President Bush answered growing antiwar protests yesterday with a fresh reason for US troops to continue fighting in Iraq: protection of the country's vast oil fields, which he said would otherwise fall under the control of terrorist extremists.
NO! The war, about oil? You're KIDDING!
What I really like about this article from the Boston Globe is the headline — Bush Gives New Reason for Iraq War. It seems like the administration has a new reason ready every time people start to get a little more restless than they were before. This "new" reason brings us full circle, as many people suspected this was the reason behind the war in the first place.
But what is really shocking about the President's remarks yesterday is the audacity demonstrated when he compared the current situation to World War II, and himself to President Franklin Roosevelt.
"Once again, war came to our shores with a surprise attack that killed thousands in cold blood," Bush said. "Once again, we face determined enemies who follow a ruthless ideology that despises everything America stands for. Once again, America and our allies are waging a global campaign with forces deployed on virtually every continent. And once again, we will not rest until victory is America's and our freedom is secure."
Here's the difference. In WWII, we were attacked by Japan. We retaliated against Japan. Beyond that, most of the world was polarized, divided into the Axis and the Allies, and embroiled in a global struggle against fascism and genocide. In the current war, we were attacked by a terrorist group, not a nation, and clear ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda have never been established (in my opinion, at least, and in the opinions of many). We retaliated not directly against those who attacked us, but a nation that may or may not be directly connected. And the world is not standing with us — that is simple fact, and while the administration seems to think that simply stating that we have the support of the world will make it so, it does not change the fact that in the end, we are going this one largely alone.
I won't make the obvious comparison here, because I think it is as ridiculous as Bush comparing himself to Roosevelt, but I guarantee that in the next few days, others will make similar connections to WWII — but to the other side. Bush clarified nothing we didn't know already... but he may have opened the door to more criticism than ever with these remarks.