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The Cheerleader at Annapolis



It’s pathetic to see the world’s most powerful man, shunted into prearranged venues so he can pitch his snake-oil to college aged boys. That said, Bush’s appearance today at the Naval Academy has got to be a new low for the White House public relations team. Apparently the only people buying the huckster-in-chief’s bedraggled vision of a democratic Iraq are rosy-cheeked young men who dream of battlefields instead of girlfriends.

Is this the last place Bush can count on a round of applause without body-scanning everyone who enters the door?

“Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would vindicate the terrorist tactics of beheadings and suicide bombings and mass murder and invite new attacks on America,” Bush boomed.

Bush loves the applause. He luxuriates in the warm glow of human affection. In many ways he is the consummate politician feeding his fragile ego with the ephemeral praise of complete strangers. Too bad, his only springboard to fame has been as bullhorn for right-wing fanatics and war-mongers. Now, he finds himself toddling on a narrower and narrower ledge, peering down into the abyss of defeat and disgrace.

“To all who wear the uniform, I make you this pledge: America will not run in the face of car bombers and assassins so long as I am your commander-in-chief.”

Who could have dreamed that events would overtake Bush so quickly? A hawkish congressman takes the floor of the House and whispers “Withdrawal” and suddenly the whole neocon master-plan begins to unravel like a ball-o-yarn skittering across the kitchen floor.

The Bush team knows they’re losing ground; and fast. That’s why they dispatched poor Rummy to 4 TV talk shows on one morning alone. That must be some kind of record. Rumsfeld was reduced to rehashing the same lame gibberish the administration has been slinging for years, only this time, no one is buying. The air is hissssing out of the tire; the momentum has shifted. The country is tired of Bush, tired of war, and tired of Iraq.

Bush-fatigue has set in like an oily pall hanging over the nation.

“At this time last year there were only a handful of Iraqi battalion’s ready for combat,” Bush thundered. “Now, there are over 120 Iraqi Army and police combat battalions in the fight against the terrorists, typically comprised of between 350 and 800 Iraqi forces. Of these about 80 Iraqi battalions are fighting side-by-side with coalition forces, and about 40 others are taking the lead in the fight.”

Lies, lies, and more lies. Mountains of lies; oceans of lies; an entire constellation of lies where every twinkling point of light is just another fraud issued from the raspy larynx of the master of mendacity, George W. Bush.”

This is Bush’s “Victory Strategy”; stacking one deception on top of another like cord-wood and hoping the wary public will believe it; hoping they’ll approve another zillion dollars for earth-poisoning ordinance; hoping they’ll send another 2,000 sons and daughters into the Iraqi meat-grinder; hoping they’ll sign off on the genocidal attack on Iraqi civilians.

Bush “war-whoop” has lost its resonance; its allure. The bubble-president has become a shadow of his former self; a tattered coat on a stick. Perhaps, he doesn’t know that the battle is lost.

All around him a palpable sense of desperation is setting in. Cheney and Rove are already manning the bunkers for next tsunami of bad news. Still, Bush is sent on his fool’s errand; trying to appear popular in the last remaining bastion, where support is reflexive and perfunctory.

The war in Iraq is lost. John Murtha said it best:

“Oil production and energy production are below pre-war levels. Our reconstruction efforts have been crippled by the security situation. Only $9 billion of the $18 billion appropriated for reconstruction has been spent. Unemployment remains at about 60 percent. Clean water is scarce. Only $500 million of the $2.2 billion appropriated for water projects has been spent. And most importantly, insurgent incidents have increased from about 150 per week to over 700 in the last year. Instead of attacks going down over time and with the addition of more troops, attacks have grown dramatically. Since the revelations at Abu Ghraib, American casualties have doubled. An annual State Department report in 2004 indicated a sharp increase in global terrorism.”

Iraq is over; we lost. Someone had better tell Bush.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He can be reached at:


MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at

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