Profiles in Presidential Sacrifice

Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.
Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in his radio address on Dec. 9, 1941:

"On the road ahead there lies hard work -- grueling work -- day and night, every hour and every minute.

"I was about to add that ahead there lies sacrifice for all of us. But it is not correct to use that word. The United States does not consider it a sacrifice to do all one can, to give one's best to our Nation when the Nation is fighting for its existence and its future life.

"It is not a sacrifice for any man, old or young, to be in the Army or the Navy of the United States. Rather is it a privilege. It is not a sacrifice for the industrialist or the wage earner, the farmer or the shopkeeper, the trainman or the doctor, to pay more taxes, to buy more bonds, to forego extra profits, to work longer or harder at the task for which he is best fitted. Rather is it a privilege."

Eleanor Roosevelt, writing in her personal journal during World War II:

"I think my husband would have been very much upset if the boys had not wanted to go into the war immediately, but he did not have to worry very much because they either were already in before the war began, or they went in immediately."

President John F. Kennedy, inaugural address, Jan. 20, 1961:

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. . . .

"In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility -- I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it -- and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country.

"My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

President George W. Bush, interview on PBS NewHour, Jan. 16, 2007:

"I think a lot of people are in this fight. I mean, they sacrifice peace of mind when they see the terrible images of violence on TV every night. I mean, we've got a fantastic economy here in the United States, but yet, when you think about the psychology of the country, it is somewhat down because of this war. . . . One thing we want during this war on terror is for people to feel like their life's moving on, that they're able to make a living and send their kids to college and put more money on the table."

bushgolf.jpg
President Bush


President Bush, comments to reporters, May 13, 2008:

"Q. Mr. President, you haven't been golfing in recent years. Is that related to Iraq?

"THE PRESIDENT: Yes, it really is. I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the Commander-in-Chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be as -- to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.

"Q. Mr. President, was there a particular moment or incident that brought you to that decision, or how did you come to that?

"THE PRESIDENT: No, I remember when de Mello, who was at the U.N., got killed in Baghdad as a result of these murderers taking this good man's life. And I was playing golf -- I think I was in central Texas -- and they pulled me off the golf course and I said, it's just not worth it anymore to do."

By Phillip Carter |  May 14, 2008; 11:15 AM ET  | Category:  Civil-Military Relations
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Although Bush's comments are shallow and abusive to the nation, they are, at least, truly spoken from the man's heart and basic beliefs. By comparison, the classic remarks of Roosevelt and Kennedy will, to many modern Americans, ring as hypocritical gasbagging and political grandstanding of a bygone and best-forgotten age. Is it better to have a politician personally display his narcissism in public or to have a politician conceal the same behind the hollow rhetoric of a writer for hire? This nation needs leaders of intelligence and spiritual substance, not morally confused patrician children, no matter how good their speechwriters.

Posted by: LDMJR | May 14, 2008 1:03 PM

lET'S SEE....IS THIS THE SAME BUSH WHO HAD TIME FOR A GAME SHOW DROP-IN? OR THE SAME BUSH WHO DID A COMEDY ROUTINE AT ONE OF THE ANNUAL DC GALAS BY CRAWLING ON THE FLOOR AND UNDER TABLES LOOKING FOR WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION? lIKE SOMEONE ONCE SAID--THE BUSHES ARE FIRST IN WAR, FIRST IN PEACE AND FIRST OUT OF THE AIRPLANE!

Posted by: JIM | May 14, 2008 1:09 PM

The intelligence and spiritual substance of Roosevelt and Kennedy probably compare favorably to the intelligence and spiritual substance of the dope posting upthread.

Leaving that aside as quickly as it deserves to be, should we be asking ourselves how exceptional Bush is among modern politicians at his level? One may well wonder that his idea of what he and the public ought to be asked to sacrifice in wartime is so limited, but it isn't as if very many other people in public life have proposed a different idea. It isn't clear the American public would reward any politician who did.

A President's responsibility in this area may be different in degree, but it is not different in kind. If Bush's rather restrictive view of what he should give up in wartime (a game he doesn't seem to have liked much anyway) and what Americans not serving in the military should be asked to sacrifice (nothing) were resented by American voters, one might expect Bush to be replaced later this year by someone prepared to be more demanding of himself or the country. That's not going to happen. Americans will vote instead for a candidate promising to "stand up" for them against their enemies. Whoever the winning candidate turns out to be will have more in common than not with George Bush.

Posted by: Zathras | May 14, 2008 1:39 PM

I know he doesn't seem, um...lucid in those comments but the Republicans sure used to like him.
What was it about him you guys liked again? I mean other than his last name?

Posted by: Dijetlo | May 14, 2008 3:39 PM

I knew Phil would catch this one from this shallowest of shallow men. We all know what this says about him. But, unfortunately, I fear Zathras is right. That's what we've become as a people.

BTW, folks, the receptivity on the part of the populace to those who dodge war and who then make flippant remarks about the wars they later start, is illustrative of what happens when very few people bear the burdens of war. The American people fundamentally do not know what war is all about. Why should we be surprised that they elect a man equally as ignorant?

