Thursday, August 31, 2006

Would you buy a used war from this man?

This is the lead of a WaPo story: “President Bush and his surrogates are launching a new campaign intended to rebuild support for the war in Iraq by accusing the opposition of aiming to appease terrorists and cut off funding for troops on the battlefield”. Actually, that’s about silencing the opponents of the war, which is very much not the same thing as “rebuilding support” for it. There is simply no way to rebuild support for this war. There may be some inattentive people who still believe that the war is transforming the Middle East in a, you know, good way, or that we are spreading, as Bush phrases it, “the peace,” but their number is not going to increase.

Lacking a convincing positive rationale, they’re pushing the fear button (going to the fear well? Metaphors, people, I need metaphors!), but I don’t think most Americans see a strong connection between Iraq and the threat of terrorism in the US or subscribe to the Bushite assertion that, as Frank Rich put it, “If we leave the country that had nothing to do with 9/11, then 9/11 will happen again.” I’m especially amazed that the remarkably silly phrase, that if we leave Iraq, the terrorists will “follow us home,” which I made fun of when the alliterative Peter Pace first uttered it, has actually been adopted by Bush.

The other line I’ve been hearing over and over the last two weeks is that if Iraq falls to the “terrorists,” they’ll have access to all that oil. And that’s our oil, dammit!

Given the collapse in the credibility of so much of the rhetoric about Iraq, I’m not sure what language they’d use to justify a pre-emptive war against Iran. I think someone asserting “We’ll be greeted as liberators” would be greeted with guffaws.

By the way, that WaPo story more or less redeemed itself after that crappy opening:
Pressed to support these allegations, the White House yesterday could cite no major Democrat who has proposed cutting off funds or suggested that withdrawing from Iraq would persuade terrorists to leave Americans alone.

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