Viewpoint: Bush’s fantasyland falling apart

By many accounts, President Bush, in his recent State of the Union speech, appeared to be talking about some other place, some other planet.

He told us conditions in Iraq are getting better and better and that we’re finding more and more evidence of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Why doesn’t he show them to us?

Free-lance writer Robert Dreyfuss, writing for Tom, asked: “Does the president know that Iraq is on the verge of coming unglued? That go-for-broke Kurdish warlords, angry Sunni sheikhs and turbaned, fundamentalist Iraqi Shiites are pushing the ruined nation to the brink of civil war?”

A British newspaper, The Independent, published a few other things that Bush did not mention in his speech:

American combat deaths in Iraq between May 2003 and this month total 232…501 U.S. servicemen and women have died in Iraq to date since the war began…0, the number of American combat deaths in Germany after the Nazi surrender in May 1945.

The number of coffins of U.S. casualities coming home that the Bush administration has allowed to be photographed: 0…The number of funerals or memorials for Iraq combat victims that President Bush has attended: 0…The number of fund-raisers attended by Bush or Vice President Cheney last year: 100…the estimated number of people worldwide who hit the streets to oppose invading Iraq, 10 million, setting an all-time record.

The Harper’s Weekly-style list in The Independent just kept reeling off the numbers: Two, the number of nations Bush has attacked and occupied since taking office…9.2, the average number of U.S. soldiers wounded in Iraq each day since the invasion…1.6, the average number of American soldiers killed each day in Iraq since the fighting began…16,000, the approximate number of Iraqis killed since the start of the war…10,000, approximate number of Iraqi civilians killed since the start of the conflict…$100 billion, estimated cost of the war to American taxpayers at the end of 2003…36 percent, the rise in the number of desertions from the US Army since 1999…92 percent, the percentage of urban areas in Iraq that had access to drinkable water a year ago, the percentage today: 60 percent…45 percent, the number of Americans who believed in early March 2003 that Saddam Hussein was behind the Sept. 11 attacks

$127 billion: the U.S. budget surplus when Bush entered the White House in 2001…$374 billion: the budget deficit for fiscal 2003…$1.58 billion: average amount the national debt rises each day…Your share of the national debt as of Jan. 19, 2004: $23,920…The record for the most bankruptcies in a single year (1.57 million) was set in 2002…Global ranking of the U.S. in terms of greenhouse gas emissions per capita: first…Number of vacation days Bush took last August: 28…number of vacation days the average American worker gets each year: 13.

The number of Americans who have lost their jobs since Bush took office: 2.9 million…number of new jobs created in the country last month: 1,000. Analysts had predicted 130,000…number of U.S. workers unemployed in September 2003: 9 million…number of countries where U.S. troops are present: 130…percentage of Americans who will save less than $100 on their 2006 income taxes as the result of Bush’s tax cuts: 88…Average savings members of Bush’s cabinet are expected to receive as a result of the tax cuts: $42,000…+6 percent: the percentage change of the number of US families in poverty since 2001.

As Dreyfuss observed: “Karl Rove, sources say, is fed up with the neoconservatives’ Iraqi fantasy. It was a fairy tale, and it’s midnight now–and all of the neocon’s hopes for Iraq have turned to ashes.

“If you were Rove, and you were trying to get the hapless Bush re-elected, would you stick with the neocons? Or would you place your bets elsewhere, say on Paul Bremer, James Baker and Colin Powell?”

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