In a speech given earlier today President Bush gave his own unique interpretation of U.S. history to drum up support for the war in Iraq. He also used the example of Japan to point to what he thinks Iraq can become. The president began his speech, “I stand before you as a wartime President. I wish I didn’t have to say that, but an enemy that attacked us on September the 11th, 2001, declared war on the United States of America. And war is what we’re engaged in. The struggle has been called a clash of civilizations. In truth, it’s a struggle for civilization. We fight for a free way of life against a new barbarism — an ideology whose followers have killed thousands on American soil, and seek to kill again on even a greater scale.”

He then said he was going to provide some historical perspective to show why it is important to stay in Iraq. “Today I’m going to address these arguments. I’m going to describe why helping the young democracies of the Middle East stand up to violent Islamic extremists is the only realistic path to a safer world for the American people. I’m going to try to provide some historical perspective to show there is a precedent for the hard and necessary work we’re doing, and why I have such confidence in the fact we’ll be successful.”

Bush used his “the enemy hates our freedom” rhetoric except this time he tried to say that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor because we were free. “The enemy who attacked us despises freedom, and harbors resentment at the slights he believes America and Western nations have inflicted on his people. He fights to establish his rule over an entire region. And over time, he turns to a strategy of suicide attacks destined to create so much carnage that the American people will tire of the violence and give up the fight.”

“If this story sounds familiar, it is — except for one thing. The enemy I have just described is not al Qaeda, and the attack is not 9/11, and the empire is not the radical caliphate envisioned by Osama bin Laden. Instead, what I’ve described is the war machine of Imperial Japan in the 1940s, its surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and its attempt to impose its empire throughout East Asia.” Bush said.

Bush also drew a bit of a dubious conclusion, “The lesson from Asia’s development is that the heart’s desire for liberty will not be denied. Once people even get a small taste of liberty, they’re not going to rest until they’re free. Today’s dynamic and hopeful Asia — a region that brings us countless benefits — would not have been possible without America’s presence and perseverance. It would not have been possible without the veterans in this hall today. And I thank you for your service.”

He then compared all the Far East wars the U.S fought with the current situation in the Middle East. “There are many differences between the wars we fought in the Far East and the war on terror we’re fighting today. But one important similarity is at their core they’re ideological struggles. The militarists of Japan and the communists in Korea and Vietnam were driven by a merciless vision for the proper ordering of humanity. They killed Americans because we stood in the way of their attempt to force their ideology on others. Today, the names and places have changed, but the fundamental character of the struggle has not changed. Like our enemies in the past, the terrorists who wage war in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places seek to spread a political vision of their own — a harsh plan for life that crushes freedom, tolerance, and dissent.”

“Like our enemies in the past, they kill Americans because we stand in their way of imposing this ideology across a vital region of the world. This enemy is dangerous; this enemy is determined; and this enemy will be defeated. We’re still in the early hours of the current ideological struggle, but we do know how the others ended — and that knowledge helps guide our efforts today. The ideals and interests that led America to help the Japanese turn defeat into democracy are the same that lead us to remain engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq,” the president said.

Bush also used Japan and Korea as examples of his idea of democracy through war. He used Vietnam to point out what happens when America withdraws their troops. “Whatever your position is on that debate, one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America’s withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like “boat people,” “re-education camps,” and “killing fields.”

He also made the argument that those who are against the war, are supporting the enemy. “There was another price to our withdrawal from Vietnam, and we can hear it in the words of the enemy we face in today’s struggle — those who came to our soil and killed thousands of citizens on September the 11th, 2001. In an interview with a Pakistani newspaper after the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden declared that “the American people had risen against their government’s war in Vietnam. And they must do the same today.”

He then said that if the U.S. leaves Iraq, the terrorists win. “If we were to abandon the Iraqi people, the terrorists would be emboldened, and use their victory to gain new recruits. As we saw on September the 11th, a terrorist safe haven on the other side of the world can bring death and destruction to the streets of our own cities. Unlike in Vietnam, if we withdraw before the job is done, this enemy will follow us home. And that is why, for the security of the United States of America, we must defeat them overseas so we do not face them in the United States of America.”

Bush then played up the military progress in Iraq, “Our troops are seeing this progress that is being made on the ground. And as they take the initiative from the enemy, they have a question: Will their elected leaders in Washington pull the rug out from under them just as they’re gaining momentum and changing the dynamic on the ground in Iraq? Here’s my answer is clear: We’ll support our troops, we’ll support our commanders, and we will give them everything they need to succeed.”

He stuck by his dream that a free Iraq can transform the Middle East. “A free Iraq is not going to transform the Middle East overnight. But a free Iraq will be a massive defeat for al Qaeda, it will be an example that provides hope for millions throughout the Middle East, it will be a friend of the United States, and it’s going to be an important ally in the ideological struggle of the 21st century.”

The president concluded by saying, “We can do the same for the Middle East. Today the violent Islamic extremists who fight us in Iraq are as certain of their cause as the Nazis, or the Imperial Japanese, or the Soviet communists were of theirs. They are destined for the same fate. The greatest weapon in the arsenal of democracy is the desire for liberty written into the human heart by our Creator. So long as we remain true to our ideals, we will defeat the extremists in Iraq and Afghanistan. We will help those countries’ peoples stand up functioning democracies in the heart of the broader Middle East. And when that hard work is done and the critics of today recede from memory, the cause of freedom will be stronger, a vital region will be brighter, and the American people will be safer.”

It is good to see that this administration has its own warped interpretation of both history and intelligence documents. What a load of half baked nonsense, the president was peddling today. His reinterpretation of World War II to fit the war on terror must be read in order to be believed. President Bush is living in a delusion where the U.S. is only fighting the terrorists. Notice that he made no mention of the sectarian problems in Iraq. This speech, and its cherry picked view of history, was an insult to the intelligence of the American people. Count this as another pathetic attempt to drum up support for a failing war.

Full text of Bush speech

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics 

Jason can also be heard every Sunday at 7:00 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse
 
 

 

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