by Bill Van Auken
In his second foreign policy speech in less than a week, President Bush Tuesday portrayed the ongoing US military occupation in Iraq as part of a broader regional struggle to defend vital US interests against “radicals and extremists.”
Contained in this speech was the explicit threat of widening the US war in the Middle East, directed in the first instance against Iran.
“Either the forces of extremism succeed or the forces of freedom succeed,” Bush said. “Either our enemies advance their interests in Iraq, or we advance our interests.”
The immediate purpose of Bush’s back-to-back speeches-the first delivered last Wednesday to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Kansas City and the second to the American Legion convention in Reno, Nevada-is to intimidate the massive popular opposition to the Iraq war and set the stage for the report on the Iraq “surge” that Gen. David Petraeus and US Ambassador Ryan Crocker are to deliver to Congress next month.
That this presentation has been scheduled for September 11-the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington-is hardly a coincidence. It will unquestionably be packaged as part of a fresh propaganda campaign aimed at frightening the American people with the supposedly ubiquitous threat of terror.
This was prefigured in Bush’s own speech. Once again he mouthed the absurd and threadbare lie that 160,000 US troops are in Iraq to battle Al Qaeda-incessantly and falsely described as “the same people who attacked us on 9/11”-for the supposed purpose of preventing fresh attacks on the US.