George Bush"s "We" Is Shrinking

Everyone has seen it. President Bush loves to wrap himself in the flag and wear the cloak of wartime President. 'We will stay the course,' he says. Meanwhile, he goes on vacation to his Texas ranch. It is increasingly obvious that when it comes to his 'War on Terra,' the President is wearing no clothes, and his 'we' is beginning to look embarrassingly small.

Support for President Bush in the United States has declined as concerns about Iraq grow. March 20th saw nationwide and worldwide marches and demonstrations against the war. A survey by Harvard University 's Institute of Politics released this week shows that support for the war in Iraq dropped from 58 percent six months ago to 49 percent now. At the same time, Bush's job approval rating has fallen from 61 percent to 47 percent. Of the Florida voters surveyed last week for the Orlando Sentinel, less than half (49 percent) expressed approval for the President's handling of the war in Iraq, with 43 percent disapproving. Even military families are organizing into groups to oppose the war. Two such groups are Bring Them Home Now and Military Families Speak Out.

The 'Coalition of the Willing' is losing one nation after another. Spain has vowed to withdraw its troops from Iraq by June 30. Honduran officials have said they would pull their troops out of Iraq during the summer, while El Salvador and Guatemala are expected to follow suit. Bush lobbied the Dutch Prime Minister, but won no commitment those troops from the Netherlands would remain in Iraq beyond June. The Philippines may pull out too. "While the Philippine government is determined to help the Iraqi people in rebuilding their nation, the safety of our peacekeeping forces in Iraq is still our utmost concern," President Arroyo said. Poland has ruled out sending more troops to Iraq . "The Government plans rather to decrease rather than increase the contingent," said outgoing Prime Minister Lezsek Miller.

With widespread support among the local populations, the Iraqi resistance has largely ejected US forces from the cities of Fallujah and Najaf. Iraqi police have ceded control of many areas to insurgents, and in Najaf, Karbala , Sadr City , and several Shi'ite neighborhoods in Baghdad , they have even switched sides, assisting Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army in its fight against occupation forces. In Fallujah, at least two Iraqi Army battalions refused to join the fight against insurgents.

Bush's 'we' is even losing its hand-picked ministers and governing council. Iyad Allawi, a favorite of the U.S. and British intelligence services, abruptly resigned from the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) without explanation. Abdel Karim Mahud al-Mahamadawi suspended his participation after a meeting with Moqtada al-Sadr. Ghazi Ajil al-Yawer threatened to resign from the IGC over the crisis in Fallujah. Human Rights Minister, Abdel Basit Turki, resigned his post without explanation. Interior Minister Nuri Badran resigned as well. Adnan Pachachi, an IGC elder statesman who is close to the State Department, denounced the US offensive against Fallujah as 'illegal and totally unacceptable.'

Opposition to the US occupation is widespread among religious leaders. Among these are Moqtada al-Sadr, who is leading a widespread Shi'ite revolt against occupation forces, and Iraq 's most powerful Shia spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who warned the United States against entering the holy city of Najaf in pursuit of al-Sadr.

Association with President Bush is spanking the little 'we' he has. Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar was voted out of office as a direct result of his support for the US occupation. Prime ministers Tony Blair of the UK , Silvio Berlusconi of Italy , John Howard of Australia , Junichiro Koizumi of Japan , and President Gloria Arroyo of the Philippines are all under intense pressure at home as a result of their support for the war.

While George Bush's 'we' is shrinking, the Iraqi Resistance's 'we' (hereafter referred to simply and more accurately as the Iraqi 'we') is getting bigger every day. What started out as a 'handful' of 'Saddam diehards,' has grown into a huge nationwide revolt. Thousands of Sunnis and Shias are working synergistically to eject the US occupying forces. Additional fighters are streaming into Iraq from Iran and Syria . Even US ally Saudi Arabia 's religious authority issued a fatwa urging Muslims to use 'all means' to stop the 'occupation forces' in Iraq . Nonetheless, President Bush continuously claims that the Iraqi 'we' is a lot smaller than it looks, calling it 'a small group of terrorist thugs.' It seems he has a very bad case of 'we' envy.

Things have gotten so bad that President Bush has had to resort to artificial means to keeping his shrinking 'we' up. He has extended the tours of duty of 20,000 US troops who had been scheduled to return home from Iraq after one year in country. He has hired expensive private security firms like Blackwater Security to augment US troop strength. Furthermore, in a virtual reinstatement of the draft, President Bush has instituted a Stop Loss policy that has prevented tens of thousands of other soldiers from leaving the armed forces.

President Bush is Commander in Chief of the 'War on Terra,' but his cloak as such is beginning to become a drag. Bush's callous disregard for the lives of US soldiers has led to comparisons between him and Queen Marie Antoinette. Conditions in Iraq continue to deteriorate. Sandstorms that can literally black out the sun are common there this time of year. If such a storm were to occur, the US would lose its air superiority, and President Bush could find that he is getting the Iraqi 'we' where the sun don't shine. Bush, in fact, has stated that he would like that. When questioned about assaults on US troops, he said, 'Bring 'Em On,' and he has repeatedly emphasized that he is opposed to any early withdrawal.

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David Wiggins's picture
Columns on STR: 12

David Wiggins is a West Point honor graduate and an honors graduate of New York Medical College. He left the Army as a Conscientious Objector, resigning his commission as an Army Captain on the Iraqi front lines during Operation Desert Storm. He is currently an Emergency Physician.  Visit his website at