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Republicans have lots of respect for our dead troops. Too bad they couldn't care less about the living ones.

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Everyone remember this little beauty from the 2004 campaign, when George Bush decided to use the 3,000 dead on September 11 as campaign props?

Well, apparently now that the war on terror and the war in Iraq have become one big fiasco (where is Osama, anyway?), the Republican party has suddenly decided that talking about both wars is no longer politically correct. Which of course is understandable. I wouldn't want anyone talking about my biggest failures either, especially if they led to the deaths of nearly 3,000 US soldiers in a senseless war that's become a fiasco due to my incompetence.

I bring this up because the Republicans are now freaking out - meaning, they're running scared - over a new Democratic video highlighting Bush's many failures, and how America has taken a "turn for the worse" under Bush's and the Republicans' stewardship. And the video is of course, correct. It shows photos of pollution, the abysmal response to Hurricane Katrina, and the failed Iraq war, among other examples of Republican incompetence. The Iraq war photos in the video include that now-famous photo of the flag-draped coffins in the military jet coming back to the states from Iraq. Rightly suggesting that the deaths of nearly 3,000 US troops in a fiasco of a war is most certainly a "turn for the worse" that America has suffered under George Bush's presidency.

Now, you'll recall that George Bush has refused to attend even a single funeral of a US service member killed in Iraq.

And you'll recall that Bush has tried to stop the media from showing the arrival of the coffins of any US soldier who died in Iraq. Thousands of dead heroes are kind of a downer when you're trying to con the public into thinking everything is going swell.

So you won't be surprised to find out that the Republicans are now feigning freak out over the pictures of the coffins serving as a moving memorial to how sad and wrong it is that Bush and the Republicans are responsible for killing nearly 3,000 of our proud US troops.

What would the Republicans prefer we use to depict the tragedy of the deaths of our soldiers at the hands of a commander in chief who is inept and a Republican congress that is non-existent? Well, we already have that answer: The Republicans prefer we don't acknowledge the deaths of our troops at all. To the Republicans running Washington, DC, the deaths of our soldiers in Iraq are an embarrassment, an inconvenient truth one might even say. To Republicans in Washington, American soldiers don't matter, dead or alive, unless you're a Republican running for re-election, then our troops pop up in all your campaign events and ads as if they're our troops' new best friend, only to be forgotten until the next election.

But Republicans are not our troops' best friend.

Republicans sent our troops to Iraq to risk their lives for a lie. They sent our men and women into battle without the body armor they needed to stay alive. Republicans sent them in insufficient numbers to get the job done. They sent them with no plan for victory, no plan for exit. They sent them without even enough food.

Republicans cut the funding for veterans back here in America, and have left scores of Iraq war vets now homeless. And Republicans refuse to even consider pulling our troops out of a failed Iraq war, even as our troops continue to die each and every day - and why? - because a withdrawal would be an embarrassment to our failed commander in chief George Bush. And in a Republican's mind, what's a few thousand dead US troops when compared to possibly embarrassing the worst president ever?

So, the Republicans are understandably freaking out. After all, George Bush and the Republicans are responsible for the biggest US military failure since Vietnam. (And Dick Cheney is responsible for cutting the US military budget far beyond what anyone ever even wanted.) The only way the Republicans know to react is not to fix the problem, but rather to attack the messenger and distract the public.

So, expect to hear a lot from the Republicans in the coming days about how much they respect our dead troops.

Maybe someday they'll respect the ones who are still alive too.

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