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by Rainer Rupp
Wednesday, Jan. 04, 2006 at 5:51 AM
The unmistakable odor of failure hangs over Bush's so-called preventive war.. The Bush administration was increasingly overtaken by its own lies.. The majority of Americans in the course of 2005 noticed that president Bush stands naked,
GEORGE W. FALLS
The Year 2005 in Retrospect: The US Administration under Pressure – Because of the Iraq War, Protests and Scandals
By Rainer Rupp
[This article published in: Junge Welt, 12/28/2005 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.jungewelt.de/2005/12-28/005.php.]
In the middle of January 2005, a poll of Gallup, the world’s largest opinion researcher, concluded that for the first time more Americans (50 percent) were against the Iraq war than for the war (48 percent). Faith in the short and morally noble mission of the US army has obviously vanished. President Bush and his neo-conservative followers had preached that Iraqis would greet the army as liberators with flowers. Instead commentaries of the mainstream media – like Bob Herbert in the New York Times at the beginning of 2005 – declared, “The unmistakable odor of failure hangs over president Bush’s so-called preventive war.” Nevertheless Bush was firmly in the political saddle at he beginning of 2005 since he was elected for four more years. He spoke proudly of the “mandate of the American people,” continued his past policy and promised “to liberate the earth from tyranny.”
Despite its belligerent rhetoric, the Bush administration in 2005 increasingly faced the reality of its Iraqi disaster. It felt the collapse of its own reputation around the world. One consequence was the world bid farewell to the Bush doctrine with the start of his second term in office. Its promises could not be maintained any longer. According to this doctrine, the US on one hand had to strike preventively in a single-handed effort to protect itself and on the other hand the Iraq war was a cornerstone in the global war against terror that could transform the whole Middle East into US-friendly democracies. Leading unilateral war-mongerers left the Bush administration like the neo-conservatives Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith. Bush’s per4sonal friend, the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, courted “old Europe.” The White House began to rediscover the advantages of the multilateral UN as a possible instrument for enforcing US interests. This happened for example in the cases of Syria and Lebanon.
OVERTAKEN BY LIES
While the US president in 2005 firmly repeated staying-the-course slogans in Iraq, the peace movement in the US gained strength. During the whole summer with the soldier mother Cindy Sheehan at its top, the peace movement successfully added a severe media setback for Bush. This also reflected a growing weariness with war in the whole population. The US occupiers of Iraq complained about inadequate supplies for the soldiers. Recruitment was harder from month to month in the course of the year. Young officers quit the service in vast numbers; reservists did not extend their contracts any longer. The promise of wild entertainment made by the commander of the 1st marine division in Iraq, the two-star general James Mattis, at the San Diego Convention Center in February 2005 did not help any more. There he told 200 hearers “fighting is fantastic” and that “killing a few people is fun.”
The so-called military democratization of Iraq has cost the lives of nearly 2200 US soldiers; over 15,000 uniformed persons lost limbs or were severely wounded. Despite Mattis’ fun, more and more Americans believe the war was a mistake. In September, approval for Bush fell to a new low at 40 percent. At the same time, a strong tendency to revive US isolationism was clear in the population. According to the report of the acclaimed Pew Research Center, 42 percent of Americans believed in the middle of March that the US should “worry about its own affairs and leave other countries alone.” There were similar high percentages in 1976 after the Vietnam War (41 percent) and in 1996 after the Cold War (also 41 percent).
The Bush administration was increasingly overtaken by its own lies. At the beginning of November, 53 percent of Americans were convinced that the Bush administration pulled the wool over the population regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Before November 2005, there was scandal after scandal. First of all, there was the “Franklin affair.” The neo-conservative Dr. Franklin, protégé of the White House, was active as Israel’s agent in a leading position at the Pentagon and even admitted doing espionage for Israel. “Plamegate” followed. The affair around the outing of a CIA agent is suspended over the president like a Damocles sword. Lewis Libby, a high-ranking advisor of the White House, was already sacrificed. Bush’s closest friend, Karl Rove, is also implicated. Afterwards the reputation of the administration faded again. The Pentagon with its secret service was uncovered collecting information against peace activists at home. The latest Bush confession that he commissioned the national secret service, the National Security Agency (NSA), to massive illegal eavesdropping against US citizens is even more serious.
ROLE OF THE OPPOSITION
As in the fairytale “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” the majority of Americans in the course of 2005 noticed that president Bush stands naked. The Democrats even gradually found their way back to their role as opposition and are no longer intimidated by “September 11.” More and more republicans have common positions with the democrats against the politics of the White House. This was demonstrated in the rejection of torture and the very limited short-term extension of the controversial Patriot Act. If the republicans lose the majority in Congress in the off year 2006 elections as expected, Bush’s politics could be blocked to the end of his term in office.
The fact that the majority of republican candidates in the 2006 election refuse any election help from the president shows how deeply George W. Bush has fallen. Nearness to Bush is regarded as a guarantee for defeat and no longer as a vote-catcher for candidates.
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