As President George W. Bush prepares to announce a “surge” of perhaps as many as 20,000 more troops in Iraq, a history lesson might be in order.

From George Washington through U. S. Grant and in recent years from Harry Truman to President Bush I, active duty military service was a common denominator of our country’s presidents. Even Lyndon B. Johnson and Ronald Reagan, both of whom had by most accounts light duty, served during a time of war. It was not until Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, and Dick Cheney that active duty military service was not the standard as evidenced by their not serving in Vietnam.

Perhaps even more important, however, was the concept of the children of our nation’s leaders serving when troops were activated. Whether it was Franklin Roosevelt, Ambassador Joseph Kennedy, General Dwight Eisenhower, or Senator Al Gore Sr., all had sons who served during time of war. In fact, a classic example of World War II service was former President George Herbert Walker Bush who was the offspring of Wall Street businessman who became United State Senator Prescott Bush.

Modern day political leaders, who have both served and who have sons in the military are Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and James Webb (D-Virginia).

Now that the Iraq war has become so controversial because of the acknowledgment of the lack of weapons of mass destruction and no connection with Al Qaeda, if President Bush is going to commit more Americans to this war, his family should follow his grandfather’s example and ask the new generation to serve.

Image what it would do for the legitimacy of the war and to restore faith in our system if President Bush held a news conference and announced that his young daughters would join those young women, all too often from blue collar families, who are serving in Iraq.

If the concept of women in the military in Iraq is not acceptable to the President, then he could be joined by his nephew, George P. Bush (the son of Florida Governor Jeb Bush), to announce that this new Bush generation was following in the steps of his grandfather, George Herbert Walker Bush, by joining the active duty military and volunteering for Iraq.

Whether or not a “surge” is the right move for Iraq remains to be seen; however, if President Bush wants to put more troops in Iraq, he should consider leading with his own family’s example.