More wages of a small, insular volunteer military.

Posted by: Publius | May 14, 2008 3:53 PM

The man is clueless.

Posted by: Sara B. | May 14, 2008 4:08 PM

This, after all, from the man who said from the teebox at the outset of the WOT, "I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. Thank you. Now, watch this drive." So he's come far, for a sociopath.

This is the same guy who once, during one of his begrudging and rare visits to a military hospital, yucked it up in front of profoundly injured servicemen, amputees, actually comparing their life-altering, grieous injuries to the scratches he had received while cutting brush at his ranch in Crawford. The same guy who ignored his own daughter's emergency appendectomy, except to note how it wouldn't disrupt his vacation plans. The same guy who chided Ariel Sharon, as he lay in an irreversible coma, for not watching his diet and getting more exercise. The same guy who had the callous cruelty to use the war as the set-up premise for his hilarious, "Where are those darned WMD's" bit. He killed with that routine, The same guy who ate ice cream cake and noodled around on a guitar while New Orleans drowned. The guy who mocked Karla Faye Tucker before seeing to her execution. The same guy who actually said, when questioned about his conspicuous absences from his duties at the White House, and his unwillingness to visit with the families of broken men and women he himself had sent to war, that he needed to "get on with his life" and that thinking about such bummers would not allow him to make "good, crisp, decisions". The same guy who, when it was his turn to heed the call, when his contemporaries were dying in Viet Nam, couldn't even care enough for them (or for his Poppy's reputation) to show up for his plush Air Guard appointment, preferring his coke, cough syrup and bourbon to his dress-up "service".

Posted by: Esoth | May 14, 2008 4:13 PM

LDMJR: JFK served in the Navy, was an authentic war hero, wounded yet managed to save his crew. That was one patrician who was never confused. Bush is definitely confused and dumb.

Posted by: M. Stratas | May 14, 2008 4:33 PM

Why should he make any sacrifice when the point was how much it would benefit Bush?

The WOT for Bush is at least half a pretext that lets him aggrandize his power as Commander in Chief, running roughshod over the rule of law and the opposition.

He told his first biographer, Mickey Herskowitz, in 1999 that he thought a war would increase his power, helping him push through his domestic agenda, so he would go down in history as a great president. And he talked about Iraq. This was before he told the public he would have a humble foreign policy.

Now I'm not knocking the legitimate reasons for pursuing Al Qaeda or getting Saddam off the throne of Iraq. And the mess created by this mis-spawned invasion has created new reasons to fight. I know this blog has a large audience in the services who believe in their missions and I salute every one of you. But we need to acknowledge just how badly this nation has been used and abused by the Bush administration if we are to prevent it from happening again and again.

Posted by: LowHangingMissles | May 14, 2008 4:55 PM

Thank you, Mr. Carter, for situating Mr. Bush in proper context. He is an oblivious, insensitive, repugnant individual, singularly unsuited for the post of President of the U.S.

However, thanks to his utter lack of savvy, he demonstrates nicely what his people think.

Posted by: Lisa | May 14, 2008 5:29 PM

The meme writer is going to lose his parking space.

" The US president traced his decision to the August 19, 2003 bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad, which killed the world body's top official in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

Bush's last round of golf as president dates back to October 13, 2003, according to meticulous records kept by CBS news."
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080513/pl ... 0513212030

Posted by: WOOF | May 14, 2008 5:42 PM

LDMJR: The boys Elanor Roosevelt was refering to were her sons, every one of whom served in the war, and every one of whom saw some form of combat. The Roosevelt pictured, wasn't one of them, however. HIS father was Theodore Roosevelt, all of who's sons also served in either WWI, WWII or both.
"the classic remarks of Roosevelt and Kennedy will, to many modern Americans, ring as hypocritical gasbagging and political grandstanding of a bygone and best-forgotten age."

The Kennedy's paid their dues. Ted Kennedy alone was too young to serve in WWII. The rest served, and one failed to return.

The Roosevelts paid their dues. So did LBJ and his sons-in-law. So did Jimmy Carter. Mike Dukakis was the sole Korean War Vet to be nominated for the presidency..

Then again, the Quayles, Bushes, Cheneys, Reagans had a tendency to mock their service. They all had "Better things to do"

I haven't paid my American Legion Dues in years. Until they apologize for treating GWB as a hero and MD, AG, and JK as frauds, I don't think I ever will again.

Posted by: ceflynline@msn.com | May 14, 2008 6:31 PM

If Iraq is such a noble cause Mr. Bush how come neither one of your daughter is serving in the military, how come your new son-in-law is not in uniform, how come Mr. Cheney's lesbian daughter is not fighting in Iraq, how come Karl Rove's son is not in Bagdad, how come none of Jeb Bush's kids
are in Iraq? Oh, that's right... you've stopped playing golf. What great sacrifice.

Posted by: A.Lincoln | May 14, 2008 7:38 PM

My son Robert served under Grant, where are your children Mr. Bush?

Posted by: A.Lincoln | May 14, 2008 7:42 PM

LDMJR needs to take some history lessons.

