The 275th birthday of President George Washington was commemorated by President George not-Washington in a speech at Mount Vernon on Monday. While keeping a straight face, #43 likened the global war on terrorism to #1's war on the British Empire:
Today, we're fighting a new war to defend our liberty and our people and our way of life. And as we work to advance the cause of freedom around the world, we remember that the father of our country believed that the freedoms we secured in our revolution were not meant for Americans alone.(In addition to having the same first name, #43 and #1 apparently both like freedom. )
Further conflating the two, Bush said:
On the field of battle, Washington's forces were facing a mighty empire, and the odds against them were overwhelming. The ragged Continental Army lost more battles than it won, suffered waves of desertions, and stood on the brink of disaster many times.(Wait...are we supposed to be the Patriots or the British in that analogy?)
Tighten up, Bush. As a history major at Yale, you should have learned that Washington's two signature accomplishments in foreign policy were the Jay Treaty and the Proclamation of Neutrality.
The first was a compromise with Britain--an openly hostile enemy--to avert another war. The second quelled a rush to war with Britain that was advocated by Jefferson and his rival Republican Party, which supported the French Revolution's struggle for liberty and against Britain's desire to reinstate France's monarchy. That proclamation was the cornerstone of American isolationism that endured for more than a century.
Regardless of the merits of preemptive warfare and U.S. isolationism, you need to tighten up your analogies, Bush, and stop playing dress up.
(And as long as we're making lofty historical analogies here, the King of England suspended habeas corpus, overruled laws, and condoned torture. His name was also George.)