Stanley Kutler: How to support the troops

Roundup: Historians' Take

President Bush has reiterated his oft-repeated assertion that we must support the troops. He must not be allowed to monopolize"patriotism,""the flag," and"the troops." The rest of us can pay our respect to the idea of the nation, in our own mindful way, and as we see fit. On his own grounds, however, the president has a lot to answer for.

He can begin to support our troops by a) apologizing to the family of Pat Tillman; 2) apologizing to Jessica Lynch and her family; and c) apologizing to the soldiers and their families who are going through the enormous burden of three tours of duty. He can then hold a photo-op at Walter Reed Hospital, pledge to rid the hospital of its rat-infestation, and then apologize to the wounded veterans and their families for his administration's lack of support.

The president likes to dismiss Congress--meaning Democrats who are not loyal to his war--for asserting its constitutional powers."Micro-Managers," he scoffs, in his best patronizing manner. He insists that we listen to our military leaders, and not Congress/Democrats. Well, he might remember that he removed Generals George Casey and John P. Abizaid precisely because he did not want to listen to them. They did not tell him what he wanted to hear. Unfortunately for Bush, he cannot so simply dismiss Congress.

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