Even the pro-Israel neocons are turning against Bush

NEW York has always been the least American of America’s cities. It’s almost as if a piece of Europe became detached and washed up onto North America’s shores.

By Eric S. Margolis

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Published: Sun 7 May 2006, 10:46 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 5:44 PM

New Yorkers like myself often feel uncomfortable with fellow Americans from ‘fly-over country,’ which means everything between the East and West Coasts. People from the deep-fried South and Texas are regarded with distaste.

These days, Texan President George Bush is about as popular in New York City as he is in Teheran. New York is a bastion of the liberal-left Democrats who gag every time they hear Bush massacring the English language in his put-on Texas accent. New Yorker’s strong dislike for Bush and his fundamentalist Protestant allies in America’s heartland has now spread across the nation. Where Bush once commanded over 80 per cent approval ratings after the 9/11 attacks, today he remains a hero mostly to Bible Belt Christians and members of the National Rifle Association.

Even the far right, pro-Israel supporters —known as neoconservatives — are turning against their former hero George Bush, accusing him of losing the war in Iraq.

The latest poll shows only 33 per cent of Americans approve of Bush’s performance —the lowest level of his presidency. This figure likely includes the 15 per cent of Americans who still believe Elvis is alive, and the deeply uninformed who remain convinced Iraq attacked the US.

Voters are even angrier at the US Congress, which, since 9/11, has displayed the most cowardly, shameful performance in living memory. Over 75 per cent say Congress is doing a lousy job and intolerably corrupt.

Seventy-three per cent of the Americans now say the nation is on the wrong track. For the first time, over half of those polled say they will vote Democratic in this November’s mid-term elections.

Republicans are in a mounting panic as they watch voter sentiment turn sharply against them. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan grow more unpopular each month as Americans finally face the lies that led them into these conflicts, and demand an exit strategy from both.

Even America’s lapdog media, which trumpeted the Bush Administration’s war propaganda, is beginning to smell Republican blood on the water, and has begun asking some of the hard questions it should have done three years ago.

Another turning point came this week. In the course of a speech by hawkish Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a highly respected former CIA official, Ray McGovern, stood up and asked Rumsfeld: "Why did you lie to get us into a war that caused these kinds of casualties and was not necessary?"

McGovern was clearly speaking for the many CIA officers outraged by war propaganda, corruption of national security by the neocons, and seeing their agency blamed for the debacles in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Watching McGovern, I was reminded of that glorious moment when one man in a crowd began booing Romania’s odious dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu. Others quickly joined him. The Romanian despot was struck dumb; his face mirrored total incomprehension. No one had ever dared challenge him. In hours, his dictatorship collapsed.

Unless the Bush administration can whip up a low-cost war with Iran that will restore its popularity, the Republicans look headed for a disaster in the next two elections. An odour of ‘fin de regime’ hangs over Washington.

The rapid erosion of Republican power and probable loss of control of Congress this November also spells bad news for President Bush’s friends abroad.

Among the most concerned should be President Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan, who is kept in power by US and Nato troops, and President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan. Pakistan’s leader has bent over so far backwards to accommodate his benefactors in Washington that he has waged war against his own people in Waziristan and Balochistan and alienated many Pakistanis. A fatally weakened Bush may leave Musharraf exposed and vulnerable.

Back in New York, there is hope the era of domination of US politics by the pro-Bush South, Midwest and rocky mountain states may be nearing an end. The nation’s traditional internationalist eastern establishment senses a return to power.

As one New Yorker put it, "send all those cowboys, lobbyists and phoney preachers back to Texas." Many around the world will certainly share this aspiration.

Eric S. Margolis is an eminent US journalist, who divides his time between Toronto and New York. He can be reached at margolis@foreigncorrespondents.com

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