The latest issue of Golf Digest includes an article titled, "The Healing Power of Golf," by Jerry Tarde, the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Golf Digest.
It's no secret that many professional golfers are rabid Republicans, some being on the ultra-right side of things, as well as claiming to be "born-again," fundamentalistic Christians. The latter often praise their god when they win a tournament (cf. Zach Johnson at the Masters), hold prayer meetings during the week, and talk about how Jesus helps them during their difficult times.
In light of those facts, it's not surprising that Mr. Tarde saw fit to interview former president George W. Bush. George, as you may remember, is also a rabid Republican and talked about God a lot. He's been "born again," and claimed God wanted him to become president!
But Mr. Tarde also wanted to talk to George about the golf. Golf and the Bushes are friends of long-standing. Bush showed Mr. Tarde a picture of his most recent painting of three old caddies who had caddied for his grandfather, his father, and himself. "Golf runs deep in the Bush clan," saith Mr. G.W. Bush.
The interview took place in Dallas where Bush was holding forth at the "Warrior Open golf event for wounded veterans and active servicemen who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's part of the Bush Institute's Military Service Initiative." Thus Golf Digest is "honoring him this month as a Golfer Who Gives Back."
This is just plain weird! It is eerie! Bush says, "I feel a special kinship for our military, because, unfortunately, I became a wartime president."
Oh, barf! There's nothing wrong and a lot right with helping our wounded veterans and those in active service, so long as we don't make heroes out of people merely because they wore a uniform or got themselves shot.
But does Golf Digest not see the irony? Bush didn't somehow, "accidentally," become a "wartime president" as he implies. Iraq and Afghanistan did not just "happen" when he was president. He was the chief liar, and the chief warmonger who instigated this country's unnecessary and unprecedented wars of aggression which killed over 4,000 of our soldiers and wounded many thousands more; which killed and displaced hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, leaving Iraq a pile of rubble and destroying whatever political stability that country had! And it's not over yet. In fact, in some ways, the horror may be just beginning.
Bush, as we know, lied about WMDs. He ignored warnings during the summer of 2001 that terrorists were planning to use airlines in an attack on our country. Then, in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Bush not only forbade the FBI from interviewing Saudis in this country, but provided the means for them to flee to Saudi Arabia asap. Why? Did he know from the beginning that almost all of the terrorists were Saudi Arabians? Or was it just because for years the Bush family has been in bed with the Saudis?
And let's not forget Bush's own military record and what a joke that was. He cried to Daddy who pulled strings so he could avoid going to Vietnam. Then, instead of completing his commitment to military service, Bush used his connections to play politics and stay out of harm's way.
It seems likely that Bush uses the Bush Institute's Military Service Initiative as a sop to ease his guilty conscience.
What really sinks my boat, though, is how Tarde fawns over this war criminal who authorized the use of torture. Bush, he says, like the wounded warriors, uses golf as a "restorative power," whatever that means in his case. George feels badly about sending all these people into harm's way. But, hey, he's playing the best golf of his life! Yeah! He plays with Lee Trevino and David Graham even.
Tarde mentions that Bush's "handlers" refused to let him ask Bush about "President Obama continuing to play golf under withering criticism in contrast with Bush's decision not to play in his second term." In that mention you get a sense of Golf Digest's political leanings. And you get a sense of Bush's mindset when he says he "chose not to play because my view was I could find other ways to be myself, like mountain biking. And I didn't want to send a signal to mothers whose sons were in combat that while they were sacrificing, I was on the golf course.
It wouldn't matter to me what the hell Bush did in his 2nd term. Not playing golf doesn't bring back all the dead or heal the wounded. Not playing golf doesn't wash the blood dripping from his hands. Not playing golf does not somehow absolve him from responsibility.
So far as criticism of Obama's golf: It's true, he has played more golf than Bush did. But he's taken only one-third as many vacations as did Bush. To catch up with George, Obama would have to take 879 days of vacation between now and the end of his 2nd term. Bush, as you recall, ran off to his Texas ranch at every opportunity!
In the end, George W. Bush is a war criminal and should have been sentenced to prison, along with Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. One of President Obama's big failings in my opinion, was to forgo charging this triad with war crimes and putting them on trial.
No one, including Mr. Tarde of Golf Digest, should be promoting this criminal and his nonsense even if he is, belatedly, trying to "give back" something to those who somehow survived his monstrous decision and need to become a "wartime president."
Let him do it anonymously and penitentially, for no good deeds can ever make up for the misery he unleashed on this country and the Middle East.