U.S. Anti-War Protests Signal
Communications Disconnect on Iraqi Threat


February 28th, 2003

Since September 11th, good and reliable communications between leaders and their people have been vital to the health, security and survival of a nation’s people. With U.S. troops placed around the world and their loving families and friends anxious to see them all return home safely, caring communications are needed from their fellow Americans as well as our leaders.

Some political analysts were concerned about the changes ahead when White House advisor Karen Hughes left a few months ago. At least one news analyst wondered if internal conflict played a role and if her absence would bring the rise in power of a cold calculating, ambitious advisor. Many had grown comfortable with Ms. Hughes and saw her as an advisor that was strong, smart, loyal, and–most importantly–had a warm heart that showed through in her communications.

Karen Hughes contributed greatly to the feelings of trust and confidence in the White House; feelings that had developed among those who voted for the President, (a man with the disposition of a friendly Texas cowboy committed to God) and grew among Americans especially after the 9-11 terror attacks.

But something was noticeably different in December 2002, when it seemed a blizzard hit the closest advisors to the White House. Friendly, rarely seen without a smile, U.S. Senator Trent Lott, a loyal George Bush supporter (most notable pre and post elections of 2000), suddenly appeared to have lost his friendship with the White House. As the rebuke increased, more people were left confused.

Most knew that Lott’s well intentioned birthday tribute was politically reworked by political enemies (as political opposites commonly do). At first folks didn’t believe the bad wrap on Lott and carried on with their holiday activities. But, little by little holiday cheer was darkened by unusual news reports of the defriending of Lott, and as the heat intensified, the situation became very dark, very fast.

Soon it looked as though everyone in the Administration would come out against the suddenly friendless Trent Lott. The couple of Senators that came out and defended Lott appeared afraid of some sort of retaliation for doing so.

As Lott’s isolation by the White House increased, holiday cheer was squeezed out of the air. Both Democrats and Republicans alike were amazed by the attacks and cold shoulder shown toward Lott. Soon Lott could do nothing right–he was like a man pushed off the ship, left to tread water in hopes of eventual safe harbor.

Black leaders from Mississippi, vocally protested on Lott’s behalf and offered accounts of the good he had done over the years for ‘all’ the people of the State. Alan Colmes, a liberal democrat with FoxNews said he was puzzled by the Bush White House’s severity against Lott and found it inexplicable that an apology, especially from a friend, was not acceptable. Colmes wondered what type of precedent was being set as the country is still healing from the 9-11 terror attacks and we all watched as a good Senator received the worst rebuke in known American history, and all apparently due to a scintilla of political incorrectness. Being humans, how would it be possible to never make an error and to live in fear of such harsh reprisals?

The entire trial, verdict, and sentencing of Lott, the singing Senator, was over in a few short days before the Christmas holiday. However, many were left with an odd sense of uneasiness about what had happened. If advisor Karen Hughes was still in the picture, would pictures of the fun loving White House dogs been in our minds, instead of the sad news images of Lott fending off hate mail at his home?

Anti-war marches across the nation last weekend were by most accounts successful in numbers of people. But, they were not without violence: there was a huge American flag set on fire in San Francisco and New York Police horses were poked in the ribs by demonstrators sign’s. A NYPD horse named Boots was punched in the face and pulled to the ground.

However, various political analysts believe that at least half the protestors would have not been involved in the march if they understood the reasons the White House is aggressively sending our troops to Iraq to disarm Saddam Hussein.

"No one gets it", in the words of one commentator. ABC’s Barbara Walters questioned if President Bush was in pursuit of Saddam for his father: Bush I.

Radio talker Michael Savage noted this week the disconnect in communications between the Administration and the nation; saying people obviously don’t understand the reason ‘Iraq is a threat.’ The case hasn’t been made for military action in Iraq. Savage speculated that the Administration’s close friends and advisors may be ‘elitists’, which would account for the deepening divide between the people and the White House.

If elitism is the prevailing attitude than most anything could be considered offensive, even questions.

