By MARC MCDONALD
Like a relentless salesman who won't take no for an answer, George W. Bush has been peddling the Iraq War for six years now. And the American people are still steadfastly refusing to buy Bush's case for war.
Bush and his Kool-Aid drinking followers seem genuinely baffled and hurt that the American people want the war ended now.
After all, they argue, in increasingly shrill tones, if we leave Iraq, then Al Qaeda will "win," and America will surely be hit with another 9/11 terrorist attack.
Pretty strong words. And yet they fail to sway the American people.
In fact, the American people simply don't believe Bush's bullsh*t about Iraq. They want the war ended now. They want the troops brought home. They're deeply unhappy with Bush's handling of the war. And Bush's approval ratings remain in the toilet.
Bush and his followers point the finger at countless suspects in trying to explain why the Iraq War remains so deeply unpopular with the American people.
It's the media's fault, they say. It's the liberal bloggers' fault. It's the Democrats' fault. It's the fault of the American people (who clearly don't see the threat the nation faces).
Bush has had enormous help in selling his war over the years. The mainstream media, which helped Bush sell the case for invading Iraq in the first place, has now gone to bat for Bush to sell the idea that the surge is a success (despite strong evidence that it's a failure). And even the military (which is supposed to be non-partisan) has stepped up to the plate to help Bush sell the surge.
What Bush and his followers have never grasped is that necessary wars don't have to be sold at all.
If a war is really essential, the American people have shown time and again that they will not only support it, but they will make whatever sacrifices are needed to achieve victory. They'll accept rationing. They'll accept higher taxes. They'll even line up to buy war bonds.
FDR never had to sell the war against the Axis Powers. The American people understood the necessity of World War II.
Back in 2003, Americans briefly were swayed by Bush's argument that we needed to invade Iraq. With the help of the corporate media, Bush hammered away the idea that Iraq had terrifying Weapons of Mass Destruction that posed a mortal threat to America.
At the time, a few rational voices were disputing Bush's case for war. We rejected the silly idea that a small, isolated Third World desert nation with no industry could somehow pose a threat to America. We even rejected the term "Weapons of Mass Destruction," which is a term that belongs in comic books, not in the real world.
Indeed, in the build-up to war, some of us were arguing that the real question wasn't whether the nation should invade Iraq. Instead, we were wondering what, exactly, American taxpayers had been getting in return for the trillions of dollars we'd sunk into the Pentagon money pit over the decades.
The Pentagon, apparently, couldn't protect America even though our nation spent more on defense than the rest of the world combined. What was wrong with this picture?
Fast-forward five years later and America is totally sick and tired of Bush's Iraq disaster. Not only is the Bush legacy in the toilet, but the Republican Party itself has been seriously wounded by the fiasco of the Bush years.
At this point, the only people who want the Iraq War to continue are Bush and his followers, and Al Qaeda. Although the MSM has done a poor job of reporting it, the fact is that U.S. intelligence has long believed that Al Qaeda wants the U.S. military to remain in Iraq.
It's no mystery why Al Qaeda wants the war to continue. After all, the Iraq War has been a fantastic boon to Al Qaeda. The photos from Abu Ghraib alone have done wonders for Al Qaeda recruitment. Countless young Muslim men have been radicalized by their anger over the bloodshed in Iraq.
Before the Iraq War, Bin Laden was regarded as an embarrassment to many moderate Muslims around the world. But since 2003, Bin Laden's stature and prestige has risen sharply in much of the Muslim world.
Bush's original reason for invading Iraq (the non-existent WMDs) turned out to be a fraud. Since then, Bush has tried to retroactively justify his war by coming up with numerous other reasons why the war was necessary.
The most contemptible and blatant lie Bush has peddled has been his insistence that the Iraq War is somehow connected to the 9/11 attacks and that U.S. withdrawal will lead to more such attacks.
Given such fear-mongering, it's quite remarkable that the American people continue to hold Bush in such low esteem. In effect, we the people are calling Bush a liar.
If the Iraq War was really necessary, Bush wouldn't need to lift a finger to sell it. Instead, selling the war has consumed his presidency.
If there's a silver lining to all this, it's that Iraq so consumed Bush that he was unable to spend as much time foisting his extreme radical right corporatist agenda on the American people.