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Bush in his Helmet Stands Watch on the Rhine

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Bush's latest argument for staying in Iraq is shocking testimony to the fantasy world he inhabits. "If we withdraw before the job is done," he says, "the enemy will follow us here." In his fantasy world the 'enemy' is a uniformed army poised to invade the United States. He's living out the drama of World War II--the "Watch on the Rhine" argument--"if our armies don't fight the Germans in France we'll be fighting them in Ohio". This was the 'lesson' of World War II, one that has been trotted out repeatedly to justify our invasions of little countries the world over. The irony is that many, if not most, of the rabid anti-communists who first made use of this argument in the late 1940s and early 1950s were pro-Hitler isolationists in the 1930s, before the atom bomb, when the argument had some validity.

Bush doesn't seem to realize that (1) it isn't 1940, (2) no one on the planet has the capacity to invade the United States, (3) terrorists aren't national armies, but networks of individuals with no real national allegiances, and (4) whether they're "here" or not has nothing to do with Iraq, except that the Iraq invasion has created an awful lot more of them.

Has his mental illness reached the stage where he really believes that if we leave Iraq a horde of bearded Iraqi dissidents will suddenly descend on customs officials at JFK, trying to smuggle in weapons of mass destruction?

While Bush has been playing tin soldier in Iraq, Europeans have actually been apprehending terrorists. While the Bush administration has been cutting corners on security at home to pay for the war, other countries have been expanding and sharing intelligence. While the Bush administration has been making PR noises with colored alerts and dire warnings, and arresting a few incompetent bozos who couldn't blow up a coke bottle with a grenade, the British have foiled a major terrorist assault. This is because everyone else in the world seems to be aware that the 'war' on terrorism is not a war but a police operation.

Some will argue that Bush isn't nuts, that the Iraq war was never about terrorism, but about getting control of Iraqi oil. And how rational did that turn out to be? Where's all that oil, and how much control over it do we have now?

Or that the war was about countering the power of Iran--the reason Rummy and Saddam were such bosom buddies during the eighties, when we were supplying Saddam with weapons. And how rational was that plan? Since the war in Iraq has now made the influence of Iran greater than ever?

Or that the war was intended as a prelude to Armageddon, when all the Muslims will be banished to Hell and the neo-cons will be swept up to their special heaven, where they'll get to sit on the right hand of Hitler and be waited on by naked SS men..

When you get right down to it there just isn't any rational foundation for the Iraq war, just a choice between different brands of nuttiness. Whether you opt for the so-called 'realpolitik' motives or the out-and-out bizarre ones, reality has been banished from Washington.