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Our Hynotized Nation

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The word hypnotism is defined in the New Oxford American Dictionary as "the state of consciousness in which a person apparently loses the power of voluntary action and is highly responsive to suggestion or direction." It's an art that takes subjects to an altered state.

Bush is banking on this phenomenon in every speech he makes. For a long time, he used the word "terror" as a way to manipulate our emotions. Filling us with fear, he controlled and used this fear to convince us to invade a country that was never a threat to our safety. So many Americans have lost their desire to reason. Maybe the events of September 11, 2001 contributed to this. But what is necessary for the survival of our country has been placed in the hands of someone who never should have held such a responsible position in the first place. At every opportunity, Bush connects that Tuesday in September to Iraq long after intelligence has confirmed that Saddam had NOTHING to do with the deaths by weapon-planes hijacked by al-Qaeda members, most of whom were from Saudi Arabia. He did it again last week at the U.S. Naval Academy. Osama bin Laden must be celebrating and so are those who live and breathe political Islam. They need no other picture on a recruitment poster than an image of America's axis of war profiteers--Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. This is so serious that women easily can be recruited to carry out suicide missions against Westerners.

And, now, the word "terror" has morphed to "victory." Bush has been advised that in order to win in Iraq, he must first win the confidence of the American public that this war is winnable. Victory, victory, victory. Over and over he is saying the word. Somewhere, though, in the recesses of my mind, I recall hearing the President say that we could not win the war on terror. Seems he was in Air Force One when he accidentally let this slip in one of his rare, honest moments. Either he had a mini stroke or no sidekick from his posse was there to operate his jaw strings. Certainly, he back peddled the next day, explaining that he meant to say the war on terror can be won but that it will take a long time.

Hypnotized Americans nod. They want to believe what they want to believe--that our leaders will make decisions based on the best interests of those they serve. When an administration is self-absorbed, the world is in peril. Every minute we occupy Iraq, we create more terrorists. Every month we're there, we spend 6 billion dollars that could be used instead for healthcare, education, social programs and relief from natural disasters. Not to mention security. Bush may soon have to eat those words, "We're fighting them over there so we won't have to fight them over here." According to the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, the White House and Congress have not enacted necessary measures to protect us against terror attacks. They are particularly concerned about nuclear proliferation.

With the deaths of so many troops in Iraq--over 2,100--a number rising weekly and the 10 Marines killed last Thursday in a single incident, the President is going to have to take a refresher course in the art of mesmerism. New techniques are needed to lull those who still are hanging on with sweaty palms to his slippery thread of credibility. Not to mention the many who have already escaped his thrall.

Victory, victory, victory. I counted the times he said the word. Fifteen. You are getting sleepy--very sleepy.

When the President spoke last week, he really wasn't presenting a strategy to win this war and bring our troops out of Iraq. It was pure propaganda. George was at it again. The snake oil salesman, peddling his already failed policy, was attempting to anesthetize the public. You are getting sleepy.

But fewer and fewer are nodding and he knows it. The Pentagon knows it. Other Republican leaders know it. The jig is up. Hopefully, the Republican gig will be up soon, but that depends on something more than whining from timid, browbeaten Democrats.

Those in the electorate who haven't emerged from the trance need to be awakened with a hard slap. Let's just hope it isn't another terror attack.
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Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a (more...)
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