Did you catch Bush’s speech to the American Legion on Thursday?
It was another warm-up to the Iran War, with Bush rehearsing some of the same old lines he once used to whip up a frenzy over Iraq.
Just as he once called Iraq a “grave threat,” he said in Salt Lake City that “the world now faces a grave threat from the radical regime in Iran.”
My favorite line of the whole speech was this: “Governments accountable to the voters focus on building roads and schools—not weapons of mass destruction.” If that’s true, Bush ought to start unilaterally disarming our 10,000 nuclear weapons, or simply confirm that our government is not accountable to the voters.Just as he once fused Al Qaeda and Iraq, so he is fusing Al Qaeda and Iran.
Said Bush: “The Iranian regime arms, funds, and advises Hezbollah, which has killed more Americans than any terrorist network except Al Qaeda.”
Your Pavlovian reaction to Al Qaeda is still supposed to make you salivate for war against whichever country Bush links it it to in a single sentence.
Just as he once denounced Iraq for “sponsoring terrorists,” so he now does with Iran.
Just as he once denounced Iraq for denying “basic human rights to millions of its people,” so he now does with Iran.
Just as he once denounced Iraq for pursuing weapons of mass destruction, phantom as they were, so he now decries Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
And just as he once said it was time for Iraq to make a choice, when he himself had already chosen war, so he now says, “It is time for Iran to make a choice.”
I have no doubt whatsoever about Bush’s intentions.
But what struck me most about Bush’s speech was not his stale propaganda but a fresh couple of whoppers.
First, as far as securing Baghdad goes, he said, “The initial results are encouraging.” Not exactly a good time to be crowing about that. The very same day, coordinated bombings in Baghdad were killing at least sixty-four people. And the day after Bush’s speech, the Pentagon released a report saying that “conditions that could lead to civil war exist in Iraq, specifically in and around Baghdad.” The report added that the country is facing “mutually reinforcing cycles of sectarian strife.”
By the way, you know what Bush cited as far as “encouraging” evidence? The following highly dubious testimonial from an anonymous Sunni man in the street. “According to one military report,” Bush said, “a Sunni man in a diverse Baghdad neighborhood said this about the Shia soldiers on patrol: ‘Their image has changed. Now you feel they’re there to protect you.’ ” Five bucks that quote is made up.
But my favorite line of the whole speech was this: “Governments accountable to the voters focus on building roads and schools—not weapons of mass destruction.” If that’s true, Bush ought to start unilaterally disarming our 10,000 nuclear weapons, or simply confirm that our government is not accountable to the voters.
Matthew Rothschild has been with The Progressive since 1983. His McCarthyism Watch web column has chronicled more than 150 incidents of repression since 9/11.
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