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They like Bush, and they are not stupid
The Age newspaper, Australia ^ | January 21, 2004 | Caroline Overington

Posted on 01/20/2004 2:09:51 PM PST by Byron_the_Aussie

Most Americans still think Bush did the right thing in getting rid of Saddam Hussein, writes Caroline Overington.

There is going to be a presidential election in the United States in November and George Bush is going to win. President Bush's approval rating is around 60 per cent. That's comparable with Ronald Reagan in 1984, who redefined the term "landslide" when he won 49 of the 50 states.

Naturally, this makes some people crazy. How can Americans vote for a guy who went to war over weapons of mass destruction that did not exist?

First, the US economy is growing at an estimated 5 per cent a year. Interest rates are low. Bush's tax cuts are in people's pockets, and they are spending happily.

Second, Americans like Bush. They see him as patriotic, family-centred and self-disciplined. He is also teetotal, conservative, and Christian. He supports marriage, and opposes abortion and homosexual marriage. There are people who think this makes him a bit old-fashioned but millions of Americans like old-fashioned values.

Most Americans also support Bush's decision to go to war with Iraq. They are not stupid. They know that the so-called intelligence about Saddam Hussein was wrong. Despite this, 67 per cent still believe the US did the right thing.

Because I live in New York, I rarely get to hear the voice of this majority. Instead, I get magazines such as Vanity Fair, which last month had a column by the editor angrily listing statistics from the war in Iraq. Such as: number of American soldiers killed: 500. Number of weapons of mass destruction found: 0.

But, as some readers pointed out, there were statistics missing from the list. These include: number of mass graves uncovered in Iraq: around 260, containing as many as 20,000 bodies. Number of people liberated from brutal, murderous leadership: 12 million. And number of times Bush lied about receiving oral sex from a White House intern: 0.

The Iraq war has cost the lives of about 500 American soldiers. Some would have you believe that this makes Iraq a quagmire. But the truth is, if Western nations have come to the point where 500 deaths is an unbearable war-time loss, then we should also say we are no longer prepared to fight wars, because about the same number of soldiers die every year, in peacetime.

Americans are not casual about casualties. Each and every one of the lives lost was precious to them. I remember sitting on a small plane, travelling from North Carolina to New York, when the war was a few weeks old. I was reading USA Today and, as I opened it to study a map of Iraq, one half of the newspaper fell into the lap of my fellow passenger. I turned to apologise, but he said: "No problem. Actually, do you mind if I have a look?"

Together we studied the picture, trying to work out how far the Americans were from seizing power. It was clear from the diagrams that troops were near Saddam's airport, and close to the centre of Baghdad. I turned to my seat mate and said: "I don't think this is going to be a long battle, after all."

It was only then that I noticed, with horror, that he had started to cry. And then I noticed something else: a photograph, wrapped in plastic, pinned to his lapel. It was a picture of his 20-year-old son, a young marine who died in the first days of the war. The man's wife was sitting across the aisle from us. She had a round bowl on her lap, filled with water and some drooping tulips. The movement of the aircraft was making the water slop around. She was trying to wipe her hands, and her tears.

The couple told me they had just been to a private meeting with Bush to discuss the loss of their son. At the time, it was already clear that Saddam didn't have any weapons of mass destruction.

"But I never thought it was about the weapons," my seat mate said. And, although I can't remember his exact words, he also said something like: "We have always stood up for freedom, in our own country, and for other people."

Any student of history knows that this is true. America saved the Western world from communism. America saved Australia and, for that matter, France from a system that would stop you from reading this newspaper.

Americans support the war in Iraq and, by extension, Bush because they see it as part of a bigger picture. Like everybody, they now know that Saddam was not the threat they thought he was (at least, not to them) but they still think it was a good idea to deal with him, before he became one.

The price of freedom is high. You might think you would not sacrifice your life for it, but maybe you don't have to. After all, 20-year-old Americans are doing it for you, every day.

Caroline Overington is New York correspondent for The Age.


