In his latest speeches, Bush has been comparing the "War on Terror" to all of the best wars; namely, the wars against King George, against Nazism, against fascism, against communism. He and Cheney (in his speeches) both have suggested, oh so coyly, comparisons of themselves with Washington and Roosevelt, fighting the good fights, standing against the tide of evil.
They need these stretches of the imagination (some might call them figments or delusions) to continue to justify their persistent adherence to the claim that we must persevere in Iraq, regardless of the cost. Their War on Terror is not working, and their war in Iraq is certainly falling apart before their very eyes. Afghanistan is almost back to where it was with the Taliban.
The real war that is being fought more successfully, however, is a war against the American people, camouflaged by this ongoing War on Terror. This War on America began well before 9/11, but has been well served by the cover 9/11 has given it. The War on America is a combined attack on the distribution of wealth and the social fabric of our country.
The social war consists of, among other things, Bush's support of the efforts to overturn Roe v Wade, his support of reintroducing prayer into the schools, his opposition to all forms of birth control, his undermining of the separation of church and state, his consistent support of Congressional candidates with fundamentalist Christian ideologies, his war on gay America, and his administration's efforts to rewrite textbooks to include intelligent design as an alternative to science. There is more, to be sure.
His economic war against America has a more painful and direct impact than his social war. His tax cuts for the rich and the super-rich have stuck it to the lower and middle classes of America in a way that could not be clearer about where Bush's priorities are. What's perplexing about these tax cuts is that it seems as though he successfully sold the idea to enough middle class Americans that they voted for him, against all of their self-interests. They bought the idea that if the rich and super-rich have lower taxes, they will pass that on to the rest of America in the form of new jobs.
When Congress reconvenes soon, one of the first legislative efforts will be the estate tax and its repeal. The House has already passed it, and now the Senate will act. When passed, and I believe it will (unless some courageous Democrats filibuster), it will, in the words of Hendrick Hertzberg in The New Yorker, shift "some $1.5 billion a week -- about the same as the Iraq war -- from the public treasury to the bank accounts of the heirs to the nation's twenty thousand biggest fortunes." More than any other issue before Bush, this one demonstrates whom he secretly regards as his real constituency.
His monumental efforts in support of the privatization of social security, which would result in the surrender of America's retirement plan to Wall Street, is another reflection of that allegiance.
Finally, Bush's successful bankruptcy reform legislation has sent a clear message to the American people. Capitol One's profits mean more to Bush than the petty problems Americans face with loss of jobs, business failures, catastrophic illnesses, or losing everything they own in a hurricane.
Bush's war on Iraq is a failure. His war on America is going well.