“”Our constituents like a victory, and at this point it’s a victory. In the beginning, our constituents were saying, ‘They better find weapons of mass destruction.’ With it over so quickly, we are not hearing that refrain.” ~ Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee (R-R.I.) – May 2003.
In May 2003, 72% of Americans supported their country’s preemptive strike against Iraq. That’s nearly three quarters of the population.
Were you one of them?
60% – nearly two-thirds of the populace, remained in favor, even if weapons of mass destruction were never found.
Were you one of them?
While a small, dedicated group of Americans campaigned vigorously against the hostilities, by far the largest percentage were fully behind George W Bush in May 2003.
Listening to the rhetoric today, it is hard to believe these figures, unless you take the trouble to remember. Most Americans would sooner forget. George W Bush and his cohorts have been slammed by criticism of late over the Iraq war, but how many of that 72% are today turning around and saying, “I was wrong. I’m sorry”?
It’s easy to blame a nation’s leaders when things go wrong, but in the world’s leading democracy it is the people who are responsible; in this case, providing an overwhelming mandate to go to war.
Were you one of them?
One of the most vocal opponents of today’s Iraq War is Nancy Pelosi, the new Democratic leader of the House. Here’s what she had to say about the war in May 2003, after expressing a “difficulty in understanding” why weapons of mass destruction had not been discovered:
“I salute the president for the goal of removing weapons of mass destruction.” [my bold]
Yet another political turncoat, Senate Democratic Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.), who had on the eve of the war accused Bush of “failing miserably” to achieve international backing, in May 2003 talked of giving the President “great credit” for winning the war.
May 2003 was when George W Bush achieved his greatest popularity among the American people. It was a time when the war was in vogue with the vast majority. It was, of course, the moment when the American president told his nation, “We won.”
Should that fact – the apparent winning of a preemptive military strike against another nation – be cause for celebration, and a lauding of those politicians responsible? Have Americans sunk to the position of regarding war as they would view a football game – their team the victor?
Apparently so, for as the “victory” turned into defeat and Iraqis failed to strew the streets of Baghdad with palm leaves for their “liberators”, and instead deployed roadside bombs to express their opposition to the western takeover of their country, America began to realize its team was not victorious after all. The “coach” had confused “full-time” with “half-time”, and in the second session the opposition was making a serious comeback.
To make excuses for the American attitude is easy. One such rationalization often heard in Europe is that “they’ve never suffered a war at home with serious civilian casualties”, as though somehow the horror of war is unimaginable until you’ve been through it yourself.
That’s utter rubbish.
Americans, with some exceptions, are bred to arrogance, conditioned to violence and contempt for human life by the constant outpouring of homicidal filth from their “entertainment media”, and bombarded by the idea they are superior to all other forms of human life. Competition – winning, at all costs – is an ideal endemic in the American psyche. It’s why billions of dollars are spent yearly training athletes for occasions like the Olympic games, and woe-betide any who fail to achieve a medal.
It is that all-embracing arrogance – the concept that “losing” is not a word in the American vocabulary – that led Americans to embrace George W Bush in May 2003, after he made his now infamous “Mission Accomplished” speech on the deck of the “Abraham Lincoln“. At that time, the Iraqis were nothing more than the “losing team”.
Four years on, and with no end in sight, the “opposing team” is continually reviled using such terms as “terrorists;” “insurgents;” “al-Qaeda;” “extremists,” – though never “freedom fighters,” or “resistance forces,” for those phrases would be too humanizing.
“Our constituents like a victory,” was the cry of Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee back in 2003.
In 2007 nothing has changed except the bodycount. “Victory”, or otherwise, in Iraq will still be the prime decider for most Americans as they go to the polls in 2008. Today, as with Vietnam in the 1970’s, winning means acclaim; losing is unforgivable. If George W Bush can subdue the nation he invaded, before his reign at the White House ends, Americans will glory in their victory as surely as they cheer their gold-medal winner at Olympia.
Whether that win was fair and just, or if the game should ever have been played in the first place, in the celebration of an American victory are never matters to be deemed important.
Figures and quotes taken from Washington Post article – May 17th, 2003.
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