October 06, 2005

War in Iraq = War on Terrorism = Fighting the International Communist Conspiracy.

You can always tell how Dubya's doing politically by the number of press conferences and speeches that he gives. If all the nationa sees of the prez is well-engineered photo ops, you know things are doing well. But if Dubya is subjecting himself to press scrutiny or his administation is leaning on the media to give live coverage to 'important presidential messages', our Dear Leader's fortunes must be sagging.

Given the administration's disastrous handling of the Gulf coast hurricanes and the increasingly obvious collapse of its policies in Iraq [not to mention the multiple indictments of Tom DeLay and the apparent impending indictement of Karl Rove], we've been seeing a lot of Dubya lately. And the prez's speech on terrorism today clearly indicates that Dubya's handlers think he's in a whole heap of trouble.

Does he have enough flags?

Dubya getting ready to wrap himself in one of the flags. [Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

While remarks earlier in the week by VP Dick Cheney and chief White House press flak Scott McClellan had led us to expect that Dubya would attempt to blame the war on terror on the failures of previous presidents, he only hit the topic in passing, saying that terrorists expect the US to 'repeat the sad history of Beirut in 1983, and Mogadishu in 1993 -- only this time on a larger scale, with greater consequences.' This remark, of course, ignores the fact that these 'failures' had little to do with fighting terror: In both cases, the US intervened in ongoing civil wars. But we're used to this administration's convenient memory lapses and casual twisting of historical fact, aren't we?

The big news today is that Dubya's speech unveiled his latest justification for the invasion of Iraq. Gone is the threat to the world posed by Saddam Hussein's WMDs. Gone is liberating the Iraqi people. Gone is bringing freedom to the Muslim world.

No, now the US is engaged in the sacred mission of fighting an international terrorist conspiracy that resembles nothing more than than an old and familiar GOP bogeyman: Communism. This terrorist conspiracy is attempting to take over the world, and if they aren't stopped in Iraq, the US will be facing a terrorist state stretching from Spain to Indonesia. If they aren't stopped in Vietnam Iraq, it won't be long until the terrorist sampans start arriving at the US coasts.

Check out these speech excerpts:

The murderous ideology of the Islamic radicals is the great challenge of our new century. Yet, in many ways, this fight resembles the struggle against communism in the last century. Like the ideology of communism, Islamic radicalism is elitist, led by a self-appointed vanguard that presumes to speak for the Muslim masses....

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy teaches that innocent individuals can be sacrificed to serve a political vision. And this explains their cold-blooded contempt for human life....We have seen this kind of shameless cruelty before, in the heartless zealotry that led to the gulags, and the Cultural Revolution, and the killing fields....

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy pursues totalitarian aims. Its leaders pretend to be an aggrieved party, representing the powerless against imperial enemies. In truth they have endless ambitions of imperial domination, and they wish to make everyone powerless except themselves....

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy is dismissive of free peoples, claiming that men and women who live in liberty are weak and decadent....

And Islamic radicalism, like the ideology of communism, contains inherent contradictions that doom it to failure. By fearing freedom — by distrusting human creativity, and punishing change, and limiting the contributions of half the population — this ideology undermines the very qualities that make human progress possible, and human societies successful. The only thing modern about the militants' vision is the weapons they want to use against us....

If that's not Cold War rhetoric there, we don't know what is.

And the total bankruptcy of this administration's 'war on terroism' and war in Iraq is made glaringly evident by the fact that Dubya and his handlers have decided that the only way to get the people of the US to support these policies is by conjuring up the dead ghost of the International Communist Conspiracy.

We'd write more on this, but we need to go make sure that there aren't any terrorists hiding under our bed.

More: Think Progress has a nice selection of speech quotes showing how Dubya used the speech to play the 'fear card.' You might remember that he used that card successfully against John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign. Like we said above, the administration is running scared.

Posted by Magpie at October 6, 2005 12:44 PM | War on Terrorism | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |

Do you actually disagree with Dubya's description of Radical Islam? It seems pretty accurate to me. You may doubt his intentions in making the points, and you may hate his war in Iraq, and you may hate him personally, but that does not change that Radical Islam is a misogynistic, oligarchical, extremist faith. Oh wait, you are probably one of the apologists who insists that the only reason terrorism exists is because of the US. If we had only sent more money to them, and not supported Israel all these years, then they wouldn't have become misogynistic extremists. Yeah right.

