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Preserving support for war takes more than a clever name

The Vanguard (University of South Alabama)
Melissa Webster
Staff Writer
August 31, 2005

Recently, Bush, Inc. announced the slogan "War on Terror" would be abandoned in favor of the new slogan "The Struggle Against Violent Extremism." This was an exciting new marketing opportunity for Bush to put a new face on an old and failing product.

Alarmed the American public was growing weary and dissatisfied with the progress of the war - and Bush, Inc. in general - and faced with a continued drop in approval ratings, the Bush PR team decided a new slogan would breathe life into a dying campaign.

In an effort to divert attention away from the Iraq fiasco and give this campaign a broader consumer-friendly persona, Bush, Inc. envisioned a public supportive of the long-term implications.

Unfortunately, after several weeks of working to convince the American public that this new concept is bigger, better, and bolder, it appears people are smarter than this administration has ever given them credit for.

With American soldiers dying daily, allies gradually withdrawing from the fight and no end in sight, it seems the Bushies are going to need more than a snazzy new slogan to maintain or gain public support.

What will they do? Marketing tricks, half-truths and outright lies have worked in the past - they even had their own cable news channel to misinform the public and push their agenda.

"Where did it all go wrong?" they ask, as Bush, Inc. execs bang their heads together to come up with a marketing approach that might work.

Where did it all go wrong? Oh let me count the ways...

Maybe it had something to do with Bush blazing in on a fighter jet and landing on the deck of the US Navy aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln and declaring in all his arrogant glory, "Mission Accomplished," only to still be in Iraq years later hip deep in suicide bombers.

Or it could have started with the State of the Union Address. Those infamous 16 words about Saddam Hussein and Nigeria and weapons of mass destruction, and the former ambassador who had the nerve to discredit them.

Emboldened with the ability to get out of stickier spots than this, the Bushies put extreme marketing guru Karl Rove into offensive action, subsequently deciding the best way to deter a detractor was to "out" said detractor's wife as a CIA operative. This worked for a while, and got Bush, Inc. through to a second term.

Then there was the Bushies' insistence that Saddam Hussein was connected to 9/11, a claim that was retracted in the second term while still claiming he was an imminent threat to civilization as we know it, but finally admitting he had no weapons of mass destruction.

Thus began the new strategy: that great American humanitarian effort to free the Iraqi people from a heartless dictator and give them peace and democracy, while in reality increasing the number of terrorists in what was once a terror-free area.

And let's not forget the words of Rumsfeld himself when he said the insurgency was in its last throes, only to tell us later it could go on indefinitely, while in the same interview stating the war was the last resort.

Though, thanks to the Downing Street Memo and a few key players, it had already been revealed intelligence was manipulated to justify the war.

And then it circles back to Karl Rove and Valerie Plame, the CIA operative who is, thanks to Rove, no longer undercover. Unable to hide behind anonymous source protection, he's left to curse the past that has come back to bite him in the butt.

While the investigation into the CIA leak was ongoing, Bush, Inc. confidently told the press anyone in this administration found to be responsible for leaking her name would be fired, only to retract the statement when it was discovered the great Karl Rove was actually the culprit, after and forevermore to say anyone in this administration would be fired only if what they did was found to actually be illegal.

With Rove wallowing in his own mess, Bush, Inc. is left grappling with increased domestic unrest and a severe case of lack of credibility.

And so begins the unraveling...

The American public is facing record high gas prices, while there is no shortage of oil, high interest rates, high inflation, higher medical costs, higher insurance costs (for those of us who can actually afford insurance), higher prescription costs, and no increase in wages.

Despite this, Bush, Inc. tells us we must make sacrifices for the greater good while taking yet another vacation to bike ride in the countryside with Lance Armstrong in tow.

And to twist the knife just a little further, Bush, Inc. introduced us to CAFTA, the ever-popular trade agreement most Americans associate with losing their jobs to foreign markets or taking jobs below their qualifications and pay scale.

Meanwhile billions of dollars are going into this bottomless pit called the "Iraq War" ... oh wait I mean, the "War on Terror" ... no I'm sorry, my mistake, "The Struggle Against Violent Extremism."




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