As Patriot Daily at My Left Wing points out, young Mister Bush has apparently decided to change the name of the "Global War on Terror" to "World War III." It's fairly certain that even Bush realizes renaming his war isn't going to make it go any better, so he has to be fishing for a way to keep the American public from voting his party out of control of Congress this fall. We'll see how that goes.
This is not, of course, the first time the Bush propaganda machine has used patriotic sounding allusions to previous American wars--and cheesy pop culture references--to sell the administration's neoconservative agenda. In his 2002 State of the Union Address, Bush labeled Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the "axis of evil," an invocation that combined the "axis powers" of World War II (Germany, Italy and Japan) and Ronald Reagan's Cold War description of Russia as the "evil empire," which itself was drawn from the Star Wars movie series.
During the run-up to the Iraq invasion, Bush friendly media outlets like National Review began echoing the mantra that compared Saddam Hussein to Adolph Hitler.
The term "generational war" recalled misty eyed accounts of American sacrifice in the Second World War as described by Tom Brokaw in his book The Greatest Generation.
"Fighting them over there" comes from the World War I propaganda song "Over There."
"Mission Accomplished," that piece of Rovewellian theater in which Mister Bush played Navy fighter pilot on the USS Lincoln, provided imagery drawn from visual media pieces ranging from the television program Victory at Sea to newsreels of the Japanese surrender on the USS Missouri to the feature film Top Gun.
And boy, when Donald Rumsfeld decided to change the name of the Global War on Terror to the "Struggle Against Global Extremism," Mister Bush put the kibosh on that right away. We were in a doggone war, doggone it, and Bush wasn't going to be remembered as no "struggle-time" president.
Does anybody else remember the time Rumsfeld talked to the troops Iraq and answered a question (an obviously staged one) regarding criticism of Mister Bush over the war? Rumsfeld said that Abraham Lincoln had suffered scathing rebukes in the press over his handling of the American Civil War, drawing not only an absurd comparison of that war an the Iraq war, but between Lincoln and (gasp) George W. Bush.
Like the Energizer Bunny, the Bush machine continues to bang the war drum long after its dream of global domination by armed force has proven itself delusional.
Divine Strake, the bunker buster test scheduled for June in Nevada, will ostensibly send a signal to Iran and North Korea that no matter how deeply they bury their bunkers, we'll find a way to bust them. But the signal we're liable to send by showing them how deep a bunker we can bust is how much deeper they need to bury their bunkers so we can't bust them.
But that makes no never mind, because Divine Strake's real target audience isn't Iran, or North Korea, or China, or Russia. It's the American public. When the Bush administration was garnering support for the invasion of Iraq, Condi Rice and Mister Bush made scare noise about "mushroom clouds." Now they're going to give us more than just talk.
Divine Strake is expected to create a mushroom cloud over Las Vegas, and boy, do you think that's going to get play on the cable news channels?
Scary, huh kids? Next time, it'll be them nasty old terrorists setting off that there bomb, and ground zero will be Vegas itself!
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is now being cast as Hitler. And oh, I see where some sources are starting to describe Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez as playing "Mussolini to Iran's Hitler."
Rewriting the War Story
A glance through the neoconservative think tank Project for the New American Century's paper trail going back to 1997 clearly shows that the Bush administration's foreign policy was based on a desire to establish a global American hegemony. Its ambitions for the Middle East were to establish an increased military footprint in the Middle East for the purpose of protecting Israel and other allies in the Gulf region and ensure continued U.S. access to the region's oil. The policy had nothing to do with terrorism. And it only tangentially had to do with the threat from weapons of mass destruction or Saddam Hussein. The 9/11 attacks were a convenient excuse to execute "the plan," and Saddam Hussein was a convenient bad guy to go after. But, as the PNAC's September 2000 "Rebuilding America's Defenses" revealed, 9/11 was the cataclysmic "new Pearl Harbor" needed to execute the neoconservative plan, and "the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf" transcended "the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."
On September 20, nine days after the 9/11 attacks, PNAC wrote a letter to Mister Bush that said, "…even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq."
What's It All About, Condi?
One way to track how the war story has changed over the course of the Bush administration is to take a look at statements made by Condi Rice.
Back in 2002 she said, "The prospect of Saddam Hussein acquiring [weapons of mass destruction] is a very powerful moral case for regime change."
In September 2003, Condi Rice, defending the Iraq invasion, Condi said, "Iraq, if it is prosperous and stable, in a different kind of Middle East, is going to be the death knell for terrorism." (Since Hussein's ouster, Iraq has been anything but prosperous or stable, and terrorism incidents have increased.)
In October 2005, well after the WMD and terrorism claims regarding Iraq had been disproven, she said, "…the liberation of the Iraqi people was long overdue.”
Compare that pattern with Condi's rhetoric on Iran:
In December 2005 she told Fox News that Iran could not be trusted with technology that could lead to nuclear arms.
In March 2006, she described Iran as "the world's leading sponsor of terrorism."
Later in March she said, "We do not have a problem with the Iranian people. We want the Iranian people to be free. Our problem is with the Iranian regime."
I'm guessing she can repeat that pattern indefinitely.
World Wars from Here to Eternity
Some experts, including ex-CIA director James Woolsey, say that the Cold War was World War III and that the war on terror was World War IV. Since we now know that the Iraq war had little if anything to do with terrorism--at least, not until we invaded that country--we might as well call that World War V. If they work it right, the Bush crowd can liberate the freedom loving people of Iran (VI) and Venezuela (VII) before the end of big brother's term of office. And if we can replace big brother George with little brother Jeb in 2008, we'll be off to the races. Jeb, after all, was one of the original PNAC members. He's all on board with this Hitler bashing and terror crushing and WMD eliminating and freedom loving people liberating.
With any luck at all, we can be well into the World War Xs by 2016!