About 30 people were around the bar drinking, chatting, smoking as the president talked. "Does it have to be so loud?" asked Barbara Flint as she sat next to Jerry Giblock, a visiting Vietnam veteran.
"He's running scared," said Giblock, 63, a former Post 2500 member who lives in Anchorage, Ala. "His poll numbers are so low, he's got to say something, but the support is gone. It's gone. I don't think there's anybody in here who's behind him."
These veterans have fought in foreign wars and struggled after them, which makes them more than eligible to comment on the ongoing war in Iraq.
Howard Fay, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, ladled meatballs in the kitchen.
"I don't like this war at all," he said. "Saddam wasn't doing anything to us. The one we should have been going after with everything is Osama bin Laden."
These veterans know war is never simple or easy, and they say this president, who never saw combat, overlooked these things in his rush to invade Iraq and install democracy.Gee, ya think he's an old hippie?
"I have no respect for this president," said Bud Lynch of Hallandale, a Korean War veteran. "He's just trying to finish Daddy's job. That's all this was about. There was no nuclear [expletive] or WMDs to begin with ... If it were my son who was being sent over there, I wouldn't let him go."
Bush heard applause as he finished at Fort Bragg, but there wasn't a ripple at Post 2500.Members of Veterans' organizations are pretty generally thought of as being conservative, particularly so in South Florida, I would think. Bush was only able to pull the wool over these guys' eyes for so long, and that time is past, it seems. I wanta see what happens if the administration calls these Vets traitors for not supporting his imperial criminal enterprise. I think they'll wish they hadn't.
If Bush has lost the Veterans, he's lost. Good.
A personal note: I'm a Life Member of the VFW, and a member of my local Post 2675, the Levon P. Joseph Post, named after a local WWII Vet. I have never been in combat, except at the Enlisted Men's Club. The only time I was ever shot at by a hostile force, it was the U.S. Navy, and luckily, that day they couldn'ta hit a bull in the ass with a bass fiddle. I got close enough to the Dominican Republic once to qualify for an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, a real pretty campaign ribbon, which is the minimum requirement for membership in the VFW. Mostly we do civic-minded stuff like a Memorial Day ceremony at the marble orchard, or painting the flagpole at the local Vets' Hall. The last one took about three years to wend its way through the bureaucracy before they'd let us do it. We're sorta like the Elks with guns 'n ammo.