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Monday, July 09, 2007


"Defending our freedom and way of life"

I already wrote about the absurdity of George Bush comparing the war in Iraq to the American Revolution - "We were a small band of freedom-loving patriots taking on the most powerful empire in the world." - and thinking that he represented the former and not the latter.

But there was another aspect of his July 4 speech which wasn't particularly new for him, yet is commented on all too infrequently. Bush made this claim:

"Like those early patriots, you're fighting a new and unprecedented war -- pledging your lives and honor to defend our freedom and way of life."
Now I, for one, don't actually believe Bush. I don't believe he thinks that the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are fighting "to defend our freedom and way of life." But whether he does or not is irrelevant - that is his public rationale. And so we must ask this question - how is it possible that he, and the supporters of the war who buy into that rationale, could not think that "defending our freedom and way of life" isn't worth sending another 50,000 troops to Iraq and another 50,000 to Afghanistan? Surely, if events in the world were such a threat, then no price would be too great to pay, no effort too large to spare, to defend "our freedom and way of life." There aren't another 100,000 troops to be had, you say? Surely, if the evil hordes from China, or Russia, or Iran, or, for that matter, Canada, were pouring across the U.S. border bent on attacking "our freedom and way of life," another 100,000 troops, if not another million, could be had for the task, could they not?

Indeed, one searches in vain for Bush even raising the cry that more troops are needed in the armed forces at a time when enlistments are down. In that speech to the West Virginia Air National Guard, which was typical, Bush goes out of his way to praise a man who has been deployed seven times since 9/11 and is about to start his eighth deployment. But in just one sentence in the entire speech, a mild "We need for people to volunteer to defend America," does Bush even mention the need for enlistments, and it's not even a call to Americans to enlist, just a simple declarative statement.

The emperor has no clothes. And the wars the U.S. are fighting are not being fought to "defend our freedom and way of life."

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