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Four Years After May 1, 2003: Are We Winning Yet?

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It's been four years now since President Bush pulled his stunt of landing on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, which his staff had ordered to circle around outside of San Diego for the purpose, and which they had decked out with a huge banner proclaiming "Mission Accomplished" for a backdrop.

On its face, it's been a wasted four years, a wasted $500 billion (or $2 trillion, if you count the debt and futre veterans' care), a wasted 3400 American lives (or 55000 American lives if you count all the physically maimed and injured, or 250,000 if you add in the psychologically damaged), a wasted 650,000 Iraqi lives (most of them innocent women and children and the elderly), and indeed a wasted country, since Iraq will never again be the nation and society it was before the US invasion.

Congratulations Bush! Congratulations too, to the hundreds of cowards in Congress, Republican and Democrat, who allowed you to turn this nation into just another war-mongering outlaw state.

"Mission Accomplished" indeed! We just didn't realize what the "mission" was when Bush made that seemingly preposterous assertion.

The war in Iraq had actually only just begun on May 1, 2003, but then, that was never the mission, was it? The real mission all along, laid out by Dick Cheney and other neo-conservative conspirators in the Project for a New American Century document and set in motion even while the Florida election was still in the process of being stolen in late 2000, was to destroy the Constitution, and to establish the presidency as an all-powerful tyranny, usurping the legislative powers of the Congress and the judicial authority of the courts. The real mission was to gut the Bill of Rights, to emasculate the political opposition, and to reduce the American citizenry to quivering and servile subjects. The real mission was to scrap the rule of law at home and to scrap international treaties and laws.

And to a remarkable extent, Bush was right when he spoke on the deck of the Lincoln. It has been a case of "mission accomplished"--almost.

Certainly the America today is not the America we knew in 2000.

Bush's America in 2007 is a nation that officially tortures, that jails its own citizens indefinitely without charge, that threatens other, weaker, countries with nuclear attack, that allows its own cities to drown in floods, that lets poor babies die for lack of medical care, that systematically ships millions of jobs overseas, providing tax subsidies to the companies that fire American workers, and that lets its own returned soldiers rot in rat-infested wards, or denies them treatment altogether, all the while granting tax break after tax break to the rich and super-rich.

It is pretty much true that six-plus years into his presidency, Bush and his backers have largely accomplished their mission of destroying America.

But they haven't won yet.

There is a resistance building. There is, abroad among the American people, an increasingly clear understanding that we've been had. People across the political spectrum know that they have never been told the truth about what happened on 9-11. Most people recognize by now that the Iraq War was a disaster and a fraud from the outset. People recognize that the whole presidency too has been a fraud. That's why support for the president is now reported at an abyssmal 28 percent, while support for Vice President Dick Cheney is less than a third of even that low figure.

It is easy to fall victim to despair, but it is becoming clear that the kind of slow-motion coup d'etat that has been in the works is not easy to pull off, nor is the result a foregone conclusion.

Not everything is going the administration's way. A war that was supposed to be an easy win and a political triumph has become a disaster, a potemkin presidency that was supposed to look like a shining model of corporate competency has been exposed as a cheap Enron-style ripoff scheme. Schools are crumbling, poverty is rising, cities are dying, and people are getting angry.

Now comes the hard part. Taking the country back.

The real "mission accomplished" will come when Bush and Cheney have been hounded from office, and find themselves on trial for treason, bribery, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and crimes against humanity.

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Dave Lindorff, winner of a 2019 "Izzy" Award for Outstanding Independent Journalism from the Park Center for Independent Media in Ithaca, is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper (more...)

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