript, perhaps because it was not in the formal sitdown session) came when Pelley asked Bush whether multiple deployments, two, three, four of them for some, were fair to the troops and their families. Bush answered saying, “this military is motivated,” (meaning, and I’m guessing here, that soldiers are more than happy to leave their families and return again and again to Iraq?).

But the toll it’s taking on soldiers, pushed Pelley, who then referenced Bush’s brief service in the National Guard:

Pelley: In Vietnam as you know, you served 365 and you were done.

Bush: This is a different situation. This is a volunteer army. In Vietnam, it was, ‘We’re going to draft you and you’re going to go for a year.’

Hmm, so if we had a draft (which would be political suicide for the Administration and any Republicans hoping to trail it), then we could relieve our “volunteer” soldiers who are serving mandatory tours over and over again. I wonder why, Mr. President, it came to that, that we had a draft during a long, protracted war that called for more and more ground troops?

A draft, says Rep. Charles Rangel, who has repeatedly introduced a bill for one in Congress, just might shake our nation and its leaders into seeing the true cost of “acheiving success” in Iraq. But now it seems that those in need of convincing are few. On this the Administration stands relatively alone. Alone and in charge.

Fact:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn’t fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation so we can keep on doing the type of journalism that 2018 demands.

Donate Now
  • Elizabeth Gettelman is a former managing editor and public affairs director at Mother Jones. To follow her on Twitter, click here.