"It is my great honor and privilege to nominate George W. Bush, a strong and compassionate leader, for the office of President of the United States of America."
And so started the misuse of language at the 2004 Republican Convention.
On the second day, the theme was: "People of Compassion" – but just because they use the word "compassion", over and over again, saying it doesn’t make it true.
According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, "compassionate" is defined as "having or showing sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it."
In a biographical piece on Bush by Nicholas D. Kristof in the May 21, 2000 NY Times (as well as many other sources), Bush’s childhood friend, Terry Throckmorton, told of young Bush’s leadership as a boy in Texas when, in a favorite activity after a good rain, thousands of frogs would come out.
“Everybody would get BB guns and shoot them, or we'd put firecrackers in the frogs and throw them and blow them up."
In 1967, as President of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Yale, Bush was called to task for leading a sadistic, illegal torture on new members: The tip of a wire hanger was bent to form the Greek letter Delta, heated over a flame, and then used to brand fraternity initiates in the small of the back, creating a second degree burn that left a half-inch scar.
This action got him his first interview with the NY Times when the scandal broke.
"It was no worse than a cigarette burn. . . There's no scarring mark physically or mentally."
According to the Guiness Book of Records, Texas holds the title of "U.S. State with the Most Executions," with George W. Bush signing 152 of the 244 death warrants, 40 of them in 2000, the year he first campaigned as a "compassionate conservative."
He defended his preference for capital punishment:
"I believe it sends a chilling message that there is a consequence to your actions."
Hmmm. . .
What about the consequences suffered by the 978 patriotic Americans who’ve died in Iraq to date?
Or the over 3,000 Americans wounded, many very seriously?
In preparation for his attack on Iraq, in June 2002, Bush declared to the National Security Agency:
"I’d rather have them [the American troops] sacrificing on behalf of our nation than, you know, endless hours of testimony on Congressional hill."
And then there’s Abu Ghraib, where, for example, an Iraqi prisoner with an already dislocated shoulder was hung from the ceiling by that very arm, even though it had been pointed out by a medic as needing treatment . .
Or what about Iraq itself, where, according to www.iraqbodycount.net , the number of Iraqi dead is estimated between 11,730 and 13,730. . .
On that Republican National Convention day of "People of Compassion," the U.S. military bombed the village of Weradesh in Afghanistan, where at least 8 villagers, including children, were killed, and a Danish team aiding Afghan refugees barely managed to escape, as their supplies and equipment were destroyed
The day following the Republican day of "Compassion," the U.S. launched an air strike on the Iraqi city of Falluja, leaving 17 people dead, including three children, a woman and an elderly man.
Still, the Republicans usurp the word "compassion." But here’s the catch: According to Ramesh Ponnuru, Senior Editor for the conservative National Review, on NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show Wednesday, September 1:
"In promising to be a compassionate administration President Bush never agreed that he was going to accept the definition of compassion proffered by liberals."
Liberals? What about Merriam Webster?
There again, this is the same Bush who also manages to usurp Christianity without seeming to accept the creed proffered by Christ:
"In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you."
To verify/research, Google "Bush +frogs" or "Bush +torture".
For a stunning and insightful look at Bush’s "compassion" I strongly recommend Bush on the Couch, by Dr. Justin Frank. And before anyone jumps at the criticism that Dr. Frank never actually had Bush on his couch, please note that such "Applied Psychoanalysis" has been used for years at the CIA headquarters in The George Bush Center for Intelligence to better understand the character of various foreign leaders.