Reeling from steadily falling popularity numbers stemming from, among many things, the war in Iraq, Bush accused his war critics of "sending mixed signals to our troops and the enemy." In other words, those of us against the war are exposing our country to danger and by not, according to Bush, keeping faith with our troops, we are non-patriotic. Bush has said things like this many times when attempting to rally the country behind the war and take the wind out of the sails of his critics. The first time he did this, several months before the war started, I had a vague feeling that I had heard or read things like this before. In fact, I had.
From the notes of Gustave Gilbert, a German-speaking U.S. intelligence officer and psychologist who spoke frequently with accused Nazi war criminals in the Nuremberg jail, most notably, Herman Goering:
Gilbert: We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.
Goering: "Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."
Gilbert: "There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."
Goering: "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
A war that really needs to be fought does not need to rely on childish demagoguery and anti-patriotic accusations; it can be justified on logic alone. As soon as you see a Goering-esque justification for war, you can be confident you are being had. Bush knows he misled us on prewar Iraqi WMD intelligence.
He knows this because the UN WMD inspectors on the ground in Iraq submitted a report three weeks before the war that said in short, after almost four months of inspections, we have found not only no WMD, but no HINT of WMD. What is surprising is not that the President 's approval rating is under 40% and his disapproval is over 60%. What is surprising is not that the President is flailing against his critics in a desperate measure to save his Presidency. What is surprising is that his approval level is not much lower and that he has not been impeached.
To put things into perspective, when Clinton lied, the only casualty was a blue dress and yet congress still impeached him. This President 's decisions and lies have resulted in the unnecessary deaths of over 2000 valiant servicemen and women and unlike the blue dress, no amount of detergent or dry-cleaning will fix that mess. In the face of that, what do we get from this President? Acknowledgement of mistakes? No. Apologies? No. Resignations? No. What we have gotten is more lies, half-truths and accusations in the 'best ' Goering-esque tradition. This President, his Vice President, and the majority of his administration should apologize and resign or be impeached. The blood of over 2000 young Americans sacrificed for lies and hubris cries out for no less.
Steven Leser email@example.com is a freelance journalist specializing in Politics, Science & Health, and Entertainment topics. He has held positions within the Democratic Party including District Chair and Public Relations Chair within county organizations. His coverage of the Ohio Presidential Recount in 2004 was distinguished by actual interviews with Carlo Loparo, spokesperson for the Ohio Secretary of State, along with Supervisors of Elections of several Ohio counties. Similar efforts on other topics to get first hand information from sources seperate Mr. Leser from many of his contemporaries.