By MARC MCDONALD
In the build-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the world saw the largest series of demonstrations ever, as millions of anti-war protesters took to the streets around the globe.
Fast-forward to Sept. 24, 2005. Once again, anti-war protesters are taking to the streets in Washington, D.C. and London, and elsewhere.
Bush will, of course, ignore the marching masses this weekend who oppose his evil war for oil---just as he ignored the protesters of 2003. That much is given---but what worries me more is whether the mainstream media in this country will cover the demonstrations, or give them the same short shrift it gave the massive demonstrations of 2003.
The largely middle-class, pampered and carefully groomed members of the mainstream media have already made a startling discovery about this country when they were rooting around in New Orleans, looking for sensational video footage opportunities in Katrina's aftermath. That is: that there are desperately poor people in this country.
If the mainstream media bothers to do much reporting on this weekend's demonstrations, it might also be enlightened to another fact: that a majority of the American and British people are sick and tired of this evil war and they want our troops brought home now.
One thing that I will give the Republicans credit for is that they are determined and relentless. If Clinton had launched this war and later found that it was all based on lies, there would've been a lot of agonized soul-searching within the Democratic Party.
By contrast, now that Bush's war rationale has been exposed as a fraud, he continues to draw fanatical support from his rabid followers. None of the Bush partisans seem to remember why Bush said we needed to invade Iraq in the first place. The term "Weapons of Mass Destruction" (easily the most common phrase appearing in the mainstream media in 2003) has completely disappeared from the White House's vocabulary (except to pop up on one occasion during a truly sick "comedy skit," in which Bush made light of the whole issue).
Now, the Bush Bots and the mainstream media have gone into overdrive trying to convince the American people that the Iraq war was about bringing democracy to the Iraqis all along. The media has worked hard to portray the war as an endeavor that, while perhaps somewhat flawed, is based on noble, lofty ideals.
This weekend, as thousands again march in the streets to protest the war, it's important to remember a crucial fact that's been overlooked over the past two years.
That is: the Iraq war is, and always was, about one thing: oil.
Anyone who believes otherwise is simply naive.
Are we really to believe that if a Saddam-like figure had emerged in some obscure (and resource-poor) region of the world, that the U.S. would really care?
Oh, sure, the U.S. might file a diplomatic protest, or denounce the dictator at a press conference. But there's no way on earth that we'd spend hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of U.S. soldiers' lives to launch an invasion.
Bush and his fanatical followers can babble on all day about the "noble" mission to bring peace and democracy to Iraq. But this war never had anything to do with lofty ideals. It's all about the oil.
If Bush was really a friend of democracy, he might do the following:
1. Stop trying to overthrow the democratically-elected (and genuinely popular) Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela.
2. Stop propping up the evil dictatorship of Saudi Arabia---a nation where beheadings and torture are rife. (While he's at it, Bush should ask the Saudis to let our investigators examine the Al-Qaeda money trail).
3. Repeal the "USA Patriot Act," the most serious assault on American democracy in our nation's history.
4. Stop stealing elections, which, of course, the Bush team did in 2000 and 2004, with the help of a crooked partisan Supreme Court and a rabidly pro-GOP corporation, Diebold, which "counted" the 2004 votes.
5. Last, but not least, Bush ought to stop dragging the noble ideal of democracy through the mud by trying to associate it with this evil war in Iraq.
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