Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Bush's Sales Pitch

President Bush went on national TV last night to talk about Iraq. Facing an audience of about 750 largely supportive soldiers at Fort Bragg, NC, El Presidente tried to reprise his role as Willy Loman. He said that his "greatest responsibility is to protect American people" and repeated his oft-stated mantra that "this nation will not wait to be attacked."

I took notes during the speech, which was held on the first anniversary of our rather shabby handback of sovereignty. For those of you who don't recall it, L. Paul Bremer, our Viceroy, signed over the title to the country, then left for the airport as fast as he could. Almost as if he was afraid to stay there a minute longer than he had to.

Anyway ... back to Our Leader's speech. It was well-crafted, and (as he always is when he has a prepared statement to work from) he was articulate, even eloquent.

He mentioned 9/11 four times, and one of those times was to lash the war in Iraq to the mast of the larger war on terror. He also spoke of the war in Iraq as removing a source of instability - disregarding the fact that the country was stable before we invaded. He spoke of pursuing peace in Iraq on two fronts, political and military, and extolled the perceived effects of Operation Vicarious Manhood on the rest of the region.

As for the possibility of our withdrawal from Iraq, he said that "as Iraqis stand up we will stand down," that we will "stay as long as we are needed" based on the "sober judgement of our military leaders." Establishing a timetable for that withdrawal would send the wrong message, so he said.

He once again harked back to his father's generation, who destroyed not one, but two evil empires, at a cost in human life that would make Americans cringe in terror nowadays. Finally he called upon the country for patience, and made an appeal for people to enlist in what is becoming an increasingly unpopular military adventure.

My opinions?

I was unimpressed. I was unimpressed in 2002, I was unimpressed in 2003, I was unimpressed in 2004, and I am unimpressed now.

This war was started based on lies and faulty, manufactured information from unreliable sources and spread by shabby little people with private or political agendas. I said then that nothing good will come of it, and so far nothing good has (I will overlook the obvious pleasure of terrorist masterminds, who are enjoying the chance to hone their training and skills in Baghdad, Ramadi and Fallujah).

But Bush and his minions will still insist that we march off to war crying "Remember 9/11!" with the same venom and vigor with which we marched to war crying "Remember Pearl Harbor!" Just one thing, Georgie - we didn't invade Brazil in response to Pearl Harbor.

I have grown weary of World War Two analogies and 'parallels' being drawn by the right wing, their media catspaws and their supporters. American troops will always fight bravely, even when their leadership orders them to do stupid things.

In the movie The Princess Bride, one of the villains says that the greatest Classic Blunder is getting into a land war in Asia. Did anyone realize that Iraq is part of Asia?

So he did his salesman bit - it remains to see how many people fall for the pitch.


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