President Bush continues to cling to the personal belief that he and George Washington are not all that dissimilar. He's tried before to draw comparisons between Washington's struggle to free the independent colonies from the grip of England, and his own struggle to, as he puts it, preserve the freedoms of the United States and Western democracy from the tyranny of global Islamism.
A few days back, Bush used the occasion of the 275th birthday of the first president, George Washington, to give the comparisons another shot.
From the Associated Press :
"Today, we're fighting a new war to defend our liberty and our people and our way of life," said Bush, standing in front of Washington's home and above a mostly frozen Potomac River.
"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."
Bush chose the national Presidents Day holiday to make his first visit as president to Mount Vernon. He and first lady Laura Bush helped lay a wreath at Washington's tomb, then the president gave a speech from a platform on the bowling green lawn of the estate.
"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. Yet George Washington's calm hand and determination kept the cause of independence and the principles of our Declaration alive...
"In the end, General Washington understood that the Revolutionary War was a test of wills, and his will was unbreakable," said Bush.
More from the speech :
"With the advantage of hindsight, it is easy to take George Washington's successes for granted and to assume that all those events were destined to unfold as they did. Well, the truth is far different.
"America's path to freedom was long and it was hard. And the outcome was really never certain. Honoring George Washington's life requires us to remember the many challenges that he overcame, and the fact that American history would have turned out very differently without his steady leadership.
"George Washington's long struggle for freedom has also inspired generations of Americans to stand for freedom in their own time.
"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. He once wrote, "My best wishes are irresistibly excited whensoever in any country I see an oppressed nation unfurl the banners of freedom."
So according to his speech, Bush sees himself as repeating the efforts of George Washington to free the oppressed, but unlike Washington, Bush is trying to do this on a worldwide scale, something Washington knew was impractical and impossible more than 200 years ago.
No wonder Bush talks about the 'War on Terror' being a struggle that will last generations.
Bush's Washington's Birthday Speech In Full