HISTORY'S HOSTAGES | 2003-10-18
President Bush just announced that we are not in Iraq for our own security. He got us into Iraq by saying it was for our own national interests. Now he says the Iraqi War had nothing to do with American interests.
Lyndon Johnson made the same switch about justifying the Vietnam War when that War got out of hand.
Bush's switch from arguing the war in Iraq is in our national interest to saying it for foreigners is routine. It happened with Lyndon Johnson and it happened with Franklin Roosevelt.
You can't criticize Roosevelt for getting us into World War II because so many fine young Americans died in World War II. If you attack Roosevelt, you are insulting those young Americans.
The young Americans who died in World War II are the hostages who justify Roosevelt's getting us into World War II. If you dare to criticize World War II liberals say, "Do you want Hitler back?"
Bush is trying the Hostage Strategy and Johnson tried the Hostage Strategy because Roosevelt succeeded with the Hostage Strategy.
When we first went into World War II, President Roosevelt said it was for America's national interests. Then a lot of Americans got killed. Those Americans who died became President Roosevelt's hostages.
Once all those young Americans had died for Roosevelt's war policy, you were not allowed to argue that Roosevelt was wrong to get us into World War II. Any American today who questions Roosevelt's foreign policy is called a traitor.
Those young Americans who died in World War II have become Franklin Roosevelt's hostages. So Johnson used those hostages to get tens of thousands of young Americans killed in Vietnam.
Lyndon Johnson got us into Vietnam by saying American forces were attacked by North Vietnam in Tonkin Bay. Then the Tonkin Bay Incident was shown to be a fake. But by then Johnson had gotten thousands of young Americans killed in Vietnam.
So after his original justification was discredited, President Johnson said that all those fine young American men had died for the sake of Vietnam and he would keep fighting for their sakes and for the sake of Vietnam.
Bush got us into Iraq by arguing that that war was necessary for America's security against terrorism. Now he says the war was all for the sake of Iraq and Israel and "America's allies." Apparently he thinks enough fine young Americans have now died to let him fall back on the good old hostage strategy.
And Bush's punch line is, "Do you want Saddam back?"