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Bush's Fort Bragg Speech « Previous | |Next »
July 2, 2005

I only caught snippets of President Bush's Fort Bragg speech on the news during the week. I read it this morning after returning home from doing the household's shopping at the Central Market in Adelaide.

I presume that Bush's speech, which was give before an audience of 740 troops in North Carolina, was directed at shoring up support amongst the wavering Republican base as the constant trickle of US casualties works its way through the noise of contemporary American politics.


It is a speech to rally flagging domestic Republican for the war---being supportive of the war is patriotic---because the case being made is just not convincing. Consider this link between 9/11 and Iraq:

Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women and children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York and Washington and Pennsylvania.

Note how the weapons of mass destruction have been replaced by murderous ideology. Tis an ever changing rationale for the Bush crusade.

This link was then reinforced by Bush:

We are fighting against men with blind hatred and armed with lethal weapons who are capable of any atrocity. They wear no uniform; they respect no laws of warfare or morality. They take innocent lives to create chaos for the cameras. They are trying to shake our will in Iraq, just as they tried to shake our will on September 11, 2001. They will fail.

There is nothing in the speech about the US about turning Iraq into a bastion of American military power in the Middle East. Nothing about putting empire ahead of democracy.

What is also left unsaid is that Bush created the terrorism groups in Iraq through his little war and continued occupation. It is the US empire that has turned Iraq into the battle ground against Islamic fundamentalism. Under Saddam Hussein the all dissent and rebellion was repressed by a totalitarian police state.

Al lot of the speech consists of American-style freedom and democracy preaching, though there is less emphasis on freedom as God's plan for mankind. There is also is a great emphasis on an exit strategy for the US, though little was said about a phased retreat through negotiations with the enemy. (Who exactly are they going to negotiate with, if not the terrorists?)

Does the exit strategy mean the US will allow Iraq to slide steadily ever deeper into Iran's orbit? I wonder what the Israeli's think of that scenario?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:36 AM | | Comments (10)


Yeh the speech was odd. Even if they are trying to lay their paws on their base again, it was pretty poor. I recall reading that apparently this Administration thinks Vietnam was lost because the Administrations of the day thought the war was lost and let that seep into the media. I dont think they give the American people enough credit.

Americans arent stupid. They know that there has been sustained violence in Iraq for the last several years. They know that the Administration has changed their tune on the "why" constantly, yet not changed their tactics as the situation has demanded. The American smoko room knows, and has opinions on this. Bush bleating the same line over and over wont cut it.

There is also genuine discomfort that America has tortured people. Americans do believe they are good people and that their nation represents them by being a "good" nation. Torture is alien to the American view of themselves, and the practices that have gone on at Abu Graib and Guantanamo are quite simply, "not American".

Bush is treading dangerously here, he is playing Americans for fools, and no-one likes that. I suspect his polls are currently reflecting that sentiment.


If a majority of Americans don't think the war is worth it and want to start bringing the 140,000 troops home, and Bush's popularity is at a record low, then the crude appeal to patriotism and the onward march of freedom as national destiny is a blocking operation to keep the Republican wagons in a circle.

The speech was powerful visual message as it said that if you have a problem with the President, then you also have a problem with the troops.

It's pretty thin: the spin machine is suggesting that if you're against the war you don't support the troops.That does not address the body bags coming home, or that the US occupation forces can't defeat the insurgency militarily.

Stikes me that the neo-cons have run out of ideas. Maybe the corrupt Cheney administration should start talking about empire and beating up Iran.

Gary, That has been their message constantly though, and it is wearing thin. It is only picked up with fervour by the talk-back radio stations. I am in a redstate and those types of comments earn a roll of the eyes from people now.

They are losing the trust of the people because they are incompetent and unable to adapt to changing circumstance. I think this is also why Congress is happy to beat on Bush too now.

I dont think Iran is achievable, the US doesnt have the troops to do it. The Army requires a high tail to teeth ratio and most of trigger pullers are already in Iraq. If the trigger puller arent already in Iraq, then they just came home from there, or getting prepared to leave for Iraq again.

I also dont think Bush got re-elected to expand the war, merely to see Iraq through to some semblance of stability. Which he has not been able to do. I suspect this too is where he is losing support in the polls.

from what I can make out from the perspective on the edge of the Pacific Rim is that the hallmark of national politics in the US since 9/11 has been the intense partisanship and ideological strife in a closely divided nation.

