A new article in the Salt Lake Tribune lays this message out somewhat subtly.
Last year, President Bush came to Salt Lake for a older military veteran club conference, hoping to kick off a campaign that would rebound his support (at least amoung his conservative base) on the Iraq War and in general. Of course, Bush went down hill from there amoung all Americans and now somewhere between 55-60% of Americans disapprove of the course we are staying on in Iraq...and have done so for several months now. This was due in no small part to what happened the day after Bush spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW): Katrina.
"That just dominated all other issues - local and national issues," Utah Republican Party Chairman Joe Cannon said. "There's no question that Katrina sucked the wind out of everything, including the president's views on Iraq.
"And that was the story for months."
It laid bare that Bush's cronyism, incompetance, and ideology over reality can directly hurt Americans back home too, and not just those who signed up to join the armed forces.
This year, the Bush White House is sending not just Bush, but Condi and Rummy to an American Legionniares conference in Salt Lake in an attempt to bail out his, and his party's, abismal approval ratings. Also this year, another storm looms in the Carribean threatening New Orleans, whose leeves are admittedly still not up to snuff.
At the time of Bush's last speech in Salt Lake City, about 38 percent of adults nationwide supported his handling of the war in Iraq, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll. This month, the same pollsters found just 30 percent of the country still felt confident in Bush's war leadership.
And yet, they try again to convince us with the same "cut and run" language that they are right and we--the majority--are wrong.
And although the majority of Utahns still support Bush because he is a religious conservative man who is in power, the rest of America is willing to give Democrats a shot at Congress. Were that 2006 were 2004, and Bush's days would truely be numbered. As it is, he will stubbornly hang around as investigations reveal the true disasterousness of his presidency.
My own view? Iraq may need to be divided into three states now, with UN/NATO peacekeepers squelching the violence as much as possible, a giant Yugoslavia of our own making. The US military cannot bomb our way into ending a civil war, we need Arab allies and other nations to go back into Iraq and try to create peace and stability, but none I fear will want to go. The Iraqis on some level don't trust us anymore, but we cannot leave them to their own devices...some sort of troops need to be there. Right now, Iraq and Afghanistan are failed states, breeding grounds for terrorists and extremists of all sorts. We can't let them stay that way.
In order to win this war that started on September 11, 2001, the people of the middle east need hope: hope that they can get a good paying job to support their family, hope that they can walk down the streets and go shopping without fearing death or pain, hope that life can get better, hope that their leaders are responsive to their needs, hope for peace and security. All these people have now is dispair.
This means creating a viable Palistinan state, complete with access to jobs, housing, and drinking water. This means ending corruption and cronyism in middle east countries. This means ending using hate and religion to keep the public distracted from a failure of governing. Of course this is a tall order, but Europe too was mired in nasty religious wars for centuries until the end of World War II. The creation of the EU, NATO, and the Warsaw Pact helped create peace, stability and economic growth. Now, a war in Europe is a laughable idea.
Oh and if you think things are terrible in the middle east now, wait until the oil really starts to run out.