With fear in the air over the economy, lack of jobs, and terror, would the return of advisor Karen Huge’s foster better communications to American families on the Administration’s urgency to attack Iraq?

Without knowledge on the urgency to disarm Iraq, the anti-war protestors may grow in numbers and families of U.S. troops will feel increased anxiety over their future. Historically, when people sense a deep disconnect with their leadership, they seek a new leader or ideology.

A major U.S. ally in disarming Iraq is Britain, where over last weekend several hundred thousand protestors demonstrated against war in Iraq. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has a large, vocal and powerful Islamic population in his country, and since Blair has committed to disarming Iraq, his high approval rating has dropped.

Tuesday, in an effort to help the masses understand the terror threat of Iraq that has been discovered since September 11th, Tony Blair gave a one hour press conference. He said it was his responsibility to be accountable and to help those who are "firmly against" military action in Iraq to understand (without asking them to change their position) the other side of the Iraq issue. Blair told of hundreds of letters that he had received from Iraqi exiles who had been tortured by Saddam or had family members or friends that were tortured and murdered. One letter released reads in part "Today, in the face of so much opposition, we look to you [PM Blair] to remain steadfast for all that is decent and honourable, as you already have done.

"The anti-war coalition ignores the terror we have lived under for so long, offers no alternative to our nightmare, can only be construed as supporting Saddam Hussein and helping to maintain his regime indefinitely."

Blair took issue with a journalist from a certain newspaper that had been presenting an unrealistic view of the U.S. to its readers. Blair made it plain that he didn’t like the fact that "America" appeared in reports that likened it to "savages" and Saddam was shown in a more favorable light.

Blair also responded to a range of questions from reporters including: the truth of Iraq’s threat to world, Iraq’s terrorist connections, and Blair’s relationship with other leaders. The Prime Minister even gave comment to a journalist who suggested that Blair’s popularity had dropped due to his support of Bush, to which Blair reminded the press that the US is an ally–not an alien nation working against the UK.

Another country in the coalition to disarm Iraq is Australia, which has recently launched a centralized phone system, whereby by its citizens can report suspected terrorist activities. The system had difficulties in the beginning and had taken more calls than they expected, so Prime Minister Howard held a conference to give additional information about the new system. Reportedly, the anti-war protestors in Australia last weekend were not as numerous as those in the US and Briton. Some speculate that a crack down on illegal immigration could account for smaller groups of protestors. Australia has literally let boat loads of people fend for themselves off the country’s coast, rather than take in immigrants that had not taken the proper and legal steps to enter the country.

Recently Australian Prime Minister Howard visited the US, and joined Defense Secretary Rumsfeld in speaking to the press about Iraq.

Prime Minister Howard:

"The relationship between Australia and the United States has many facets. One of those has been our constant cooperation in military conflicts over the years. We value very much that association. Australians, particularly the older generation, remember the vital help rendered to us during World War II by the United States. And together we have fought on many battlefields and done many things in pursuit of the values that we share.

"We face as close friends the threat around the world of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of rogue states and the frightening possibility that those same weapons could fall into the hands of international terrorists. That is a new dimension of instability, replacing some of the older threats. And that’s the motivation for what Australia has been doing, in partnership with the United States, concerning Iraq.

"We hope that military conflict can be avoided. It can only be avoided — if there’s a faint hope of it being avoided — that can only happen if you get the entire world, through the United Nations, saying the one thing to Iraq: The game is up. You must disarm."

Wednesday, the BBC posted some of the remarks that people gave on British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s efforts to communicate with those in his nation that are troubled over a possible war with Iraq:

"England is fortunate to have Tony Blair as their leader. Would anyone honestly prefer any of the other party leaders at this crucial point in time? As an American, I am grateful for his support and the ability to communicate facts in a clear and concise manner," wrote Patti, England.

Mike from Middlesbrough, England wrote: "Iraq comes down to a basic question, do we want to put our trust in Europe or the US. USA don’t need us but they want us, Europe don’t want us but they need us. This is a crunch time; I believe that in the long run the UK’s best interest lies in supporting the USA, and so does Tony Blair."