The war on terrorism continues

In his speech, U.S. President Bush proclaimed victory over Iraq and gives some food for thought in what he says and what he does not mention

It is always a question of how seriously one wants to take the rhetoric of politicians who try to tout their accomplishments. Difficult it is also in the last speech, which U.S. President gave on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. However, with all caution about the show and the rhetoric, some conclusions can be drawn for the future policy of the U.S. government from what was said and what was not said.

The S-3B Viking with co-pilot Bush lands on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln

It is well known that Bush prefers to speak in front of soldiers. This is a setting in which even those present show their submission to their supreme warlord just by their posture, who therefore likes to take off his suit and appear in a fancy uniform. The speeches are quiet, there is no criticism, but there is cheering and applause: that’s how a president of a democratic state likes it – and that’s how he wants to show his burghers as a recognized and acclaimed statesman and warrior via TV. Bush, who also served as a pilot in his military service, flew on the USS Abraham Lincoln as a co-pilot and in any case got off the jet in a pilot’s uniform. This gesture alone should not only demonstrate the solidarity of the president with the troops, but also that the U.S. must continue under Bush as a nation at war.

Bush began his speech – in the background a huge poster with the text that could not be overlooked: "Mission Accomplished" – but first with the success or victory message with which it announced the end of the "Main Fighting Actions" in Iraq and the beginning of the "Building up and securing" (at the same time, US Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld made the same declaration in Kabul during the war in Afghanistan). In order not to violate again the people’s right and the responsibility connected with it, Bush did not declare a victory yet. The war, Bush asserted, preferring to put aside the reason of disarming the regime, which was actually put forward before the war, was fought for freedom and peace in the world. Through the performance of the troops, the nation is now safer, the tyrant has fallen and Iraq has become free.

The war against terrorism continues

It is also interesting how Bush describes the war of the USA, which was naturally called by troops "job" was carried out in the best possible way. It is "with a combination of precision and speed and daring" The war against Iraq has been waged in a way that the enemy did not expect and the world had never seen before. The war against Iraq is included in the wars of the past, in which, as in Germany or Japan, the enemies were transformed into allies. Vietnam and other episodes are rather left aside. Also the reasons for the strengthening of the Hussein regime and the participation of the USA remain unmentioned – after all, one wants to string together one success after the other as a warlord, but not to appear as a thoughtful politician.

Bush particularly emphasizes the fact that American high-tech warfare achieves its goals largely without bloodshed. Whereas in the past war technology, including the atomic bomb, was developed to cause more and more casualties and entire cities had to be destroyed in order to achieve victory, this has now all changed. That is why, Bush suggests, it is far less questionable to enter into preventive wars of liberation such as the one just completed, since civilians were largely spared:

The war against terrorism continues

"Today, we have the greater power to liberate a nation by crushing a dangerous and aggressive regime. With new tactics and precision weapons, we can achieve military objectives without directing violence against civilians. No tool of man can solve the tragedy of war, but it is a gross moral advance when the guilty have far more to fear than the innocent."

Not a word about the victims of the war, not a word of apology to the relatives of killed civilians or journalists. This has perhaps stained too much the precision and cleanliness on which Bush is counting for the continuation of the war. Rather casually, Bush mentions in the context of the reconstruction efforts in post-war Iraq that they will also search for weapons of mass destruction at hundreds of known sites. The troops will stay, Bush promises or threatens, until the job is done and Iraq is free. There is clearly no talk of a role for the UN either.

However, what Bush wants to convey to U.S. citizens, mainly in anticipation of the start of the campaign for the presidential elections this fall, is that the war and victory in Iraq is only an intermediate phase in the long fight against terrorism. To make the 11.9. Bush will launch his campaign entirely under the banner of the attacks and ultimately want to feed off them. Against the war and security policy, i.e. the fear campaign, all other ies should take a back seat. The fact that international terrorism has been declining worldwide for several years, regardless of all the counterterrorism measures and military actions introduced by Bush, and that there was not a single attack in the U.S. in 2002, could only be a stumbling block here (the number of terrorist attacks declined in 2002). For Bush, Afghanistan and Iraq only mark victories that will and must be followed by others in order to keep the nation and the world in suspense and himself in power.

"The war in Iraq is a victory in a war on terror that began on 11. September 2001 – and is still going on. On that terrible morning, 19 evil men – the shock troops of an ideology filled with hate – showed America and the civilized world a glimpse of their intentions. They imagined that 11. September, in the words of one of the terrorists, "the beginning of the end of America" be. By trying to turn our cities into battlefields, the terrorists and their associates believed that they could destroy this nation’s resolve and force our retreat from the world. They failed."

One hunts down "al-Qaida killers" from Pakistan to the Philippines to the Horn of Africa. Killed or captured in the meantime, Bush claimed, "almost those of the leading al-Qaida members". The top enemy Bin Ladin, however, has not yet been caught by Bush’s hunters, if he is still alive. Regardless of the lack of evidence, Bush links Iraq not only to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, but also once again to al-Qaida. Bush knows that many Americans, after sufficient propaganda, believe in such a connection, and apparently he and his advisors believe that this connection is indispensable for the continuation of the al-Qaida war "Campaign against terror" whose genealogy goes back to the 11.9. has to point to. Do not forget the victims of the attacks with which the terrorists and their helpers declared war on the USA: "And war is what they got." Thereby the actions are always "focused and determined, and commensurate with the threat" been.

"The liberation of Iraq is a decisive step forward in the campaign against terror. We have removed a composite of al-Qaida and closed a source of terrorist funding," he said. And this much is certain: No terrorist network will receive weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the regime no longer exists."

Or because perhaps none had. In any case, Bush is making clear the continuation of the war that the United States was forced to fight on 11 September.9. The United States has been forced to take action against terrorists, and once again makes its "Principles" clear:

"Any person involved in the planning and execution of terrorist acts against the American people becomes an enemy of this country and a target of American justice."

That also included the people, organizations and states that in any way help, protect or shelter terrorists. Especially in the target are states, against which one can only really wage war. Bush does not mention any names yet, but the possible targets from North Korea to Iran, Syria or Saudi Arabia to Somalia will prepare themselves:

"An outlaw regime that has links with terrorist groups and seeks or possesses weapons of mass destruction is a grave danger to the civilized world – and it will be confronted."

Otherwise, America was committed to freedom and the spread of liberty. Freedom equals peace. At the very least, for the U.S., the use of force was and remains a last resort. The U.S. had a mission: to respond to threats to security and to keep the peace. How much the US government is indeed committed to freedom, it can now show in Iraq. Bush, at any rate, sees the U.S. as opposed to "other countries", who had also fought abroad but then remained there as occupiers and exploiters: "Americans only want to return home after a battle." It is strange, however, that the U.S. would then use a military "Footprint" in so many countries have.

Vice President Cheney, in a speech the same day at the conservative Heritage Foundation, made clear that the war against Iraq had shown, on the one hand, that the Pentagon’s military strategy, high-tech buildup, and reorientation had been successful, but that, on the other hand, this war was far from the end of the American war drive. The war against terror is "a long and focused work, not only because the terrorists work in the dark, but also because they have the support and backing of lawless states".

Cheney also links the Bush administration’s war to history. He refers to the fight against "ideologues of hatred and terror". The last victory, he says, was when the Berlin Wall came down and a "evil power has disappeared from the face of the earth" is:

Today freedom is confronted with a new kind of totalitarian enemies. Once again we are called upon to defend the security of our people and the hopes of all humanity."

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