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By davidswanson - Posted on 31 August 2005
By Larry C. Johnson
Does George Bush hum Sam Cooke’s lyrics from “Wonderful World
Our leaders are stuck in a stump speech that only they believe. Continuing to spew the same, tired rhetoric of "STAY THE COURSE" and "TAKE THE FIGHT TO THE ENEMY", (yesterday expanded to liken the war in Iraq to WWII) they are so focused on and surrounded by their fantasy, that the truth eludes them. Indeed, they are blinded by their own delusions of glory. The truth? We now seem to be the rogue nation that Bush has so often demonized as the type of enemy our brave soldiers must fight around the globe to insure our safety at home. In taking the fight "to the enemy", we are supposedly spared because another country suffers the physical devastation wrought by war and, except for our warriors and their loved ones, our nation goes about daily life as if things were "normal". In over and over again saying that we in America are safer because we are fighting these evil-doers abroad, this administration has missed the very point that drives our foes.........they want us OUT of their land. We are no longer an occupying force in their midst, but have become the "problem" . Democracy's noble goals can only be claimed by those who define them as their own. When George Bush was elected to the presidency, he had never travelled to Europe or the Middle East and lacked foreign policy experience. When he decided (way before he revealed his plans) to "invade" Iraq, he was ignorant about their extremely complex culture and failed to estimate the reactions of people who over hundreds of years have developed the most intricate matrix of tribal loyalties and feuds. Only recently have they benefitted from the oil wealth coming from the earth beneath them - prized by nations around the globe. Last week I heard an American military officer, distinguished by 4 stars on each shoulder board, make the statement that we face an intelligent enemy in Iraq. How condescending, a true revelation of the failed estimation of tthe determination and skills of those who have now joined forces in ever increasing numbers and ferocity to do everything they can to thwart the United States of America and rid their land of our occupation. All invaders have an ulterior motive, usually an expanse of territory or power. Despite eschewing imperialism, we maintain military bases around the globe, some still useful remnants of the cold war and some serving "other" needs - like offshore prison camps for "detainees". Using words like "pre-emptive strike", "grave threat", "mushroom cloud", "on their land not ours", George Bush sent most of our working military force - stretched to the hilt with little hope of reinforcement - abroad to a foreign war. Now he is trying to once again defend it, this time by likening it to WWII. While Saddam Hussein may have been a tyrant and murderer of his people, his efforts to overrun other countries were thwarted in Kuwait, and now we know that the WMD's could not be found - even under the podium at the press club dinner. Despite the lack of adequate protection for the safety of our brave soldiers in the face of extreme danger, their equipment is extremely sophisticated. Tanks and copters are equipped with the latest GPS and computer aided systems so that each tank, soldier, and aircraft can know the whereabouts of all others, and their leaders, gathered around rooms full of glowing computer screens, can direct action from afar. All this equipment and personnel to do what????? Find the WMD? While Bush tried to make that a joke, it certainly isn't. Create a democratic Iraq as a role model for the Middle East? Not looking very promising there either. Secure Oil so that Americans don't have to squeeze to conserve? Well, that sure isn't happening......and never a mention of the word "conservation". Insure that those who gave their lives did so for a NOBLE CAUSE? 66% of Americans want to know what that NOBLE CASUSE is. The latest reason given is that more must die to honor those who are already dead. No chance for that to take hold to garner flagging support among war-weary Americans. In trying to boost support by likening the Iraq War to WWII, Bush missed the point again - that most Americans now see it more like the quagmire of Vietnam than the bold and noble involvement in WWII.
All these issues are distressing the American public. However, Dick Cheney and George Bush interrupted their vacations to run out to the media-mikes to proclaim........we WILL stay the course in Iraq. No matter what you see on TV, or read in the papers, or hear from returning veterans, we ARE going to prevail in Iraq. We ARE winning the war. We HAVE to win......because we will be safer when we do.....because we are RIGHT........ Babel, Babel, Babel, Burble, Burble, Burble, spewing the same lies, conveniently to veteran's organizations and carefully vetted groups........we HAVE to take it to them or we'll have to fight it here in America. Well, George...........Americans don't like this idea of ruining other nations so that we can be safer here at home - especially when we're NOT safer here at home and we have to pay for fixing their demolished country. Especially, we don't like American families getting heart-breaking knocks on their doors or having to uproot lives to care for wounded loved ones who face life with disabilities and pain beyond comprehension.
As we seek to dictate how others live in their land and within their religions, we have become the dangerous nation we most dread. We have the weapons we dread others having. Our troops - nobly doing their "duty" with bravery and courage - are deployed to huge American military bases in the midst of foreign nations. We boldly threaten that we will pre-emptively strike whoever challenges our security - the definition of which constantly shifts. In 4 years we have lost the good will of most of the globe. We have made a mockery of our ideals. We have created a more unstable world and left hopes for peace dangling from bombed out buses, trains, and cars. Our president hid in his hell-hole in Texas, vacating........while grieving mothers of soldiers killed and gone forever from their lives and others terrified of loosing theirs in battle plead for truth......justification they and America can believe in for why this war goes on and on without an end we can see or even define.
