A Comedy Routine

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President George Bush’s denial of the reality of Iraq is beginning to sound like a stand-up comedy routine.

"Mr. President, the insurgency has spread to the whole country."

"We’re making great progress."

"But Mr. President, the attacks against coalition forces have escalated dramatically."

"We’re making great progress."

"But Mr. President, all but 2 percent of the Iraqi people want us to leave."

"We’re making great progress."

"And the interim government has no support and in fact can’t step outside the Green Zone without being surrounded by American security."

"We’re making great progress."

And so forth. Whether the president is actually in denial or is misleading the public for partisan purposes, I will leave to your judgment. It would be less dangerous if he were engaged in deliberate deception. That, at least, is a sign of sanity.

Some are now speculating that the president’s solution to the morass in Iraq will be to launch an attack against Iran — after the election, of course. There can be no other reason to sell Israel bunker-buster bombs. The only possible target would be Iran’s nuclear reactors. The Iranians would retaliate, and, of course, the United States would join the war in defense of Israel. Widening the war to a country with 60 million people might sound stupid, but with this administration’s record of stupid decisions, it’s not to be ruled out.

Nothing would destroy the democratic movement in Iran quicker than an attack by Israel and the United States. The same stupid people who thought we would be greeted as liberators in Iraq, however, might actually think Iranians would welcome an attack. People who spend their lives in academic surroundings can be forgiven for not knowing much about human nature. The most basic response of all humans is to rally around their country’s government when it is attacked by a foreign power. The Iranians would certainly do that, as they demonstrated in the 1980s when Saddam Hussein attacked them.

As all democratic nations do, we have uneven luck in choosing our leaders, but this is the first administration that actually scares me. There is nothing so stupid and wrongheaded that I can’t visualize them doing.

Bush has no real compassion. That’s why he forbids ceremonies for returning dead. According to Ollie North, President Reagan was at the airport every time a dead American serviceman’s body came home. The British also formally greet their returning dead with honor and respect. Only in the United States does the government even forbid news organizations from greeting the dead.

Bush and his corporate cronies care for Bush and his corporate cronies. If Reagan was the Teflon president, Bush is the irresponsible and unaccountable president. Not only has he created a bloody mess in Iraq, his economic policies have forced many American working men to endanger their lives by going there to work. Naturally, wages in Iraq, for everybody but the troops and the Iraqi people, are exorbitant, since the taxpayers are footing the bills.

I’ve noticed that Bush has stayed out of Iraq, except for his short dead-of-the-night sneak into and out of the Baghdad airport for a photo op. If we are making such great progress, as he keeps insisting that we are, surely he could visit the country in the daytime. Other national leaders have done so.

But the Bush policy in regard to Iraq has been a fraud from the beginning, and it remains a fraud with the appointment of an old CIA leech as prime minister to oversee the rape of Iraq by the favored corporate pirates. The Iraqi people know the score. The question is, Do the American people?

Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969—71, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. He now writes a syndicated column which is carried on LewRockwell.com. Reese served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner. Write to Charley Reese at P.O. Box 2446, Orlando, FL 32802.

© 2004 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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