Al Jazeerah reports on President Bush’s State of the Union address, that Bush lumped Sunni and Shi’ite extremists together as “faces of the same totalitarian threat. Whatever slogans they chant, when they slaughter the innocent they have the same wicked purposes. They want to kill Americans, kill democracy in the Middle East, and gain the weapons to kill on an even more horrific scale.”
There is no sign here of any analysis of the differences these groups have with each other that have led to civil war in Iraq. Instead, Bush focuses on the threat both pose to United States’ imperial presence. “This war is more than a clash of arms — it is a decisive ideological struggle, and the security of our nation is in the balance.” Bush thus justifies “spreading freedom.”
“The people of Iraq want to live in peace,” Bush claims; after an estimated 655,000 excess deaths since the American-led invasion, I would imagine they would like just to live.
Bush barely mentioned Afghanistan, claiming “NATO has taken the lead in turning back the Taliban and al Qaeda offensive” failing to note that the Taliban are apparently now in effective control of the southern third of the country. NATO is losing this war, just as the “coalition” is losing in Iraq.
In closing, Bush thanked his audience for its prayers. Since appeals to reason are clearly ineffective, I guess appeals to a higher power are all we have left.