Monday, February 12, 2007

Lincoln vs. Bush

Today is Abraham Lincoln’s birth date. Were he still alive, he would be 198 years old.

For 48 months, between April 12,1861 and April 9, 1865, Lincoln led the Union during the U.S. Civil War. According to the Civil War Battlefield Commission, the War cost the nation 620,000 lives lost in 10,500 armed conflicts ranging from battles that had strategic consequences for the war to minor skirmishes. The Commission identified 26 states in which at least one of the War’s 384 principle battles occurred. Eight states endured 15 or more of these 384, with Virginia accounting for 123 of them – nearly one-third.

George Bush was born on July 6, 1946. He is 60 years old. He has presided over a country that has been fighting for 64 months (since October 8, 2001) on two fronts and seemingly is now headed for a third. So far in these two wars, 3,585 U.S. soldiers have died. Another 417 soldiers from “coalition” partners have also died.

The number of Iraqis and Afghan civilians killed may never be known, but in the first two months of fighting in Afghanistan, one U.S. researcher estimated 3,767 civilians were killed. Human Rights Watch estimates that in 2006, at least 1,000 more Afghan civilians perished in the war.

In the last 26 months in Iraq, the estimated minimum number of civilian deaths is 24,521 with another 6,100 security personnel killed.

George Bush and Lincoln seem as different as night and day even though both men were "commanders-in-chief." Lincoln did not relish the role; Bush is "comfortable" with it.

Lincoln was tormented and troubled by doubt. George Bush has no doubts. At first I considered the way age can affect a person; Lincoln was 55 when the Civil War began. But then, so was George Bush whenU U.S. forces attacked Afghanistan.

Lincoln’s ordeal involved the survival of the nation. George Bush seems to believe his Wars are also for national survival. George Bush is wrong.

That’s the big difference.

One other observation: George Bush will leave the White House in January 2009. He will be gone when the United States observes the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.

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