The media today is always trying to find new reasons why the Bush administration can't seem to gain any public support for its rhetoric about Iraq. Much of it, to be sure, is because of mounting casualties and because the situation is getting more and more out of control. But that still does not explain it - there were big casualties in other wars, but the public remained supportive of the President.
So what's going on? It's simple: this President, unlike any other, brazenly lied to America about why we went to war, and polls show Americans know he lied. All of his rhetoric now about helping spread freedom, stabilizing Iraq, and fighting terrorists there is not only at odds with reality on the ground, but it is insulting to Americans' intelligence, because it reminds us that he's trying to trick us into forgetting what we were told we were going to war for in the first place.
Everytime Bush talks about ending oppression and tyrrany, the average American thinks "but you told us all of this bloodshed was necessary because Saddam was an urgent danger to Americans." Everytime he talks about aiding democracy, the average American thinks "where was the imminent threat we were told about?" And everytime he justifies the American casualties, the average American thinks "where are the WMDs we were told to fear?"
This is why this president in particular will never find support for the Iraq War - because the war itself is a constant reminder that Bush and his administration are comfortable misleading America, even when it comes to the most sacred life and death decisions. Bush had the public's support before the war because we believed him about the imminent threat of WMD. He will never have it again, because the evidence proves that was a calculated and deliberate lie aimed to seize on our post-9/11 fears in order to pursue what we now know was a pre-determined agenda.
Interestingly, it seems many rank-and-file Republicans who actually interact with real people outside the Beltway understand this better than Bush. It is why they will spout the most brazen lies in hopes of convincing Americans that there really was an imminent threat from Iraq. Just look at North Carolina Rep. Robin Hayes today. He actually went on CNN and said "Saddam Hussein and people like him were very much involved in 9/11." That steaming pile of horse manure is par for the course - and proof that the GOP knows the danger that the President's massive credibility gap now poses to them.
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