Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bush & Cheney WARLORDs on US prime time TV

Kurt Vonnegut famously said that being Pro War is like being
Pro Syphillis...

White House propaganda campaign: Bush, Cheney smear opponents of US war
in Iraq

By Patrick Martin
16 January 2007

In remarks broadcast Sunday on national television, President Bush and
Vice President Cheney brushed aside the mass opposition to their war
policy among the American people, declared that the US government would
do .whatever it takes. to win a military victory in Iraq, and suggested
that Iran could well be the next target for American military

As they reiterated their plans for expanding the war, Bush and Cheney
expressed the outlook.a hallmark of dictatorship, not democracy.that the
government has the right to defy the expressed will of the people on the
most serious of political issues, a war in which thousands of Americans
and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have already died.

As part of a coordinated public relations offensive by the White House,
Cheney appeared on the morning interview program .Fox News Sunday,.
while Bush was interviewed for the CBS program .60 Minutes,. broadcast
the same evening.

Both sought, in slightly different ways, to intimidate the majority of
Americans who oppose the continuation of the US occupation of Iraq and
want a rapid withdrawal of all American troops.

Bush painted a picture of the devastating impact of a US .failure. in
Iraq, saying it would .embolden the enemy,. whom he defined as .Al Qaeda
and extremists,. as well as Iran. He painted a picture of slaughter and
mass suffering throughout the Middle East, although that is the
catastrophic outcome already set into motion by the US invasion.

Hinting at the huge economic and strategic interests at stake in control
of the oil-rich region.and contrasting them to the stakes involved in
the US defeat in Vietnam.Bush said, .What happens in the Middle East
matters to the homeland. And that.s different than in some past

Cheney, as befits his role as the administration bully, warned that
those who advocate a US withdrawal from Iraq would .revalidate the
strategy that Osama bin Laden has been following from day one, that if
you kill enough Americans, you can force them to quit, that we don.t
have the stomach for the fight..

While Cheney suggested that those opposed to the Bush administration.s
war policies are capitulating to terrorism, Bush claimed that there was
broad agreement within the United States on the need for .success. in
Iraq, and maintained that critics of his plans to escalate the war were
obliged to provide an alternative scenario to achieve an American

While not challenging the basic framework of the US intervention in
Iraq, and addressing Bush and Cheney with fawning respect, the CBS and
Fox journalists nonetheless posed a number of pointed questions to the
president and vice-president, which evoked responses that are worth

Scott Pelley of .60 Minutes. pressed Bush on the lies employed to pave
the way to war in 2003. .Many Americans feel that your administration
has not been straight with the country, has not been honest,. he said,
singling out the claims of weapons of mass destruction and a connection
between Iraq and the 9/11 attacks, as well as the administration.s gross
underestimation of the cost of the war.

Bush appeared initially taken aback, sputtering, .I gotcha. I gotcha. I
gotcha.. Then he resorted to the administration.s last-ditch defense of
the prewar lies.the argument that the Democrats and the Clinton
administration had held the same view of Saddam Hussein.s Iraq. .There
were a lot of people, both Republicans and Democrats,. he said, .who
felt there were weapons of mass destruction. Many of the leaders in the
Congress spoke strongly about the fact that Saddam Hussein had weapons
prior to my arrival in Washington DC..

Fox interviewer Chris Wallace asked Cheney about the sharp decline in
public and congressional support for the war in Iraq, particularly as
expressed in the November 2006 elections. Citing exit polls showing 67
percent who said the war was very important to their vote, and only 17
percent who supported the dispatch of more troops, he asked Cheney, .By
taking the policy you have, haven.t you, Mr. Vice President, ignored the
express will of the American people in the November election?.

Cheney responded, .I don.t think any president worth his salt can afford
to make decisions of this magnitude according to the polls. The polls
change day by day . . ..

Wallace persisted, .This was an election, sir.. Cheney brushed this fact
aside, reiterating, .Polls change day by day, week by week ... you
cannot simply stick your finger up in the wind and say, .Gee, public
opinion.s against; we better quit...

The vice president went on to elaborate an outlook based on the
rejection of any democratic accountability of the US government to the
American people. On the contrary, he claimed, the task of the government
was to be stronger than the people, to insure that the will of the chief
executive (the .Decider.) prevailed against the will of the people.

.That is part and parcel of the underlying fundamental strategy that our
adversaries believe afflicts the United States,. Cheney said. .They are
convinced that the current debate in the Congress, that the election
campaign last fall, all of that is evidence that they.re right when they
say the United States doesn.t have the stomach for the fight in this
long war against terror.

