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Someone Tell the President the War Is Over


The New York Times
By FRANK RICH
Published: August 14, 2005

LIKE the Japanese soldier marooned on an island for years after V-J Day, President Bush may be the last person in the country to learn that for Americans, if not Iraqis, the war in Iraq is over. "We will stay the course," he insistently tells us from his Texas ranch. What do you mean we, white man?

A president can't stay the course when his own citizens (let alone his own allies) won't stay with him. The approval rate for Mr. Bush's handling of Iraq plunged to 34 percent in last weekend's Newsweek poll - a match for the 32 percent that approved L.B.J.'s handling of Vietnam in early March 1968. (The two presidents' overall approval ratings have also converged: 41 percent for Johnson then, 42 percent for Bush now.) On March 31, 1968, as L.B.J.'s ratings plummeted further, he announced he wouldn't seek re-election, commencing our long extrication from that quagmire.

But our current Texas president has even outdone his predecessor; Mr. Bush has lost not only the country but also his army. Neither bonuses nor fudged standards nor the faking of high school diplomas has solved the recruitment shortfall. Now Jake Tapper of ABC News reports that the armed forces are so eager for bodies they will flout "don't ask, don't tell" and hang on to gay soldiers who tell, even if they tell the press.

The president's cable cadre is in disarray as well. At Fox News Bill O'Reilly is trashing Donald Rumsfeld for his incompetence, and Ann Coulter is chiding Mr. O'Reilly for being a defeatist. In an emblematic gesture akin to waving a white flag, Robert Novak walked off a CNN set and possibly out of a job rather than answer questions about his role in smearing the man who helped expose the administration's prewar inflation of Saddam W.M.D.'s. (On this sinking ship, it's hard to know which rat to root for.)

As if the right-wing pundit crackup isn't unsettling enough, Mr. Bush's top war strategists, starting with Mr. Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers, have of late tried to rebrand the war in Iraq as what the defense secretary calls "a global struggle against violent extremism." A struggle is what you have with your landlord. When the war's ├╝ber-managers start using euphemisms for a conflict this lethal, it's a clear sign that the battle to keep the Iraq war afloat with the American public is lost.

That battle crashed past the tipping point this month in Ohio. There's historical symmetry in that. It was in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, 2002, that Mr. Bush gave the fateful address that sped Congressional ratification of the war just days later. The speech was a miasma of self-delusion, half-truths and hype. The president said that "we know that Iraq and Al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade," an exaggeration based on evidence that the Senate Intelligence Committee would later find far from conclusive. He said that Saddam "could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year" were he able to secure "an amount of highly enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball." Our own National Intelligence Estimate of Oct. 1 quoted State Department findings that claims of Iraqi pursuit of uranium in Africa were "highly dubious."

It was on these false premises - that Iraq was both a collaborator on 9/11 and about to inflict mushroom clouds on America - that honorable and brave young Americans were sent off to fight. Among them were the 19 marine reservists from a single suburban Cleveland battalion slaughtered in just three days at the start of this month. As they perished, another Ohio marine reservist who had served in Iraq came close to winning a Congressional election in southern Ohio. Paul Hackett, a Democrat who called the president a "chicken hawk," received 48 percent of the vote in exactly the kind of bedrock conservative Ohio district that decided the 2004 election for Mr. Bush.

These are the tea leaves that all Republicans, not just Chuck Hagel, are reading now. Newt Gingrich called the Hackett near-victory "a wake-up call." The resolutely pro-war New York Post editorial page begged Mr. Bush (to no avail) to "show some leadership" by showing up in Ohio to salute the fallen and their families. A Bush loyalist, Senator George Allen of Virginia, instructed the president to meet with Cindy Sheehan, the mother camping out in Crawford, as "a matter of courtesy and decency." Or, to translate his Washingtonese, as a matter of politics. Only someone as adrift from reality as Mr. Bush would need to be told that a vacationing president can't win a standoff with a grief-stricken parent commandeering TV cameras and the blogosphere 24/7.

The battle to keep the Iraq war afloat with the American public is lost.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/14/opinion/14rich.html

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Someone had better soon start focussing on Cheney's pimping for a war with Iran. If Bush is forced out before getting rid of that Halliburton shill (or even if he isn't) all the good work on the Iraq debacle may go for nothing. Bush may have taken the U.S. inot a "quagmire", but Cheney is determined to start WW3 -- and he will if succeeds in getting nukes dropped on Iran byt the U.S. or by its Israeli "allies".

MORE HERE

, but did we have to get such an evil idiot too? So now the pro-life president wants gays to volunteer to die? I guess oil and power is the NEW "family value".

Airforce to prepare for an invasion into Iran. We are already street-bombing and trying to provoke a response with flyover drones and sabre rattling rhetoric which may turn out to be more than just words.

Never forget that Cheney is PNAC and his life's dream is to conquer the world. I admire what Cindy is doing and it seems to be drawing the attention and support of the mainstream media and citizen who had been bush supporters but who are beginning to see the devastation of our young people and enough people are disgusted by the torture photos and took a while to get over the denial that the US government would have sexually perverse torture and serial killer waterboarding and the sodimizing and rape of children.

The 100 children at Abu Ghraib who the Red Cross knew about over a year ago and still has not been able to see and interview them must also be a constant refrain. I have read that Cheney started negotiations for Gitmo and a hundred other Concentration Camps with Haliburton in 2000 BEFORE 911 and that even US ships are being used as torture chambers.

We must help the ACLU and CCR-NY.com Constitutional Center for Rights in trying to help the victims of this sick continuation of the MK-ULTRA mind control program. The 1977 Senate Hearings on MK-ULTRA are online and www.raven1.net has witness by the victims of this evil CIA program and the psychiatrists who believe them including Dr. Hammond's lecture before the American Psychiatric Association on the very similar tortures committed on tens of thousands of Americans esp. children over the past 50 years.

A US mayor who recently visited Gitmo said it looked to her like a mind-control program. Thedoodabides.com has a page Ethical Biscuits with links to the ethics committees of attorneys, psychologists and psychiatrists. Please write and sign petitions to stop this satanic bondage, torture and murder even on Iraqi children by this sick Regime.

2 wars already started that are ongoing, continuing at a terrible price---inhumanity paid for by an uncontrollable greed for oil. Now a 3rd in the making? If this is truly where the administration's policies are leading us, I must believe Bush has passed the point of obsession and delusions of grandeur and is now mentally unfit to be our commander in chief, along with Cheney. Who will make them stand down? At this point in our history, is this as good as it gets? If corruption goes so far down (or up) the ladder, where do the next leaders come from who truly believe in global peace with justice and have a plan to move forward with achieving it?
Carole

I watched Joe Biden on Meet the Press this morning. He still says we need to stay in Iraq. I agree with his logic. He says that if we leave now, we will be walking away from a terrorist training ground that we created. The problem with that logic is that we have an incompetent White House. They can't do anything right. The training in Iraq is a mess. The reconstruction is a mess. The political arena is a mess. The only thing in control, as far as I can see, is the insurgency. The administration needs to be impeached TODAY. If we are going to stay in Iraq somebody else needs to be in control. If the Bush White House is in control then we need to leave now. The problem with that logic is, if we leave now we will be leaving a prime location for a terrorist training camp that we created.

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