Scorched Earth Strategy

Essay by born2btall October 2004

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Oct. 8 - The rationale for war in Iraq has collapsed, so President George W. Bush has declared another war, this one on John Kerry. Bush's blistering attack on Kerry as weak and wavering on war and the worst kind of tax-and-spend liberal foreshadows the next four weeks. Get ready for a scorched-earth campaign from the Bushies, beginning with tonight's debate in St. Louis.

Bush can't defend his policies, so he's conjuring up an image of Kerry as a looming threat whose "strategy of defeat" and insistence on global cooperation would "paralyze America in dangerous times." The dirty little secret is that Bush, if elected, is more likely to pull out of Iraq once elections are held in January, while Kerry, with his commitment to international norms and behavior, would be inclined to stay the course with the assistance of the world community.

Let's review the bidding: there are no weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq, a finding confirmed with finality this week by chief U.S.

weapons inspector Charles Duelfer. Iraq was not a "grave and gathering threat" as Bush said. It was a diminishing threat. Former Coalition Provisional Authority head Paul Bremer blew Bush's cover when he revealed this week that he had repeatedly requested additional troops for Iraq and been turned down. Bush maintains that he's never been asked for more troops. Bremer's revelation was followed by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's contention that he never saw hard evidence connecting Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda.

Bush's image as a decisive leader is undercut by these developments, yet the campaign war machine grinds on undeterred. Vice President Dick Cheney continues to repeat the same discredited information he's been dishing out since the start of the war. When he debated rival John Edwards in Cleveland Tuesday evening, Cheney...