February 28, 2007

A Little History for Someone Who Should Know Better

Birthed in a bid to silence dissent, one of the recurring memes of the Bush Administration is that the so-called Global War On Terror (GWOT) is somehow a modern echo of the "the last good war," World War II. Top officials from the president himself to former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld have made a concerted effort to link the sense of purpose and national peril faced by the United States in the early 1940's with the uninvolved war of choice we are prosecuting today in Iraq. Despite the White House's dogged determination to slather lipstick on the Iraq War swine, given more than a few moments thought, such a comparison is patently ridiculous.

Where Nazi Germany was one of the most powerful states in the world at the time, Iraq is a third world country; Nazi Germany possessed one of the mightiest militaries on the planet in the late thirties and early forties, while Iraq's forces had been bottled up and decimated by sanctions after the first Gulf War; World War II saw more than 407,000 American war dead, while in Iraq "only" about 3,100 have been killed (to date); World War II was fought using a draft and rationing at home, while the Iraq War is being shouldered entirely by volunteer armed forces, and there is virtually no effect on the average American who doesn't have friends or relatives in the service; etc., etc.

Still, last weekend, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave it another go, this time in reference to stated plans by Senate majority leadership to amend the authorization for the use of force Congress granted President Bush after 9/11. Saturday, on Fox News, Ms. Rice, who is reputed to have a bachelors degree, a masters degree and a doctorate in political science, spewed forth the following exercise in flop-sweat-soaked hyperbole:

I know it's extremely difficult. And yes, as the president has said, we've now overthrown Saddam Hussein. We are in a different situation, even, some would say, a different war. But the consolidation of a stable and democratic Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein is a part of what America owes to the Iraqi people, owes to the region and owes to ourselves so that our own security is there.

Chris, it would be like saying that after Adolf Hitler was overthrown, we needed to change, then, the resolution that allowed the United States to do that so that we could deal with creating a stable environment in Europe after he was overthrown. It's a part of a continuum of what we're trying to do in Iraq.

In addition to the examples I cited above of the utter, insulting inappropriateness of comparing World War II and the Iraq War, within this statement there is a consistent thread of not only what we've come to recognize as the usual misguided Bush Administration fear-mongering, but a level of ignorance and contempt for the intelligence of her audience that should remove any lingering doubts that Condoleezza Rice is completely unqualified for public office.

Keith Olbermann explains:

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