Posted by: Bainbridge_Washington at October 6, 2005 03:01 PM


Of course Bush's description of radical Islam is accurate. But that's not the point. Here are some of the points:

Bush's understanding of Christianity is also oligarchical, misogynistic, and extremist. This is the man who wants the biblical account of creation to be taught in public schools alongside the theory of evolution. This is the man who does everything he can to please the religious conservatives who would like to turn the U.S. into a paradise for Christian mullahs.

Bush's approach to fighting terrorism is just as extremist, just as rigid and inflexible, and just as violent as radical Islam is. And although no one I know would say that the ONLY reason terrorism exists is because of the U.S. (we don't go in for such simplistic, one-cause statements), U.S. policy definitely has a lot to do with the rise of terrorism over the last 30 years. No, make that 50-plus years. We have to start counting from 1953.

Every single accusation Bush made against Islamic terrorists in today's speech could be reasonably made against Bush, with regard to his policies since 9/11. He invaded Iraq aggressively, without provocation. Iraq had no ties to 9/11 or Al Qaeda. The war and occupation have caused the deaths of almost 2,000 Americans, the permanent maiming of thousands of others, and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. The occupation is what led to the insurgency. Of that there is no doubt. Iraq would not be the central front if Bush had not made it the central front.

Most Iraqis HATE the occupation, loathe and resent the Americans, and feel that the only reason the U.S. is there is O-I-L. I would add, the extremely strategic geopolitics, but that said they are absolutely right. The U.S. is not there to bring freedom and democracy to Iraqis, and Iraq has not been liberated. They have simply exchanged one tyranny for another; and, as many Iraqis told Anthony Shadid in his book, Night Draws Near, at least Saddam was Iraqi.

There is no way to experience a foreign occupying power as anything but oppressive. You would if the tables were turned, and so do Iraqis. Americans can go anywhere they want in Iraq; Iraqis can't. They can order Iraqis around and kill them if they don't obey. They can (and do) break into Iraqi homes and search the bodies of all the occupants, including women. The women are physically searched, and are often not given time to put on the hajib (head scarf) and appropriate Islamic dress. How do you THINK Iraqis feel about people who act that way? Do you think they view people who act that way as liberators? WRONG.

Americans are building a five-star hotel in the Green Zone and have all the electricity and fresh water they need, while Iraqis are jobless and have to live without electricity, without clean water, and in constant fear for their lives. What is the difference between the five-star hotel and Saddam's palaces? Those palaces belong to America now.

Posted by: Kathy at October 6, 2005 05:36 PM

I may not disagree with many of your statements. But I will make two very important points:

1) The US has not "caused" terrorism to happen. Causation implies a lack of free will, and just as with individuals, nations have free will. To say that America caused terrorism is inaccurate. Nations always have a choice, and the radical Muslim extremists, in large part due to their own violent and tribal background, are prone to react to political events violently. Violence begets violence...Americans are killed and it stirs the sense of Patriotism (for many Americans, this simply means Kick Ass USA!). We respond with violence, and begin a vicious circle. There are choices on both sides...there is no causation. I will agree that our lack of understanding of their cultural and religious background has caused the USA to act in a manner with predictable results.

2) The funniest thing about the anti-Bush movement is how he is attributed with almost Demonic powers. All of the hatred, disgust, and frustration over world events is focused on a single man. I frankly don't get it. If it was not Bush, it would be Kerry standing on the podium justifying the war in his words. If it wasn't Kerry it would be someone else. Republican, Democrat, there is very little difference in the majority position of the two parties, and the fringe players on both sides are marginalized. There is a great quote in Thomas Friedman's book "From Beirut to Jerusalem" in which he talks about the differences between their two political parties, which I think is particularly relevenat to America today..."In America, advertising is the most hysterical and competitive between products that are virtually the same, such as dog food, breakfast cereal or soda. The same applies to Labor and Likud (Democrat and Republican). They each pointed to their written platforms and said, 'Look how different we are from them,' but in dialy life they were each selling the same dog food."
That is why I don't get the hatred of Bush. He just represents the Government. Does anyone really believe that things will change much once he is gone? The dog food might be packaged a little different, but it will still be dog food. Wasting time and energy hating a man, and not spending that time and energy identifying causes and solutions is misguided at best.

Posted by: Bainbridge at October 19, 2005 12:04 PM