Thursday, July 05, 2007

Iraq War Like American Revolutionary War, Says Bush

For the third year in a row, President Bush has tried to draw parallels between American forces fighting in Iraq, and the American War of Independence that ended British rule over the then New World colonies.

As with previous years, the spin failed to connect with most Americans, hundreds of whom were openly hostile on radio talk back and online news comment boards about Bush's speech, and took offense at such a rationale for American troops to stay fighting such a deeply unpopular war :

Reading aloud from an article about the first Fourth of July celebration, in Philadelphia in 1777, and its “grand exhibition of fireworks,” Mr. Bush told the audience of Air National Guard members and their families at the base here, “Our first Independence Day celebration took place in a midst of a war — a bloody and difficult struggle that would not end for six more years before America finally secured her freedom.”

Addressing National Guard members with the 167th Airlift Wing who were gathered in a cavernous airplane hangar here, he said, “Like those early patriots, you’re fighting a new and unprecedented war — pledging your lives and honor to defend our freedom and way of life.”

After nearly six years of war, beginning with the war in Afghanistan, such Fourth of July speeches have become routine for Mr. Bush. On Independence Day last year, Mr. Bush went to Fort Bragg, in North Carolina, to argue against Democratic calls to withdraw from Iraq.

Then, with Congress in Republican hands and no real attempts by it to force a withdrawal legislatively, his argument seemed tailored for that year’s Congressional elections above anything else. Now, with Congress under the control of Democrats, many of whom won with promises to force an end to the war, the threat to his plans from Congress is real.

Mr. Bush said if the United States were to leave Iraq now, Al Qaeda “would be able to establish their safe haven from which to do two things: to further spread their ideology and to plan and plot attacks against the United States.”

Victory, he said, “will require more patience, more courage, and more sacrifice.”

As usual, President Bush was unprepared to disclose to Americans how much more patience and sacrifice would be required, now that the Iraq War, which was originally to have ended with the deposing of Saddam Hussein and the securing of the non-existent WMD, has cost the country more than $500 billion and the lives of almost 3600 American service men and women.

There would be no sacrifice on the president's part, however, or on the part of the vast majority of the senators who continue to back continued involvement in the Iraq War. They continue to live in a realm of privilege, luxury and elitism increasingly distant and removed from the vast majority of the American people.

Bush told the audience of service men and women that he was going back to the White House for July 4 celebrations. His wife Laura couldn't be with them all, but she "sends her love - she would be with me, but I told her to fire up the grill."

The silence from the crowd at this line was almost deafening.