But the truth is leaking out, a tipping point has already occurred. While Bush was cutting brush and biking, Americans decided to start speaking their truth. Certainly there is the familiar blue and red divide, and tempers flare and allegiances hold. But slowly, slowly American voices are getting louder individually, and now joining in chorus to state a determination that our government has led us down a mistaken path. The cry is building to a shriek that honest answers be provided as to how and why and especially WHEN the decision was made to invade Iraq in war. This noise will become deafening in our nation's capital in Sept. when people find their way, driven by conscience and hope and determination, to be part of a movement for peace. Students around the nation, led by courageous young leaders, are poised to make their stand for peace. Americans want peace. It is that simple. This nation feels the stain on our honor imposed by George Bush and his mistaken advisors. If that means admitting a mistake, admitting defeat, admitting that our army is (once again) not a match for a passionate insurgency, we are willing to pay those consequences. Because in the long run our nation will be stronger and the world a better place if we pursue peace instead of war.
Our enemy has been very specific. They want us out of their land. That means our troops, our bases, our dominance. The Iraqis cling to our "security", but it becomes less and less successful and causes more and more terror. We tried to define their government, principles, values, human rights, etc., but they want to define their own. This complex picture is greatly compounded by American need for oil to fuel our economy - and there are no easy answers, but we will not be able to dictate the outcome - that much has become clear. All our war machinery will not prevail against them, no matter how much our leaders want to believe otherwise.
The world is more complex than the thinking of our administration. True hope for peace resides in the United Nations - the democracy of nations. That is where we should be placing our efforts - not in trying to once again dominate outcomes, but to be a participant among disparate nations. We have failed in Iraq because we turned our back on that noble institution when most other nations refused to join our fight. That was our first mistake. There has been a continuous string of mistakes since then, including the disastrous choice of John Bolton for our UN Ambassador, against the will of the American public who he is to represent. Unfortunately, George Bush, the President of the United States of America, will not acknowledge any of them - can not even think of any. Americans don't want to be citizens of a Rogue Nation, but we are being led down that path, and only we, the people, can change that. We must restore our international good will and use our fragile position of leadership to promote peace and tolerance. Certainly we should put an equal amount of effort into making peace on earth as we do war.
Barbara Carr, New Harbor, Maine
Dear Barbara Carr,
Your piece is extremely perceptive and moving. This website is a wonderful resource and opportunity for all Americans of good will to come together and express our love for peace, justice and true freedom.
You have covered a myriad of points about the Bush administration and its disdain for the American people and the truth. We all must continue to strive to produce more and more positive momentum for this movement to expose the truth about the Bush administration.
The more good Americans such as yourself who are willing to express themselves, the sooner the task or restoring America to its true greatness will take place.
The War on Terror is Like WW II Except. . . . that this time America is playing the nazis.
Outstanding post, Barbara.
One small point - I'm not sure it is fair to claim America's involvement in WWII was "bold and noble". Despite Europe begging America to get involved your nation sat on its hands for years - only taking action once its own interests were attacked.
Anyway, let's not quibble. In all important respects yours is a fine and insightful post. And, indeed, this entire fiasco looks much more like Nam than WWII.
Certainly, as local opinion polls continue to show, there is no longer an ounce of good will towards America in my part of the world. Not that much existed to begin with. Sadly, decades of misguided international and nuclear policies have long made it plain that America is a bully of the highest order.
Questions: What kind of insect goes on a five week vacation whilst thousands are dying in an illegal war he started on false pretences? How can such a wretch imagine himself fit for office (or, for that matter, fit for life)? Why have the American people tolerated this? Do most simply not care what the world thinks of them? Do they not recognise that they (and we) are all members of an international community? Guess not. How sad.
Simon, New Zealand
I don't think that's quite fair, Simon. I agree that the U.S. didn't actually declare war until Japan attacked and then Germany declared war as well. But there was a lot going on "under cover of darkness" amongst the U.S., Britain and Canada long before that. Anyhow, as you say, it's hardly worth quibbling about in the current context.
I was surprised at your "next door neighbours", the Aussies, going along with this U.S.-U.K. mess. I would have thought that they'd have learned something by now about imperial ambitions.
I think you’ll find that the vast majority of Australians have always been opposed to their country being dragged into the Bush-Blair party. It really is John Howard alone who fawns over Emperor Bush – no doubt in the hope that a free trade agreement will be his reward.
The situation in Australia is much the same as in Britain where, because the economy has performed strongly and people consider their personal finances to be somewhat improved, they return the incumbent to power – albeit with a greatly reduced majority and much distain.
In short, the majority of citizens on both sides of the Tasman have consistently and loudly voiced their loathing of the American administration.
New Zealand declined to become involved in Iraq because we noted that Hans Blix was pleading that the weapons inspectors be allowed a couple more weeks to continue their work. We watched Bush carefully and, even from this distance, smelled a rat.
I knew there was considerable opposition amongst Australians, but I wasn't aware of its being a majority position. It must result in some pretty hot times for Howard in parliament.
How do you Kiwis manage to get your government to follow the will of the people? It seems to be a rare acccomplishment these days.
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