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The Rant

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Vice President Dick Cheney said that the insurgents in Iraq have increased the level of attacks to influence the outcome of the midterm U.S. congressional elections. President George W. Bush has said that victory for the Democrats would mean "the terrorists win and America loses."

Now there's a pair of the sleaziest, dumbest statements ever to dribble out of the mouths of two hack politicians. The statements brand these men as demagogues without a conscience and without a lot of brains.

First and foremost, it is Cheney and Bush who are the poster boys on the al-Qaeda recruiting Web sites. The Iraqi people want us out of Iraq, but not al-Qaeda. As far asal-Qaeda is concerned, we are right where it wants us -- occupying two Muslim countries and killing Muslims every day. The Bush administration is a dream come true for al-Qaeda because it makes all of al-Qaeda's propaganda believable.

Cheney can be forgiven, of course, for the tactical nonsense of his statement, since he strenuously avoided ever serving his country in uniform. You might recall that he said he had more important things to do during the Vietnam War, as if those 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam didn't. What an insult to America's dead heroes Cheney's statement was.

Senator John Kerry's lame "botched" joke to college students that if they don't study hard they will end up in Iraq was likewise an insult. What both of these men inadvertently revealed was their elitist attitude toward the rest of us American peasants.

To suppose that a disparate group of insurgents, mainly interested in killing each other, would have the tactical communications and control to modulate the number of American casualties based on the latest polling data in the U.S. is silly and absurd. A change of majorities in a midterm election is one of those arcane aspects of our system that even most Americans don't understand. Fat chance anybody in Iraq would, and, as I've already said, al-Qaeda is quite happy with the Bush-Cheney team. Furthermore, of course, Bush and Cheney are not on the ballot, so even if Democrats take control of one or both houses, the foreign policy will stay the same.

Besides, where else would al-Qaeda find anybody who could blunder as many times as this pair of bozos? Bush equates victory for Republicans with victory over terrorists. Where are your victories, Mr. President? You failed to prevent the attack on the World Trade Center. That was your FBI, your CIA, and your immigration service that allowed those terrorists to enter the country, live openly, enroll in flight schools, and pull off their attack. Where is your victory?

Then you failed to destroy al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The leaders of both organizations still live, and five years after your invasion, Americans are still fighting in Afghanistan. Where is your victory?

Next, you lied the American people into an invasion of Iraq, and that has been a cluster-blunder from the day you prematurely proclaimed "mission accomplished." That public-relations fiasco was more than three years and 2,800 dead Americans ago. Where is your victory? Where is even a tiny success? Many Iraqis are now saying they would rather have Saddam Hussein back than live in the chaos your blundering has caused.

Looking for victory or success or even for a strategy in the Bush administration is like looking for orchids in the desert. The wonders of mass marketing have given us two empty suits. Their intellectual cupboard is bare. Now facing an aroused American public, they have nothing to offer except slander and fantasy, both of which are probably the creations of master manipulator Karl Rove.

Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years. He writes for the Lew Rockwell Syndicate.

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