Bush losing "big mo'" -- do US rulers need liberal pres. to lead "war on terrorism"?

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Tue Jul 29 19:40:22 MDT 2003

The administration of George W. Bush III in the wake of the occupation
of Iraq is beginning to look a little like the administration of
George W. Bush II in the wake of the Gulf War.  It is becoming clear
again, as happened after the Gulf War, that the goal of establishing a
stable and reliable imperialist protectorate in Iraq is still a long
way from being achieved.  In the Gulf War, Saddam's troops were
abandoned by the government and no fight took place. The Bush
administration backed away from splitting with its allies in order to
take Baghdad, and chose instead to prop up Saddam against rebels who
were not under US control. In the second war, the weakness of Saddam's
regime led to an easy victory which, however, failed to confront and
defeat the people of Iraq.

In both cases, the uncompleted victory, coupled with economic problems
in the US, blocked the way to a more aggressive course, and the rulers
turned to the liberal Clinton to take the process the next steps --
the war with Yugoslavia, the continual bombings of Iraq, the brutal
enforcement of sanctions, the bombings of Sudan and Afghanistan, and a
sharp expansion of police-state measures.

Its beginning to look like "anybody but Bush" -- which really means "a
prowar Democratic critic of Bush like Graham, Gephardt, or Dean is
fine with us" -- may be the slogan of a substantial part of the US
ruling class in 2004

The following article is a good summary of the tendency for the Bush
administration -- having pretty much shot its credibility wad to get
the country into and through the war to occupy Iraq -- to run out of
Fred Feldman

By Eric Marquardt

Power and Interest News Report
July 24, 2003


The continuing failure to find significant quantities of
chemical and biological weapons in Iraq, coupled with
increasing domestic and international distaste over a forged
document used by the Bush administration to make its case
for invading Iraq, will make it much more difficult for
Washington to achieve the foreign policy objectives
envisioned following the September 11 attacks as articulated
in the September 2002 National Security Strategy.

With the coming to power of the Bush administration, a
faction within the conservative stratum in Washington ---
commonly referred to as the neo-conservatives and made up of
members from a variety of think-tanks such as the American
Enterprise Institute and the Project for the New American
Century --- gained much political clout.

This faction, its most noticeable member being Deputy Secretary of
Paul Wolfowitz, put into motion a broad foreign policy
strategy in which the United States would act as a global
hegemon and eliminate all possible threats to its interests.

The purpose of such a policy was to prevent American global
economic hegemony from being damaged, and, more importantly,
to set the foundation for an international framework
revolving around Washington that would project the United
States' massive power far into the 21st century. As written
in the National Security Strategy, "The great struggles of
the twentieth century between liberty and totalitarianism
ended with a decisive victory for the forces of freedom --
and a single sustainable model for national success:
freedom, democracy, and free enterprise."

One of the major goals of this foreign policy was to
"reshape" the Middle East into a form suitable to
Washington's national and economic interests. The invasion
of Iraq was the first step towards this goal. The United
States was able to easily eliminate the Saddam Hussein
regime in Iraq, which was largely defenseless due to the
extremely strict U.N. sanctions established during the Bush
administration of the early 1990s and tightly enforced
through the eight years of the Clinton administration.

By removing Saddam Hussein --- which was a policy long-pushed
by members of the current Bush administration throughout
their years working for various think-tanks during the 1990s
--- the Bush administration was able to project U.S. power
into the heart of the Middle East due to the ensuing
occupation of Iraq.

After having achieved the primary objectives of removing
Saddam Hussein from power and saturating the country with
U.S. military personnel, the Bush administration was then
able to more directly continue their broad objective of
reshaping the Middle East. The administration has continued
to argue that Syria and Iran --- two countries critical of
U.S. foreign policy --- are threats to the United States,
its firm ally Israel, and, in general, the "free world."

However, it is now unlikely that this administration still
has the political leverage to continue a policy of "regime
change." While Washington never achieved international
political legitimacy to invade Iraq, it was able to secure
domestic political legitimacy, as most of the American
population supported the Bush White House before, during and
immediately after the march to Baghdad.

Yet with the failure
to find the alleged massive stockpiles of WMD in Iraq, in
addition to embarrassing evidence demonstrating that the
Bush administration used forged documents in their political
case against Baghdad, the U.S. has lost nearly all
international legitimacy it may still have had, while at the
same time is rapidly losing domestic legitimacy.

President Bush's domestic approval ratings have been steadily
dropping, and more Americans are beginning to feel that the
White House was unprepared for the occupation of Iraq.
According to a USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll published on July
1, 56 percent of the U.S. population believes the occupation
to be going well. In the first week of June, this number was
at 70 percent and in May at 88 percent.

The failure of the Bush administration to prove their case
for invading Iraq has led to an awakening of America's
current opposition party: the Democrats. Such obvious gaffes
currently being made by the administration have given the
Democratic Party the perfect opportunity to find an issue to
use to weaken support for the current administration.
Furthermore, it cannot be forgotten that the Bush
administration barely won the presidential election of 2000
and failed to win the popular vote.

Up until the September 11 attacks, when the United States as a whole
receded into
an embryonic state of nationalism, the Bush administration
remained starkly unpopular, and the president himself was a
frequent object of ridicule throughout U.S. media and
society. Much of this administration's domestic and foreign
policy successes have been the result of the lack of debate
and disagreement within U.S. society, mostly having to due
with the historical fear of criticizing an administration
during a time of war.

But now the White House's layer of protective political fat
is thinning and its future looks bleak. This ominous turn of
events for the Bush administration will make it very
difficult for it to achieve its spectacular foreign policy
objectives of reshaping the Middle East and realigning the
world in a form where U.S. power is firmly accountable to no
other entity, not even the United Nations.

The continuing stagnation of the U.S. economy, the failure to
Iraq, and the growing domestic debate over the White House's
case to go to war will all act to weaken the political power
of the Bush administration and work to greatly reduce the
possibility of Washington making controversial policy
decisions at home and abroad. Barring a great economic
upswing, or a flowering of Iraqi civil society under U.S.
occupational rule, the Bush administration may have to
follow a more conservative national security strategy.

--Report Drafted By:  Erich Marquardt

The Power and Interest News Report (PINR) is an
analysis-based publication that seeks to, as objectively as
possible, provide insight into various conflicts, regions
and points of interest around the globe. PINR approaches a
subject based upon the powers and interests involved,
leaving the moral judgments to the reader. PINR seeks to
inform rather than persuade.

Mark K. Jensen
Associate Professor of French
Chair, Dept. of Languages and Literatures
Pacific Lutheran University

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