TOPICS: Editorial; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: electionpresident; gwb2004; landslide
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1 posted on 01/20/2004 2:09:52 PM PST by Byron_the_Aussie
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To: Byron_the_Aussie
After the Brits (usually), I think the Aussies are our staunchest allies.
2 posted on 01/20/2004 2:13:04 PM PST by TheBigB (I am Elmer J. Fudd, millionaire. I own a mansion and a yacht.)
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To: Byron_the_Aussie
Awsome!
3 posted on 01/20/2004 2:13:18 PM PST by leadpencil1
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To: Byron_the_Aussie
Wouold someone in NY please buy Carolyn a cold Fosters?
4 posted on 01/20/2004 2:13:36 PM PST by ElkGroveDan (Fighting for Freedom and Having Fun)
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To: Byron_the_Aussie
At the time, it was already clear that Saddam didn't have any weapons of mass destruction.

Not to be a broken record, but...
Democrat Quotes on Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction

5 posted on 01/20/2004 2:13:40 PM PST by Eala (Sacrificing tagline fame for... TRAD ANGLICAN RESOURCE PAGE: http://eala.freeservers.com/anglican)
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To: Byron_the_Aussie
"Americans like Bush. They see him as patriotic, family-centred and self-disciplined."

Might surprise some bots but I agree with that.

"He is also teetotal, conservative, and Christian. He supports marriage, and opposes abortion and homosexual marriage. There are people who think this makes him a bit old-fashioned but millions of Americans like old-fashioned values."

Might NOT surprise some bots that I think the bolded is bs and I WISH it were true.

6 posted on 01/20/2004 2:14:09 PM PST by KantianBurke (2+2 does NOT equal 5)
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To: Byron_the_Aussie
Thanks for this Byron
7 posted on 01/20/2004 2:14:40 PM PST by Vermonter
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To: Byron_the_Aussie
Byron .....isn't The Age a left leaning newspaper?
8 posted on 01/20/2004 2:15:24 PM PST by Dog
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To: Byron_the_Aussie
Lovely. Thank you.
9 posted on 01/20/2004 2:16:36 PM PST by redhead (Les Franšais sont des singes de capitulation qui mangent du fromage.)
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To: cyncooper
Good read PING.
10 posted on 01/20/2004 2:16:42 PM PST by EllaMinnow (I plan to be spontaneous tomorrow.)
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To: Byron_the_Aussie
Wow! Excellent article!
11 posted on 01/20/2004 2:17:15 PM PST by pax_et_bonum (Always finish what you st)
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To: Byron_the_Aussie
Great article, Byron. Thanks.
12 posted on 01/20/2004 2:17:22 PM PST by nutmeg (Is the DemocRATic party extinct yet?)
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To: Byron_the_Aussie
You wouldn't happen to have a link to that Vanity Fair article, would ya?
13 posted on 01/20/2004 2:17:43 PM PST by RandallFlagg ("There are worse things than crucifixion...There are teeth.")
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To: StarFan; Dutchy; alisasny; Black Agnes; BobFromNJ; BUNNY2003; Cacique; Clemenza; Coleus; cyborg; ...
ping!

Please FReepmail me if you want on or off my infrequent ‘miscellaneous’ ping list.

14 posted on 01/20/2004 2:18:28 PM PST by nutmeg (Is the DemocRATic party extinct yet?)
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To: Byron_the_Aussie
Thanks for posting this article.
15 posted on 01/20/2004 2:19:50 PM PST by Angelwood (FReepers are Everywhere! We Support Our Troops! (Hillary's Vast Rt Wg Conspiracy))
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To: TheBigB
Contrary to what a lot of folks on the left would like us to believe, I think there are still a lot of countries out there who consider us friends and allies.
16 posted on 01/20/2004 2:19:51 PM PST by sirshackleton
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To: Byron_the_Aussie
AWESOME ARTICLE BUMP!
17 posted on 01/20/2004 2:26:31 PM PST by DrDeb
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To: Byron_the_Aussie
Hi Byron....very touching....thanks for posting it!
18 posted on 01/20/2004 2:32:03 PM PST by Arpege92
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To: redlipstick
It was only then that I noticed, with horror, that he had started to cry.

And this made me cry...just a little...

19 posted on 01/20/2004 2:32:08 PM PST by cyncooper ("We call evil by its name")
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To: Byron_the_Aussie
And number of times Bush lied about receiving oral sex from a White House intern: 0.

Ahhh ..... the good 'ol days of freeping past!

20 posted on 01/20/2004 2:34:14 PM PST by hillary's_fat_a**
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