This afternoon on my way home from work I was listening to Bush 43 give a speech about Iraq. It was the standard White House fare… Iraq is the most important front in the War on Terror… we remain firm in our commitment to supporting freedom in Iraq… blah, blah, blah. I was settling in for a nice bout of day dreaming when Bush switched metaphorical gears on me. In honor of Pearl Harbor, he compared 9/11 to the attack by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. I got to thinking about the years following Pearl Harbor (from what I’ve read, not from life experience), and how it might have compared to post-9/11 America. To be fair, the “good ‘ole days” had their share of questionable actions in the name of “security” too. As many Americans of Japanese decent can attest, Bush 43 didn’t invent the term “internment.”
Say what you will about how WWII ended, but there was a pretty clear connection between the attackers at Pearl Harbor and the Empire of Japan (those big red “zeros” painted on the planes was a subtle hint). It wasn’t like we were attacked by a bunch of Saudis, went over there looking for a little “pay back,” flew north to Mecca, turned right and kept going until we got to the Euphrates, attacking the next country over. No, wait…
Lets review some recent history: 9/11 = terrorism. Saddam Hussein = very bad guy. However…. Prior to the U.S. invasion, Iraq may have had fewer ties to terrorism than almost every other middle-eastern country. Iraq had no W.M.D.’s for it’s own use, let alone to sell to terrorists. There were no ties between Iraq and the planning/execution of the terrorist’s plans for 9/11. Therefore, Iraq does not equal 9/11, and does not equal a War on Terrorism.
Bush hasn’t exactly built on the principles of “honest Abe” in Lincoln’s Grand Old Party. A recent Gallop Poll (11/14/2005) served up a delicious slice of irony for the man who promised to “return honesty and integrity to the White House.” By a margin of 53% to 30%, American adults indicated they trusted what Bill Clinton said while he was president more than what George Bush has said while he has been president (16% thought their word was equally worthless, and 1% had no opinion).
Pearl Harbor… 9/11… Pearl Harbor… 9/11… Both were terrible. Both will live on as turning points in American history. Both justified swift, military reactions. But will both be viewed by history as the catalyst for America’s prolonged AND justified involvement in armed conflict?
If the President wants to address his poll numbers, a good start would be to cease the disingenuous and dishonest connections between 9/11 and the conflict in Iraq. It would appear that the American public is slow, but it’s gradually catching on.