The Republicans have won this--witness Bush's defeat of John Kerry, the Republicans gaining House and Senate seats in both 2002 and 2004 to win control, and Bush overcoming resistance to his war strategy and his tax-cut-centered economic strategy in his first term. The Republicans are in the ascendency.

Are you arguing that this political ascendency is changing? That the ground is shifting under Bush's feet?

Gary, The Republicans picked up seats in the House because of the gerry-mandering/redistricting of Texas. I think that brought them four new seats. The US desperately needs an equivalent of the AEC. Some states have the judicial set electoral boundaries (Colorado? and Utah? IIRC) but the rest let the state legislature draw them. Which is an incredibly bad idea.

Senate is different. It is interesting to note that the Senators tend to be more populist as their districts arent gerry-mandered. They can face genuine voter backlash.

I dont know if there is a sea change in opinion against the Republicans. Bush is looking weak and the standard abuse of power stories are starting to appear. Hastert and DeLay run the house like the NSW Right with Graham Richardson writing their playbook. It looks like the Plame affair might have legs now that Rove is implicated.

Republicans run the risk of being one trick ponies, and one message ponies. I think the lack of popularity is the electorate tiring of the same ol', same ol'.

The Republican Administration played the national security policy hand with the strong use of military force to defend empire very well --'We are engaged in World War IV and must defeat the Islamic terrorists. That card plays well in a deeply religious country, such as the United States.

Nothing is said by the Republicans about the deep geopolitical and economic interests that have contributed to shaping U.S. policy in the Middle East.

The Republican strategy placed the Democrats on the back foot. They were not all that muscular or tough on national security. They looked weak.

It appears to me that the Democrats are becoming convinced that the country has turned against the war in Iraq. You appear to confirm this by saying that the country is in a sceptical mood and the public is growing tired of Bush.

But that does not shake the hold the Republicans have on national security, and their constant use of terrorism to reinforce that emotional template that is locked into American First.

Yet American conservatives must be starting to become divided over whether, if they knew then what they know now, they would have supported military action in, and occupation of, Iraq.

The key problem I have with the Democrats is that they have allowed the Cheney Adminstration to disguise geopolitical designs in the Middle East under the language of promoting a crusade of freedom and democracy in the world.

Gary, Many Democrats agree with the Republican approach. For instance, Biden, Lieberman, Zell Miller, Kerry etc.

I dont think there is a clear party divide there. both parties were in a kind of agreeance on what to do about the Middle East. In the Democrats, only Howard Dean disagreed with the Washington establishment.

If so, then why did the Democrats fall so deeply into what the Republicans at Murdoch's Weekly Standard calls the national security trap?

If it looks as if the White House is beginning to admit that the Iraq war might not end happily for the US. The US strategy of putting together a working Iraqi government and then exiting Iraq is undercut by a civil war (Sunni's against the American occupiers and Shiites) as well as an insurgency.

Where are the Democrats? The Bush Adminstration is in its second term and Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney and Rove will soon be gone. Does that mean the neo-con imperative of the war is gone? Does that not mean that the Bush moral tough guy rationale, 'we are doing this because it had to be done', has evaporated?

I think the "national security trap" is imagined. New Hampshire and Iowa chose Kerry specifically because he was a war hero. It didnt stop the Swift Boat Veterans dirtying the discourse in what amounted to a massive whisper campaign.

The Republican noise machine constantly harps on this issue. Then again the Democrat moise machine constantly harps on about how they are for strong defence and support the troops.

You can probably look to Reagan's media savviness for having current Americans believe that the Republicans are strong on defence.

doesn't strong on defence also mean strong on empire?

The Democrats obscure this by saying that the key problem with Iraq was intelligence failure and so the nation was somehow misinformed about Saddam’s weapons (or lack of them).

Tis deeper than that account.

As George Galloway pointed out to Senate Subcommittee on Investigations, Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction; it had no connection to 9/11, and it had no ties to al-Qaeda. The Iraqi's were telling the truth on this at the time but they got bombed and invaded anyhow.

Hence empire expressed in terms of a pro-war, pro-imperialist (and very pro-Israel) foreign policy that has been coupled to an Evangelical Protestantism that forefully advocates a crusade theory in which the United States is believed to embody God’s will and its enemies are "God’s enemies."

From what I can make out the Democrats do not constitute a serious domestic political opposition to the empire talk. That means America's future is one of war.