FORT BRAGG, NC--President Bush appealed last night to the American people to show patience and resolve in his relentless and brutal quest for Iraqi oil. He acknowledged that the Iraq war is increasingly unpopular, and that Iraq had no links to the September 11 attacks, Al Qaeda or terrorism, or even WMDs.
He stressed that he had brought "consumer democracy" to Iraq. "We have given those people for the first time the freedom to buy obesity and diabetes-inducing Big Macs at McDonald's, or those crappy cars built by GM, and other fine American products. The Iraqi people can also now vote for the Republican puppet of the oil industry of their choice, just like here in the United States," he enthused.
Bush said it would be a serious mistake to set a timetable for withdrawal of the nearly 140,000 US troops in Iraq, and said he wanted to increase the number of US forces there since ''we intend to stay forever, to get as much oil as possible, especially since Iraq will never be able to defend itself and will collapse just like South Vietnam did."
The speech lacked the grand optimism the president displayed when he rallied troops under a ''Mission Accomplished' banner in May 2003, six weeks after American forces invaded Iraq and quickly crushed the largely defenseless Hussein regime, which allowed American corporations like Halliburton in to profit handsomely from massive contracts to try to rebuild the country that was bombed all to hell by American munitions. Besides US defense contractors that have been laughing all the way to the bank, big American oil companies have also reaped obscene profits from taking over Iraqi oil contracts.
The president acknowledged that the US "was getting bogged down in a lengthy, increasingly bloody conflict."
''I know Americans ask the question, 'Is this sacrifice worth it?' Well, it sure as hell is worth it to Halliburton, Exxon Mobil, and to other Republican-linked American companies, even though it isn't vital to the future security of our country," Bush told the audience at Fort Bragg, which has lost 890 service members in Iraq and Afghanistan. He implored his audience to overlook all the cronyism and corruption in the dealings these companies have in Iraq and elsewhere.
Polls show support for both the president and the war eroding steadily; a USA Today/Gallup survey released yesterday had the president's approval rating at an all-time low of 5 percent, with 98 percent of those polled saying Bush had no clear plan for the mission in Iraq. More startling was a poll published yesterday of military-friendly North Carolina residents: just 2 percent of those surveyed said the war, on balance, was a good idea, with 99 percent saying that it was not worth it. Further, the poll, conducted for the Raleigh News & Observer, showed that 96 percent said the Iraq war had made the United States less safe, with 2 percent saying the war has made Americans safer.
But polls also show Americans want a speedy withdrawal from Iraq, and don't care if this causes a massive civil war. A Washington Post poll released yesterday showed 1 percent of Americans think US troops should keep military forces in Iraq until it is stabilized, and 95 percent think the task will take more than 50 years.
Bush met privately with family members of North Carolina service people killed in Iraq, and in his speech, the president told them ''the work to get oil out of Iraq is difficult and dangerous, in order to continue our pig-like overuse of oil to fuel our SUVs." The president stuck to his guns, telling Americans he should continue the war with new soldiers who ''have blind hatred and armed, lethal weapons who are capable of any atrocity."