The Party of Lincoln Hijacked


Although the responses to my most recent letter in the paper has been overwhelmingly supportive with phone calls coming from as far away as New Rochelle and Armonk, a few sincerely patriotic folks have disagreed with me and, generally, in a civil manner. I consider them misguided but sincere and respect their right to differ with me. Two letters in the paper criticized me, one from Joe with whom I correspond regularly. Actually it was Joe who inspired my last letter and I am not surprised that he would subsequently criticize me. In fact he did me a service in his letter by repeating my description Mr. Bush as a "born-again warrior" and "misguided arrogant crusader."  Besides phones calls such as I mentioned, I have also received many supportive messages over the Internet as well as from some fellow parishioners.

Republican credentials

Since this is a sort of Apologia pro Vita Sua let me preface my remarks to establish my bona fide Republican credentials and patriotic roots that have been cast in doubt by some of my critics. I am and remain a registered Republican, although a disenchanted one to be sure. I come from a family with Republican roots as well as an early American ancestry that extends back generations before the ancestors of any of my critics ever set foot in America. My father was a true conservative Republican judge in Michigan. My great grandmother bounced the infant Wendell Wilkie on her knee in Elwood, Indiana. Both sides of my family were traditional Republicans.  They would not recognize the Party of Lincoln today.


 

Hon. Earl Russel Cross (1901-1986), my father, graduate of Georgetown
University Law School, conservative Republican and future municipal judge.
This memento is from a campaign early in his career.

Patriotic roots.

As for patriotic roots I will take second place to no one. I am the direct and documented descendant of the following patriots:

1.    William Bassett (died 1667) who served in the Pequot War (Indian War – 1637)
2.    Thomas Mulford (came to America in 1639) and served in King Phillip’s War (another pre-Revolutionary Indian war 1675-1678)
3.    Private Elisha Eldridge (1756-1841) who served in the American Revolution
4.    Amos Singletary (1721-1806) also listed in the DAR Patriot Index
5.    Private Peter Jennison (1750-1821) served in the American Revolution
6.    Patrick Mahan (c. 1732-1780) and his daughter Jane Mahan (1764-1854) both captured by the British in the attack on Ruddles Fort, Kentucky, in 1780, and taken prisoners of war to Quebec.
7.    James Brackenridge (175401794) served as a ranger in the American Revolution
8.    Daniel Devos and his five sons all of whom served in the War of 1812)
9.    My great grandfather, Ben McKey, (1837-1916) veteran of the Civil War and the Vicksburg Campaign.
10.    My grandfather, Major Joe McKey (1877-1956) decorated veteran: Mexican Border, Spanish-American War, Philippine Insurrection, World War I (Silver Star, the Croix de Guerre, Medal of Verdun, and other medals proudly displayed in my living room.



Now the above documented patriots do not make me better than anyone else or more patriotic, but I stand by them and my patriotic right to dissent from an action taken by my government that I consider wrong. My considered and patriotic opinion is that the actions of this president and those of cabal around him do not reflect the ideals of this country nor those of the once noble Party of Lincoln.

Who are the promoters and movers of this present Bush policy? I see at least three groups:

1.    First of all the “neo-Conservative” crowd who have hijacked the Republican party and true conservatism and whose agenda is world domination – a group of officials within the administration who have been behind this war-mongering that serves primarily the interest of Israel, and not American interests. (An extended list of some of these people is given below. Check it out, please) One must also include certain fundamentalist Protestants whose simplistic unscholarly biblical literalism has led them to identify the present secular state of Israel as a fulfillment of Scripture.

2.    The military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about. These folks will continue to make big bucks off of armaments and war, making us the world’s leader of arms distribution.

3.    The oil industry in which President Bush, Dick Cheney and Condi Rice are up to their necks. Ms. Rice even has an oil tanker named after her. (see addenda below)

Now, I have to ask my critics, if they claim to be Christian, if have cast their lot in this war with the leaders of the great religions, be they the pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Catholic bishops of the world, including the United States, most mainline Protestant denominations (including the president’s very own United Methodist Church) or not. Have not my critics perhaps chosen instead Mr. Bush’s world and messianic justification for his war - accepted his casus belli? The religious leaders whom I follow in this matter have clearly called this an immoral war that cannot be justified by the classic “just war” criteria or in the light of present theological teaching.With a masters degree in theology myself from the oldest existing Catholic University in the world I find this war morally repugnant and contrary to everything the Gospel stands for. “The end does not justify the means” remains a moral verity.

No doubt Saddam was a cruel tyrant unworthy of the Iraqi people. But Mr. Bush, impatient with the implementation of UN resolution 1441 that called for disarmament (not “regime change”) - something the inspectors were in the midst of carrying forward, -chose instead an provoked, illegal war in violation of international law and the United Nations Charter to which the United States was and remains an original signatory. It went against the advice of “old friends” in Europe and world opinion.

No one is sad to see the end of the Saddam regime but it did not have to be done this way, with such violence, such abuse of “weapons of mass destruction” and devastation of the Cradle of Civilization with its civilians killed and infrastructure destroyed.

There was a better way and Mr. Bush chose not to follow it. Regime change was not a part of the UN resolution but a personal goal of Mr. Bush and his cohorts. He bears the complete responsibility for what has transpired in Iraq, the death, the injury and devastation and for what lays ahead for the world and the American populace in particular. The first lesson in democracy we taught the Iraqis was that we sought to execute Saddam Hussein rather than bringing him before the world court to be fairly tried for his real crimes against humanity. I would have Mr. Bush as well brought before the World Court for his war crimes as well.

As to Saddam’s crimes against the Kurds it is true as well that Mr. Bush Senior and his administration did know at the time what was going on. They looked the other way and did nothing about it. Why? Because at that time Saddam was our friend and ally and as long as was killing Iranians it was to our great satisfaction. Our government did nothing to stop him. Mr. Bush junior has been crowing about this gassing of the Kurds but his old man knew about it then and did nothing.

The so-called claim that Saddam "gassed his own people" specifically at Halabja, has been given as a reason to topple Saddam Hussein. New light has been thrown of this accusation and you might enjoy reading the article (enclosed) by Stephen C. Pelletierre, the Central Intelligence Agency's senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war and professor at the Army War College from 1988 to 2000. He was privy to much of the classified material that flowed through Washington having to do with the Persian Gulf. He headed a 1991 Army investigation into how the Iraqis would fight a war against the United States. (cf. Mr. Pelletierre's Op-Ed piece in the NY Times of January 31.

Personally, I place my value system in the teachings of the Gospel and not the agenda of Mr. Bush and am quite comfortable in so doing. So next time we sing together “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me” we might ask ourselves how or if each of us is working for peace in our own way. I have chosen mine. I trust you are happy with yours.

Addenda:

A majority of President Bush's new cabinet are millionaires and several are multimillionaires. According to information from financial disclosure reports, released by the Office of Government Ethics, most cabinet appointees have amassed their fortunes in stock options.

The president, vice-president, commerce secretary and national security adviser all have strong ties to the oil industry. The president’s family has been running oil companies since 1950.

Vice-President Dick Cheney amassed some $50m-$60m while he was chief executive of Haliburton oil company, the world’s largest oil services company.

Commerce Secretary Donald Evans held stock valued between $5m and $25m in Tom Brown Inc, the oil and gas exploration company he headed.  

National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice sat on the board of Chevron. Ms. Rice has been honored by Chevron with an oil tanker named after her.

The concentration of energy connections is so pronounced that some critics are calling the Bush government the "oil and gas administration".