(The polls were packed... kind of anxious to see how it all turns out!)
Bush's Election-Eve Message: Lies and Nonsense
By Robert Parry, Consortium News
The Nov. 7 elections are shaping up as not just a choice between Republicans and Democrats, but a test of how gullible -- and how divorced from reality -- the American people have become.
In campaign stops across the country, George W. Bush is delivering a medley of his favorite lies, half-truths and non sequiturs about Iraq and the "war on terror." Yet the President's listeners seem to revel in the distortions, celebrating with shouts of "USA! USA!" and responding on cue when Bush has them mock the Democrats.
Some appearances have a Lord of the Flies quality, as excited Republicans rally around their strong man hailing his pronouncements even when they make little or no sense, or when they celebrate the misjudgments that led to the disaster in Iraq.
"One of the lessons of September the 11th is that when we see a threat we have got to take that threat seriously before it materializes," Bush told a cheering throng in Springfield, Missouri, on Nov. 3. "It's an essential lesson in this new war. I saw a threat in Saddam Hussein."
In that remark, Bush reaffirmed his commitment to what he calls "preemptive war," but what others call "preventive war" and we have termed "predictive war." Bush's strategy is not classically "preemptive," which implies the other country is poised to strike. Bush's idea is to predict a future threat and then attack before the threat "materializes."
While "preemptive" invasions are illegal under international law, "preventive" or "predictive" wars represent even greater threats to world order. They effectively guarantee endless warfare based not on real security threats but on vague perceptions of the future, a prescription for one, two, many Iraq Wars.
But on the stump, Bush's talking point about this "essential lesson" is greeted like a golden oldie from the rally-round-the-President days after 9/11. Though the consequences of Bush's faulty prediction about Iraq can now be measured in the deaths of more than 2,800 American soldiers and other horrible costs, it still works as an applause line.
Bush then repeats another part of his mantra, how Americans must listen to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden when he boasts about driving the United States out of Iraq: "He understands the stakes. He says that victory for the terrorists in Iraq will mean America's defeat and disgrace forever. That's what the enemy says."
However, as U.S. intelligence knows, bin Laden actually views the U.S. invasion of Iraq as a great boon to his cause. Not only did Bush's invasion divert military pressure away from bin Laden's battered forces in Afghanistan in 2002, Bush then knocked off one of bin Laden's secular enemies, Saddam Hussein, and turned the U.S. occupation of Iraq into al-Qaeda's chief recruiting poster.
An April 2006 National Intelligence Estimate, representing the consensus view of the U.S. intelligence community, called the Iraq War the "cause celebre" that has spread Islamic extremism around the world.
In June 2006, U.S. intelligence also learned from an intercepted al-Qaeda communiqué that bin Laden's terrorist band wants to keep U.S. soldiers bogged down in Iraq as the best way to advance al-Qaeda's goals.
"Prolonging the war is in our interest," wrote "Atiyah," one of bin Laden's top lieutenants, in a letter dated Dec. 11, 2005.
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