On March 20, 2003, I watched the televised
beginning of the war in Iraq like many other Americans. The
arguments in favor of war laid out by President Bush in the months
leading up to the invasion made me uncomfortable, and the president
was a bit smug for my liking, but I was willing to give him the
benefit of the doubt. It all sounded good in theory. Depose the
evil dictator, destroy his weapons of mass destruction, install a
working democracy and make the world a safer place for us all. He
made it sound so simple and painless.

Joel Hoard

One year later, as it turns out, it’s actually complicated
and painful. The state of affairs in Iraq is a mess of epic
proportions, and we have more enemies now than when the whole thing

I waited curiously to see how Bush would mark his one-year
anniversary on Saturday. With the situation as it is, you’d
expect at the very least he would spend it in quiet contemplation
and perhaps attend a vigil for all the lives lost in Iraq. Or
perhaps he would deliver an open and honest speech outlining what
went wrong and what he would do to fix it. Or maybe he’d
throw a huge party and invite all of his friends.

Alas, as it turns out, he opted for a huge party. Bush, still
happily oblivious to reality, spent Saturday at a campaign rally in
Florida defending his decision to go to war and taking jabs at John

Thus I decided it would be appropriate for me to lament the
president’s anniversary in the only way I know how: by
calling him a liar, belittling him and encouraging people to vote
for John Kerry.

The anniversary celebration kicked off when Laura Bush
introduced the president and planted a kiss on his cheek. He
jokingly wiped his face with a handkerchief as he sauntered up to
the podium. It would have been cute, if he weren’t so

Then with the most Orwellian of words, Bush told supporters at
the rally, “September 11th, 2001, taught a lesson I’ll
never forget. America must confront threats before they fully
materialize.” He boasted that he would “defend the
security of America, whatever it takes.” The smugness and
swagger are still there, and that’s the saddest part of the
affair: He still honestly, in his heart of hearts, believes he made
the right decision in invading Iraq. He still believes we can win
the war on terror.

Almost two years ago, long before the invasion of Iraq, indie
comedian David Cross said, “You cannot win a war on
terrorism. It’s like having a war on jealousy. …
It’s an absurd notion. At no point in time are we gonna go,
‘Woo! Got em all. Everybody loves us again!’ …
All we’re doing is making new terrorists … Cause
people fucking hate us again.” His words ring truer and
scarier now than ever. You know your country is in trouble when a
foul-mouthed indie comedian has a better understanding of
modern-day foreign affairs and can express himself more eloquently
than the president.

Still, in the face of rampant anti-Americanism abroad, Bush had
the nerve to say “The world is counting on us to lead the
cause of freedom and peace,” which makes it rather
unfortunate then that the president is “going to keep (his)
campaign right here in America.” One would think that when it
comes to determining what the world wants, the world would have a
say, but apparently it’s best left up to American voters.

Bush also took the opportunity to lob a few potshots at his
likely opponent in the upcoming election, Sen. John Kerry. He
criticized Kerry’s claim that several foreign leaders have
offered him their support and said, “The other day, here in
Florida, (Kerry) claimed some important endorsements. He
won’t tell us the name of the foreign admirers. That’s
OK. Either way, I’m not too worried.”

Kerry’s decision to not disclose the names of his
“foreign admirers” is a wise one, because Kerry, like
many of us, knows that the president would summarily bomb said
admirers’ countries if that information got out.

Through it all, chants of “U-S-A” and “Four
more years” rained down. It scares me that, with all
that’s happened in the last year, so many are still unable to
see through the president’s good-old-boy façade to the
evil within.

And so, in conclusion, I would like to offer a heartfelt
“happy anniversary” to President Bush. May your next
war be as fulfilling as your first.

Hoard can be reached at

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