Bush 'Detached' From Union, Anti-War Activists Say

By Nathan Burchfiel | July 7, 2008 | 8:32 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - After President Bush reiterated his plan to send more than 21,000 additional troops to Iraq during his State of the Union speech Tuesday evening, anti-war protestors criticized him for being "detached from the real state of the union."

"In order to make progress toward this goal (a democratic Iraq), the Iraqi government must stop the sectarian violence in its capital," Bush said. "But the Iraqis are not yet ready to do this on their own. So we're deploying reinforcements of more than 20,000 additional soldiers and Marines in Iraq."

Bush's "surge" plan has drawn criticism since before it was officially announced on Jan. 10. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have said the surge strategy "has already failed" and that "there is only a political solution."

Democratic leaders have reportedly sought ways to oppose the plan without appearing to withdraw support for the troops already in Iraq, including passage of a non-binding resolution expressing disapproval of the plan.

Reacting to Bush's commitment to the plan, the group Act Now to Stop War & End Racism (ANSWER) on Tuesday said Bush doesn't understand the public mood about the war and should withdraw troops.

"There is no light at the end of this tunnel," the group said in a statement. "The military adventure in Iraq has failed. It is unconscionable that one more Iraqi citizen or one more U.S. soldier should be required to give their life so that President Bush can postpone the perception of having failed in Iraq."

ANSWER is one of several groups organizing an anti-war protest in the nation's capital on January 27. According to the group, "there will be a huge demonstration that will literally surround the Capitol building in a sea of protest."

The group estimates that "millions of people in the United States will be participating in anti-war demonstrations" in the coming months and that "the true state of the union will be demonstrated" at those protests.

"The public mood in the United States is precisely where it was in 1969 during the Vietnam war," ANSWER said. "The anti-war sentiment is not simply a majority sentiment, it is overwhelming."

Recent polling suggests that while optimism for the Iraq war is lower than hope for the Vietnam War was shortly after Richard Nixon became president in 1969, Americans now are more committed to achieving victory than withdrawing.

A Gallup poll conducted in March 1969 found that 25 percent of Americans supported an escalation of military efforts in Vietnam, while 21 percent favored an immediate pullout. Fifteen percent wanted to "continue present policy," and another 15 percent wanted to "end the war as soon as possible."

More than half of Americans at the time felt that the United States "made a mistake sending troops to fight in Vietnam." A Jan. 13-16, 2007, Los Angeles Times poll found that 62 percent of Americans think the situation in Iraq was not worth going to war over.

The poll found that 60 percent of Americans oppose Bush's "surge" plan while 35 percent support it -- more than the 25 percent who supported troop increases in Vietnam in March of 1969.

While 21 percent of Americans in March 1969 favored an immediate pullout from Vietnam, 19 percent of respondents in the Los Angeles Times poll favored an immediate withdrawal. Forty-six percent said the United States should withdraw troops within a year while 30 percent said American troops should "stay as long as it takes."

Bush has said withdrawing troops would indicate failure. In his State of the Union address, he said: "Every one of us wishes this war were over and won. Yet it would not be like us to leave our promises unkept, our friends abandoned, and our own security at risk."

He painted a bleak picture for the future of Iraq if troops are redeployed. "If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides," Bush said. "A contagion of violence could spill out across the country -- and in time, the entire region could be drawn into the conflict."

See Related Stories:
Democrats Reject 'Troop Surge' Option for Iraq (Jan. 8, 2007)
Republicans Divided on Bush's Troop Surge Plan (Jan. 11, 2007)
Environmentalists ?Abandon Hope? After Bush Speech (Jan. 24, 2007)
State of the Union Address 2007 (Jan. 24, 2007)
Democratic Response to 2007 State of the Union Address (Jan. 24, 2007)

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