You might recall that in March of this year, during a press conference, veteran journalist Helen Thomas asked a brilliant question of George W. Bush: what was his REAL reason for invading Iraq?
She asked him "I'd like to ask you, Mr. President -- your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is: Why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, your Cabinet officers, former Cabinet officers, intelligence people and so forth -- but what's your real reason? You have said it wasn't oil, the quest for oil. It hasn't been Israel or anything else. What was it?" Read my coverage of that press conference at: http://progressiveminds.bloghi.com/2006/03/21/no-president-wants-war.html.
Months after being asked that question by Ms. Thomas, George Bush is still changing the rationale for why he went to war in Iraq. As an Associated Press article today notes, Bush keeps revising his justification for invading Iraq.
From the Associated Press:
President Bush keeps revising his explanation for why the U.S. is in Iraq, moving from narrow military objectives at first to history-of-civilization stakes now.
Initially, the rationale was specific: to stop Saddam Hussein from using what Bush claimed were the Iraqi leader's weapons of mass destruction or from selling them to al-Qaida or other terrorist groups.
But 3 1/2 years later, with no weapons found, still no end in sight and the war a liability for nearly all Republicans on the ballot Nov. 7, the justification has become far broader and now includes the expansive "struggle between good and evil."
Bush's changing rhetoric reflects increasing administration efforts to tie the war, increasingly unpopular at home, with the global fight against terrorism, still the president's strongest suit politically.
"We can't tolerate a new terrorist state in the heart of the Middle East, with large oil reserves that could be used to fund its radical ambitions, or used to inflict economic damage on the West," Bush said in a news conference last week in the Rose Garden.
When no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, Bush shifted his war justification to one of liberating Iraqis from a brutal ruler.
After Saddam's capture in December 2003, the rationale became helping to spread democracy through the Middle East. Then it was confronting terrorists in Iraq "so we do not have to face them here at home," and "making America safer," themes Bush pounds today.
"We're in the ideological struggle of the 21st century," he told a California audience this month. "It's a struggle between good and evil."
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