.They believe it. They look at past evidence of it: in Lebanon in .83
and Somalia in .93, Vietnam before that. They.re convinced that the
United States will, in fact, pack it in and go home if they just kill
enough of us. They can.t beat us in a stand-up fight, but they think
they can break our will. And if we have a president who looks at the
polls and sees the polls are going south and concludes, .Oh, my
goodness, we have to quit,. all it will do is validate the Al Qaeda view
of the world.

.It.s exactly the wrong thing to do. This president does not make policy
based on public opinion polls; he should not. It.s absolutely essential
here that we get it right..

The two interviews present an extraordinary portrait of American
political life, in which the Bush-Cheney administration is pushing ahead
with its policy of expanded military aggression in the Middle East,
regardless of the deep popular revulsion against the war.

The White House feels it can safely ignore popular sentiment because it
has long taken the measure of its congressional critics and recognizes
that there will be no serious effort by the Democratic leadership to
bring an end to the war.

Both Cheney and Bush spoke freely about the prospects of congressional
action to cut off funding for the war. Bush seemed to concede that
Congress had the constitutional authority to cut off funding for the
war, but declared, .I will fight that, of course . . . I will resist
that. That would mean that they.re not willing to support a plan that I
believe will work and solve the situation. We.ve got people criticizing
this plan before it.s had a chance to work..

Cheney again was more confrontational, dismissing a .sense of Congress.
resolution, proposed by the Democratic leadership, as a meaningless
verbal exercise, and declaring that Bush had the authority to send
additional troops to Iraq regardless of congressional opinion. .The
president is the commander in chief,. Cheney said. .He.s the one who has
to make these tough decisions. He.s the guy who.s got to decide how to
use the force and where to deploy the force..

While grudgingly admitting the Congress had authority over military
spending, Cheney agreed with a suggestion from his interviewer that such
a vote against war funding would amount to undercutting the troops.

In comments on another Sunday television interview program, .Face the
Nation. on CBS, Republican Senator John McCain called the Democrats.
bluff, dismissing a non-binding resolution as meaningless and
challenging them to cut off funding if they truly wanted to end the war.

New House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
have disavowed any such effort, accepting and even embracing the Bush
administration claim that such a vote would represent an attack on the
rank-and-file soldiers now deployed in Iraq. This is a cynical and
self-serving effort to de-legitimize and suppress mass antiwar
sentiment, as well as to inoculate themselves against a future campaign
of .who lost Iraq?. demagogy from the Republicans.

Neither the White House nor the Democrats bother to explain why sending
soldiers out to be killed by IEDs and sniper fire should be considered
.supporting. the troops, while it would be a stab in the back to use the
congressional power of the purse to force the administration to bring
these soldiers home safely to their families.

Neither faction of the US ruling elite, of course, considers the
interests of the innocent Iraqis whose lives will be sacrificed with the
continuation and escalation of a war that has caused the deaths of an
estimated 655,000 people.

The escalation on which the Bush administration has embarked is a threat
not only to the long-suffering people of Iraq, but to the masses
throughout the Middle East, and to the democratic rights of the American
people as well.

In his television interview, Cheney elaborated a future of decades of
war, declaring, .This is an existential conflict. It is the kind of
conflict that.s going to drive our policy and our government for the
next 20 or 30 or 40 years. We have to prevail, and we have to have the
stomach for the fight, long term..

This kind of apocalyptic language is more than just the latest rehash of
the long-disproven claim that the US invasion and occupation of Iraq are
a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The demented perspective
voiced by Cheney amounts to a justification for an unlimited escalation
of violence in Iraq and Afghanistan and new wars against Iran, other
countries in the Middle East, and beyond.

It is the basis for the onslaught being conducted against the democratic
rights of the American people.something Cheney spelled out in the same
interview, responding to weekend revelations about Pentagon spying on
American citizens by defending this latest example of the police-state
methods being employed at home.

The White House can press forward with its program of war and repression
only because of the collaboration of the congressional Democrats, who
will use their majority status in Congress.the byproduct of the massive
antiwar vote last November.to prop up the Bush administration. The
struggle against the war in Iraq and the threat of wider US military
aggression can be waged only through the building of a mass independent
antiwar movement based on the working people and opposed to both
political parties of the American corporate elite.


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posted by u2r2h at 6:09 PM


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