Published on Sunday, September 4, 2005 by the San Francisco Chronicle
Bush's New Reasons for the Iraq War
by Helen Thomas
President Bush , apparently running out of rationales for the U.S. war in Iraq, has resorted to putting that ill-planned invasion in the same category as World War II.
Bush tried to wrap himself in the aura of Franklin D. Roosevelt last week when he commemorated the 60th anniversary of V-J Day. With public opinion polls showing more and more Americans critical of the Iraq war, Bush used the anniversary ceremonies at the naval air station in San Diego to express concern that Americans might return to a "pre-mindset of isolation and retreat, " indicating that it was the same as the isolationism that Franklin D. Roosevelt encountered before the Pearl Harbor attack.
Making his third speech in a week to rally public support for the war, Bush compared his resolve to FDR's during World War II. He said the U.S. mission in Iraq is to turn that country into a democratic ally, just as the United States did with Japan after World War II.
Bush is off base in making a comparison between the Iraqi conflict and World War II. For one thing, the United States instigated the current war with an unprovoked attack on Iraq.
If the World War II analogy doesn't convince you, the president came up with yet another defense for the U.S. invasion. He warned that terrorists such as Osama bin Laden would take over its oil fields if the United States loses in Iraq.
A key difference between Bush and FDR is that Roosevelt knew the value of having allies and friends in wartime.
Roosevelt believed strongly in collective security and helped pave the way for creation of the United Nations. Bush has already shown his disdain for that organization with his go-it-alone foreign policy.
Bush had a world of goodwill when al Qaeda delivered its catastrophic attack on Sept. 11. But he squandered this reservoir with the unilateral invasion of Iraq, which had nothing to do with Sept. 11. To this day, Bush artfully -- and shamefully -- continues to link Iraq with Sept. 11.
Bush has not won supporters for the war nor has he produced any justification for the sacrifice of Americans and Iraqis.
Roosevelt envisioned a future world of peace after the war. Bush looks at Iraq as "the first war of the 21st century."