Stop me if you've heard this before: The attacks of 9/11 changed everything; oceans won't protect us anymore; Iraq is the world's center of terrorist activity, and we're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here. Oh, and it's my job to protect you, and the world is better off without Saddam.
That, in a nutshell, was President Bush's speech in Cleveland Monday on the occasion of the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. And that is almost precisely the speech he gave on the first and second anniversaries of the invasion. You could look it up.
It's like Bush is playing the Bill Murray role in Groundhog Day. Thankfully, polling numbers indicate that a vast majority of Americans have heard the rhetoric too many times, and they simply don't believe it anymore. And how could they? It's demonstrably false -- all of it.
The 9/11 attacks united the world in sympathy for America, but we quickly squandered it by using the attacks as an excuse for invading Iraq. Most Americans have figured out that fighting them "over there" does not preclude having to deal with an attack here. And they know that since, oh, the invention of ships, oceans have never protected us from attack.
It's even arguable whether or not the world is "better off" without Saddam. Ask the family who's lost a son or daughter to combat if they'd make that trade again. (Not that Bush or any of the other chickenhawks running this fiasco would know anything about that kind of sacrifice.)
The Flyer has opposed this war from day one. We've "stayed the course," if you will. But we, unlike the president, understand that stubbornness is not leadership, inflexibility is not strength. Americans were once fooled by this administration's emotional manipulations and false patriotism, but no more. They have tired of the incompetency, the cronyism, and the hollow rhetoric. They've heard enough. They want it to stop.
And it's about damn time.
Bruce VanWyngarden, Editor