In his radio address to the nation Saturday, President Bush mentioned the wars overseas and the hurricane recovery separately:
Americans believe that every person has the right to live, work, and worship in freedom. And we're thankful to the men and women of our Nation's armed forces who risk their lives to protect those rights. This Thanksgiving, we are mindful that many of our finest citizens are spending the holiday far from their homes and loved ones, and we know that their service makes it possible for us to live in freedom.On Friday, while gutting a veteran’s house with the Arabi Wrecking Krewe, an AWOL American soldier mentioned the wars and the recovery but made some connections:
During this holiday season, we also think of those still working to recover from the devastating hurricanes that struck our Nation last year. We are grateful to the armies of compassion who rallied to bring food, water, and hope to those who had lost everything, and we renew our commitment to help those who are still suffering and to rebuild our Nation's Gulf Coast.
"There are so many engineering units of the U.S. military - they should be here and not Iraq," Pte. Kyle Snyder, 23, of Colorado Springs, Colo., said Friday.Instead of flexing our military muscle to destroy buildings and lives in other parts of the world, we could be using that muscle to rebuild cities and lives in this part of the world.
A better world will not come by pointing the barrel of gun at it and commanding it to be better. You have to put the guns down and get in there and work on it.
The President said it himself at the end of his radio address:
Thanksgiving reminds us that the true strength of our Nation is the compassion and decency of our people. And as we count our blessings, we remember that those blessings are meant to be shared. I encourage all Americans to look for a way to help those in need -- from tutoring a child, to working in a shelter, to giving a hand to a neighbor. I thank all those Americans who volunteer this season, and Laura and I wish every American a safe and happy holiday.So, this Thanksgiving I give thanks to Kyle Snyder for putting his muscle where his guns are not. If that makes me un-American, then so be it. My only response to such an accusation would be: I was born in New Orleans.
Take from that what you will.