Bush Republicans may be a casualty of Iraq War
Friday, November 25, 20052 Comments
It all started with the Bushites spreading the lie that Iraq was somehow responsible for the attacks of September 11, 2001 (expressed repeated in words by administration officials in song by jingoistic country singer Toby Keith in the atrocious song “Have You Forgotten?”). Despite the fact that the 9/11 terrorists were not from Iraq and had no ties to Saddam Hussein, the first target that the White House thought of was Iraq. Apparently, it had “better targets” – and, after all, Saddam Hussein “tried to kill [Bush’s] daddy”.
The lies have continued unabated since then, with one lie begetting the next one. They lied about the necessity of suspending civil liberties at home (just who is it that “hates our freedom”?) and they lied about how they treated prisoners abroad (“We don’t torture people,” said Bush earlier this month). They lied about Iraq’s imaginary weapons of mass destruction (“We know where they are,” bragged Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in 2003) and they lied about what weapons they were using in the invasion of Iraq (they’ve finally admitted that they used white phosphorus to incinerate human flesh in Fallujah). They lied about George Bush’s military service record and they lied about John Kerry’s service record. They seem almost pathologically incapable of telling the truth.
When the lies were questioned, those who did the questioning were smeared as traitors or worse. In the most notable instance, Valerie Plame was deliberately “outed” as a covert CIA agent, in order to get back at her husband former Ambassador Joseph Wilson (who had investigated the alleged evidence of Iraqi malfeasance, concluded that it was fake, and worst of all, refused to shut up about it). Evidence points to the top aides to President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney – and possibly even Cheney himself – as the culprits in this action.
They’ve also smeared grieving mother Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey died in Iraq, as both unpatriotic and a bad mother. Their problem is that they have lost the support of the majority (and it’s a growing majority) of the American public and they can’t possibly denounce the entire American public. Their only fallback is to continue to pretend that their lies are the truth (earlier this week, Cheney trotted out the “Iraq was behind 9/11” classic again and also resurrected the lie that the government had relied on “best intelligence available” in invading Iraq) and to continue to pretend that anyone who speaks out against them is either “weak on terrorism” or simply misguided.
The trends in public opinion have changed so significantly that even the weak-willed Democratic Party has started to find the courage to speak out (including prominent party “hawks” like Pennsylvania Representative and former Marine John Murtha, who called last week for an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq). Another former soldier, Paul Hackett, very nearly won a safe-Republican seat in Congress earlier this year in a campaign that was highlighted by his repeated references to Bush as “a chicken hawk”. Hackett is now in the running for a seat in the U.S. Senate and is attracting a groundswell of support. The Democrats need to continue to speak out and speak out strongly against both the war and the lies that led to it. If they don’t do that, they are denying the American people the opportunity to vote for a real alternative.
As filmmaker, writer and conspiracy theorist Michael Moore (accurately calling himself a “loyal representative from the majority”) noted last week:
“We, the people -- that's the majority of the people -- share these majority opinions:
1. Going to war was a mistake -- a big mistake.
2. You and your administration misled us into this war.
3. We want the war ended and our troops brought home.
4. We don't trust you.
“Now, I know this is a bitter pill to swallow. Iraq was going to be your great legacy. Now, it's just your legacy. It didn't have to end up this way. This week, when Republicans and conservative Democrats started jumping ship, you lashed out at them. You thought the most damning thing you could say to them was that they were "endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party." I mean, is that the best you can do to persuade them to stick with you – compare them to me? You gotta come up with a better villain. For heaven's sakes, you had a hundred-plus million other Americans who think the same way I do – and you could have picked on any one of them!”