George Lakoff has taught us that framing is important. By framing the invasion and occupation of Iraq as a "war", Bush accomplished several things:
1) Most importantly, he has cast himself as "the commander-in-chief of a nation at war", which has given him, at least in his mind, unlimited power. He has backed this up by demanding from preceding Congresses, Republican- controlled, legislation which gave him such powers, and Bush was granted them. Although the 110th Congress does seem ready to prevent the next escalation, it has done nothing to challenge or roll back this usurpation of power by the Executive branch of government.
2) By claiming we are "at war", Bush pulls the patriotic strings of millions of Americans who don't think deeply, who rely on TV news for their information and views. Then every death of an American serviceperson is a blow to our "freedom" by our "enemies", and criticizing Bush's policies is "hurting our troops". All the administration rhetoric depends on our being "at war". If the truth is told, that our troops are being used as mercenaries in an illegal invasion and occupation of another nation, to support the Bush/Cheney corporations Carlyle and Halliburton, and their oil buddies, then patriotism turns to outrage at the needless slaughter of our uniformed personnel.
3) The term "war" somehow connotes righteousness- we are "defending" our country from "evildoers who would harm us". This turns the situation around- in fact, the Iraqis and Afghanis were minding their own business, and we have slaughtered their population (600,000 Iraqis since 2003), destroyed their economy and infrastructure, and set neighbors who lived in harmony for thousands of years at each other's throats. The sin of America in allowing such illegal aggression defiles us all, and has ruined our reputation as a nation.
4) By reframing the "war" as an occupation, the justification for ever more funding by Congress to pour down the Iraq rathole quickly disappears.
5) The ultimate argument used by the Bush people is that we were attacked on 9-11-01 by "terrorists". All the evidence now points to a false flag operation, that 9-11 was an inside job, conducted by elements of the Bush administration, including his brother Marvin, who was head of security for the twin towers. I recommend two excellent videos- http://www.loosechange911.com/ and 9-11 Mysteries http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6708190071483512003 both of which can be seen for free on your computer. If you're not yet convinced, please take the time to watch one or both of these. When you realize that we were attacked by our own government, not by "Muslim terrorists", the whole situation takes on an entirely different cast.
The US is not at war. Let's stop buying into the Bush rhetoric, and face the truth.
In the name of the Prince of Peace, Carol Wolman