Bush the Younger needs some elementary grammar lessons. Words such as “may,” “possibly,” “could,” “might,” “suspect,” are all conditional words, indicating some uncertainty or lack of proof for whatever is being asserted. For example, when he says, “Iraq may have certain weapons of mass destruction,” that indicates a less than complete knowledge. It betrays a willingness to guess. Needless to say, guessing isn’t conviction.

There are reasonable doubts about pursuing war with Iraq. Bush may possibly be supposing that Iraq might be trying to acquire materials that could potentially indicate a willingness to engage in the further development of what might be weapons of mass destruction. Or might not. That’s where the reasonable doubt comes in.

If you read Bush’s statements carefully, even the statements of Rumsfeld, Powell or Cheney, they are filled with conditional words, with unproven assertions stated as forcefully as possible. They try to make up for lack of proof with firmness of voice, the sure signs of demagogues.

While Trent Lott foams at the mouth against Jim McDermott, millions of U.S. citizens, not to mentions hundreds of millions of people around the world, share with McDermott the fear that Bush is lying, or at the very least overstating his case against Iraq.

Bush might be doing this to distract voters from the deteriorating economy. He might be doing this to promote the right-wing fantasy strategy of the U.S. as a militarily triumphant single superpower. He might be doing this because making money from oil is what his friends do. He might be doing this because that is what Cheney tells him to say.

Wolfowitz and Perle are possibly deluding themselves about the likelihood of people in Iraq turning against Saddam Hussein. Rumsfeld can suspect all kinds of things. None of these are proof of anything.

But I too am using conditional words. I don’t know what is going on in Bush’s head; he might not know either.

We keep being told that we should be afraid. If the U.S. government doesn’t attack Iraq right now, horrible things could happen.

But there is nothing conditional about the certainty that starting a war guarantees horrible things will happen.

Bush should listen to the hundreds of thousands of people who marched and rallied against war. They called for peace and peaceful solutions. They called for a multilateral approach to international problems. They called for an end to the illusions and delusions inherent in the “preemptive first strike” doctrine. They called for the voters of our country to “Remember in November.” They called for exhausting all available options before threatening war. That all makes sense.

But Bush seems to be selling an upside-down fantasy world, where massive unprovoked military action makes nations safer. One where the people of a country the U.S. attacks welcome the invaders. One where the U.S. gets to set the international agenda all by itself without consequences.

Bush is gambling that enough voters will be fooled by his fantasy pitch so the Republicans will score a victory in November. But no amount of illusions can make the economic downturn vanish.

We want and need peace. That’s not a “soft-headed, liberal” approach to tough problems, that’s an unconditional essential for the survival of the world.

Marc Brodine is the Washington State Communist Party chairperson and can be reached at marcbrodine@attbi.com

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