Fortunate Sons Don’t Like Grieving Mothers

Amanda Marcotte, commenting on the coincidence of listening to Sleater Kinney’s cover of “Fortunate Son” as she read Atrios’ post about Gov. Mitt Romney’s agitated discomfort with being asked if his sons were planning to enlist, notes that:
Cindy Sheehan standing in the Texas heat outside of Bush's gorgeous, expensive and oh-so-comfortable ranch is a perfect symbol of [the class issues that allow war to happen]. War is not possible unless you have internal class warfare. War is not possible unless the rich and powerful feel free to demand the lives of the common people be sacrificed with the same ease you lose a pawn in a game of chess…

I think that the reason that Bush won't come out of hiding and tell Cindy Sheehan the truth about why her son died in Iraq is because the honest answer is so fucking evil. Casey Sheehan died because he's not a fortunate son…

[B]ut for a simple random accident of fate, he is the man cowering inside the mansion instead of the bereaved parent standing outside it demanding justice.
Of course, it’s even more complex than that for the former flyboy, isn’t it? The simple random accident of fate that guaranteed Bush would never find himself a bereaved parent is the same little ray of providence that ensured he was never going to be the soldier being grieved, either. And if I had to guess what bothers Bush most about Cindy Sheehan’s vigil, it’s not that he could have been her had things been different—it’s that he never, ever could have been her son with things as they are.

Though his handlers have done their best to conceal the truth about whether Bush fulfilled his commitment to the Texas Air National Guard, for which he applied during the height of the Vietnam War, twelve days away from losing his student deferment, there’s no doubt that his family’s position and connections secured him his spot, safely away from the horrors of the war raging half a world away. There was no waiting list for this Fortunate Son, and no dependence on the military as a means to a better life. He was, after all, losing his student deferment because he had just graduated from Yale. The Texas Air National Guard was not going to help pay for his education, or provide him with marketable skills that might be turned into a good career, or be the answer to a lack of health insurance, or any of the reasons that the military is appealing for many Unfortunate Sons. It wasn’t even about a chance to serve his country honorably; it was about the chance to serve without risking his life.

Bush has been lying about, explaining, defending, and justifying his service record ever since. It’s a thorn in his side that refuses to yield no matter how he tugs on it, which is, in the end, a small price to pay compared to his cohorts who returned from the war he avoided with devastating injuries, of both the physical and psychological sorts, or never returned at all. And having launched a war that with each day draws more comparisons to the war from which he hid, the specter of his cowardly, privileged history haunts him, drawing ever nearer. And now a mother of one of the sons who died in his war darkens his very doorstep. As his limo passes by protesters holding pictures of Casey Sheehan, is he really thinking about how fortunate he is not to be Cindy, or instead about the bitter irony of escaping a fate like Casey’s only to condemn another generation? Or does he just see the trickles of sweat running down their brows from standing in the hot Texas sun, and ask his driver to turn up the air conditioning, as he turns away and closes his eyes?

(The Heretik has more, too.)

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