The referenda results represent a major embarrassment for both big-business political parties in the US, as well as for the media, which consistently present the Bush administration’s “war on terror” as enjoying a popular mandate, while attempting to marginalize any opposition. What these referenda reveal is that while the war may be fully supported by the media and big-business politicians, it is widely opposed by the broad masses of ordinary people in the US.
Significantly, when the same choice was put before the US Congress in November of last year, only 3 congressmen—less than 1 percent—voted for immediate withdrawal, and 403 against. Both the Democratic and the Republican candidates in the 2004 presidential elections were in favor of continuing the war in Iraq indefinitely.
The broad popular opposition to the war revealed by the referenda immediately provoked defensive remarks and denunciations from the Bush administration.
“I think all Americans want our troops to come home,” White House press secretary Scott McClellan said, reciting a familiar line. “I think most Americans recognize the importance of succeeding in Iraq as well. I think most Americans want to see our troops achieve victory. That’s what’s important.” “The worst thing we can do is withdraw before the mission is complete. That would be retreating and that is exactly what the terrorists want us to do.”