First, Bush is the very patrician you denigrate.

Second, JFK was a legit war hero in every meaning of the word hero.

Third, FDR busted his hump for the US Navy as assistant secretary during WWI, and as president in WWII. More importantly, FDR was a successful war president, leading the US to victory in TWO theaters of fighting.

Finally, let's not doubt that Bush has his share of speech writers. Because he doesn't choose them well, or use them well, that is not JFK's and FDR's faults.

Posted by: Jack | May 14, 2008 9:40 PM

As I posted several times on the original Intel-Dump, GWB seems to be a victim of arrested development. And with each passing day, the symptoms become more and more obvious.

Posted by: Aviator47 | May 15, 2008 2:32 AM

disgusting. and a lie. he played golf in October that year. why doesnt he give up vacations?

Posted by: jwin | May 15, 2008 2:55 AM

I thought you were going to include the patriotic duty of shopping.

I remember sitting there shortly after 9/11, a Bush despising liberal, waiting to find out what I scrifice I could make to help the nation in its hour of need, and all the President asked of me is to go shopping.

Posted by: NeilS | May 15, 2008 4:46 PM

I second A. Lincoln's comments: why aren't your kids in Iraq, Mr. Bush? Why isn't your son-in-law fighting your war for freedom there? Oh, that's right -- too much important work as a junior aide to Karl Rove. Rove didn't serve, either. None of these war hawks ever do.

Posted by: Fnarf | May 15, 2008 7:53 PM

FPN (fine print note): That the record be complete, note that Edward M Kennedy served two years active duty in the Army in the fifties.

Posted by: ceflynline@msn.com | May 15, 2008 9:29 PM

ceflynline@msn.com

Whoa, before you start saying that no Bush's paid their dues and just mocked the service of Roosevelts and Kennedys... remember that George Bush Sr was a WWII fighter pilot, and a war hero as well.. "Bush's aircraft was hit by flak[5] and his engine caught on fire.[4] Despite his plane being on fire, Bush completed his attack and released bombs over his target, scoring several damaging hits.[4] With his engine afire, Bush flew several miles from the island, where he and one other crew member on the TBM Avenger bailed out of the aircraft;[5] the other man's parachute did not open.[4] It has not been determined which man bailed out with Bush;[4] both Delaney and White were killed in action.[5] The crew of three fellow planes that had been shot down were cannibalised by the Japanese.[6] Bush waited for four hours in an inflated raft, while several fighters circled protectively overhead until he was rescued by the lifeguard submarine USS Finback.[4]" -wikipedia

and Ronald Reagan joined the military in 1937 and was later called to active duty in 1942, but was put on limited duty because he was near-sighted (something they did back then, now its fine to be). He served for 3 years and got out in 1945 .. his main job was producing films for the military.. yeah it wasn't in battle, but he was deemed not suited for it.. and he wasn't a member of a powerful family.. so don't insult two Presidents who have done more for this country than you will EVER do.

Posted by: Matt E | May 16, 2008 3:41 PM

I thought you were going to include the patriotic duty of shopping.

I remember sitting there shortly after 9/11, a Bush despising liberal, waiting to find out what I scrifice I could make to help the nation in its hour of need, and all the President asked of me is to go shopping.

Posted by: NeilS | May 15, 2008 4:46 PM

----------

The fact that you had to wait for someone to tell you what to do to help our nation is just kind of sad.

Figure it out..

Posted by: Matt E | May 16, 2008 3:45 PM

FPN (fine print note): That the record be complete, note that Edward M Kennedy served two years active duty in the Army in the fifties.

Posted by: ceflynline@msn.com | May 15, 2008 9:29 PM

--------------

Thats true, wonder why no one remembers that.. it wasn't his fault he wasn't in a war...he did join the military.

Although, it can be said that he was expelled from Harvard in 1951 because he cheated on a Spanish exam

Posted by: Matt E | May 16, 2008 3:49 PM

Although Bush's comments are shallow and abusive to the nation, they are, at least, truly spoken from the man's heart and basic beliefs. By comparison, the classic remarks of Roosevelt and Kennedy will, to many modern Americans, ring as hypocritical gasbagging and political grandstanding of a bygone and best-forgotten age. Is it better to have a politician personally display his narcissism in public or to have a politician conceal the same behind the hollow rhetoric of a writer for hire? This nation needs leaders of intelligence and spiritual substance, not morally confused patrician children, no matter how good their speechwriters.
Posted by: LDMJR | May 14, 2008 1:03 PM

Let me see if I fully understand this.
If a Roosevelt or a Kennedy actually sees action, risks his life in combat and has anything to say about it, they're a gas bag. But if a preppie slacker like Bush who ducks the draft, uses an aircraft carrier as a photo backdrop, puts on the uniform as a costume, and talks about the "romance" of combat but never sees it, he isn't an out-and-out gutless coward. He's speaking from his heart and his basic beliefs, which, I must guess, are that his heart is worth more than yours, and his basic belief is that you should get your head shot off for him. And for this he has 'intelligence and spiritual substance.'"

Is that about right?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 16, 2008 4:14 PM

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