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The Progressive

Bush Plays Superhero in Iraq

Matthew Rothschild

Bush just raised the stakes again in Iraq.

In his defiant speech Wednesday morning, he cast the battle in Iraq in the starkest terms yet. It's a battle, he said, against "pure evil."

Bush now says the war in Iraq is against "pure evil." But you don't vanquish evil, unless you're a superhero, which Bush imagines himself to be.

On cue, he then dragged on stage his favorite prop, 9/11, adding: "That evil is the same evil that inspired and rejoiced in the attack of 2001. And that evil must be defeated so we don't face it here again."

This language returns Bush to his most messianic, as when, after 9/11, he vowed to "rid the world of evil."

This is an impossible task, surely, and for Bush to assign it to himself is not only deluded, it's disastrous.

Especially in the context of Iraq.

For if the battle in Iraq is against "pure evil," the United States can never leave there until "pure evil" is vanquished.

But you don't vanquish evil, unless you're a superhero, which Bush imagines himself to be.

"See, we're going after killers," Bush said, and it doesn't matter whether they are Shiites or Sunnis. "Murderers are murderers," he said.

The civil war in Iraq is not some comic book, though. And rather than even acknowledge, as the Pentagon belatedly has done, that the situation there is indeed a civil war, Bush vaulted over that term in favor of the Big E.

By defining the situation in Iraq in such simplistic terms, Bush misconstrues the dynamics on the ground and consigns our troops to an endless quest.

Even he seemed to signal that it's going to go on for quite a while, as he stressed that the Baghdad escalation is just the "opening salvo in a sustained effort."

But it's unsustainable, and unwinnable.

And no more U.S. troops, no more Iraqi civilians, should be killed or wounded because of Bush's superhero fantasies.

© 2007 The Progressive

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