FDR's grandson: Bush is no war president

Published October 30, 2004 6:26PM (EDT)

"For Bush to grant himself this title is an insult to my grandfather," says James Roosevelt Jr. of the current president and his misguided war policies:

"This summer, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's name and legacy were invoked by almost a dozen speakers at the Republican National Convention. But George W. Bush is not, and never will be, a president like FDR. ...

"At home, FDR mobilized American industrial power to provide the needed equipment for our forces and those of our allies. His fireside chats focused on calls for national sacrifice, but his concern for the troops was also very personal. My father and all three of his brothers were on active duty -- in combat -- in the Marine Corps, the Navy and the Army Air Corps. Their sister, Anna, and their mother, Eleanor Roosevelt, ministered to the soldiers and sailors with the American Red Cross. They shared the common sacrifices with ordinary Americans both in uniform oversees and in factories, homes and offices all over America.

"Where are George W. Bush's personal sacrifices? Where are the inspirational words meant to mobilize America now?

"Most importantly, Dr. Win the War (as FDR was called) met with the leaders of the Allied nations throughout the war to plan the peace. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, together with Joseph Stalin and sometimes even Charles DeGaulle, knew that military victory leading to an unplanned peace was hollow and potentially disastrous. Iraq today proves that their fears were well founded. ...

"A War President isn't self-proclaimed. A president becomes a true War President by leadership that inspires followers at home and abroad. And most importantly, a War President never loses sight of the goals of true peace with honor.

"For Bush to grant himself this title is an insult to my grandfather and the inspired leaders who led this country in wars that were just. To put it simply, George W. Bush has not earned the right to be called a War President."

By Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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