Bush administration struggles against the dwindling battle fervor of Americans

By Werner Pirker

[This article published in: Junge Welt, 12/20/2005 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,  http://www.jungewelt.de/2005/12-20/003.php.]

With stamina slogans, US president George W. Bush in a Sunday speech to the nation tried to rouse his war-weary compatriots. He admitted that the Iraq war was harder than expected but would ultimately end with a victory of the US and its allies and a functioning democracy in Iraq. This was the first direct broadcast of a Bush speech from the presidential office since March 2003 when Bush explained the reasons for the war in Iraq to the US population that was certainly easier for him at that time.

In the third year of war, the victory promise of the chauvinist majority spectrum in the US has largely disappeared. The Bush administration confronted with a growing wave of displeasure and frustration has fallen on the defensive on the home front. Therefore the president saw himself forced to address the consciences of those Americans who believed the war was lost and “not worth a cent any more.” He countered this defeatist mood with faith in the generals and the “fighting troops” in the victorious end of their “mission.” The fading morale of the soldiers causes the greatest irritation in US society.

Bush spoke vigorously against a withdrawal of US troops. The Iraq would fall in the hands of the enemies of the US “who are committed to attack us.” “We would desert our Iraqi friends and signal to the world that America’s words cannot be trusted.” So the speaker described the consequences of a premature withdrawal of the American “freedom mission.” According to America’s words, the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction made war unavoidable. Bush conceded in his speech that “America’s words” couldn’t be trusted when he admitted mistakes in the “justification of war.” The connection between secular Baathists and radical Islamists asserted by Washington did not exist. United action between secular Baathists and radical Islamists first occurred in resistance against the US occupation. The US itself created the terror problem that it pretends to combat.

The war president delivered his speech to the nation at a moment when its mood was lenient – under the impression of the Iraq elections. These elections, Bush said, were the “beginning of something new: constitutional democracy in the heart of the Middle East.” However that will not leave behind any lasting positive impression in the American nation if war and occupation continue. With its participation in the elections, the Iraqi population raised democratic and social claims that cannot be harmonized with the neoliberal colonialization of the country. No “speech to the nation” can dissolve this contradiction.