For a long time, the last refuge of scoundrels was "patriotism." Now it's "the war on terror."
President Bush and many of his vocal supporters aren't content to wrap themselves in the flag. It's not sufficient to posture as more patriotic than opponents of the Iraq war. The ultimate demagogic weapon is to exploit the memory of Sept. 11, 2001.
Next month, the fourth anniversary will provide the Bush administration with plenty of media opportunities to wrap itself in the 9/11 shroud and depict Iraq war critics as insufficiently committed to defending the United States. A renewed attempt to justify the war as a resolute stand against terrorism is well underway.
On Wednesday, eager to pull out of a political nosedive, Bush stood in front of National Guard members in Idaho and read from a script that was thick with familiar rhetoric: "Our nation is engaged in a global war on terror that affects the safety and security of every American. In Iraq, Afghanistan and across the world, we face dangerous enemies who want to harm our people, folks who want to destroy our way of life." And: "As long as I'm the president, we will stay, we will fight and we will win the war on terror."
Such presidential oratory has become routine. And anniversaries of 9/11 are occasions when the White House ratchets up the spin...
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