A View From The Handbasket

Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Still selling the lie
Posted by neros_fiddle at 3:11 PM
Here's the War President earlier today in Vienna:

Q: And to the President, Mr. President, you said this is "absurd," but you might be aware that in Europe the image of America is still falling, and dramatically in some areas. Let me give you some numbers. In Austria, in this country only 14 percent of the people believe that the United States, what they are doing is good for peace; 64 percent think that it is bad. In the United Kingdom, your ally, there are more citizens who believe that the United States policy under your leadership is helping to destabilize the world than Iran. So my question to you is, why do you think that you've failed so badly to convince Europeans, to win their heads and hearts and minds? Thank you.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, yes, I thought it was absurd for people to think that we're more dangerous than Iran. It's a -- we're a transparent democracy. People know exactly what's on our mind. We debate things in the open. We've got a legislative process that's active. Look, people didn't agree with my decision on Iraq, and I understand that. For Europe, September the 11th was a moment; for us, it was a change of thinking. I vowed to the American people I would do everything to defend our people, and will. I fully understood that the longer we got away from September the 11th, more people would forget the lessons of September the 11th. But I'm not going to forget them. And, therefore, I will be steadfast and diligent and strong in defending our country.

This is perhaps the most useful answer the President has ever given in a press conference, for is it indisputably correct and enlightening.

The United States invaded Iraq under the pretext that it had something to do with 9/11, which is completely untrue. True, this pretext was never explicitly stated, but always strongly implied, as in the above (and many other examples, most notably Bush's September 2002 comment that "you can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror"). Since large numbers of Americans -- and, sadly, many troops in Iraq -- think we are in Iraq in response to Saddam's nonexistent involvement in 9/11, and those with this misperception overwhelmingly tended to vote for Bush in 2004, I think it's safe to assume that confusing Saddam's role in 9/11 is something that the administration is altogether comfortable with.

Of course, we were also apparently concerned about weapons that turned out to not exist. Though many countries were not convinced by this case for war (unlike the invasion of Afghanistan or the Gulf War, which were widely supported), we went ahead anyway and triggered a bloodbath that continues to this day.

So, perhaps, the rest of the world thinks we're a threat to peace because we've actually invaded a country in defiance of international law for reasons that turned out to be unsupported by facts. I have no particular love for the miserable regimes in Iran or North Korea, and recognize that they need to be dealt with by the international community, but you have to admit that they haven't invaded anyone lately.

The absurdity of Bush referring to his compulsively secretive administration as "transparent" is left as an exercise for the reader.

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