George W. Bush: Phony warrior


Of all the phony political images that have bombarded us in the five years since al Qaeda terrorists struck the United States, the phoniest of all remains the sight of George W. Bush donning a fighter pilot’s uniform and landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier to proclaim "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq.

The point of that little stunt was to send the visual message that Bush was the strong leader that America needed to triumph in a war against our enemies. As a piece of propaganda, it was fabulously successful. If the goal of propaganda is to make black seem white, then the fact the Bush administration still emphasizes this message is a tribute to the administration’s ongoing triumph in its propagandistic war against reality.

That, however, is the only war this president is actually winning. With a little more than two years remaining in his presidency, Bush is on course to end up as the worst commander in chief in the 217-year history of his office.

One way to appreciate just what a colossal failure he has been is to imagine for a moment that he wasn’t a straight-talking, brush-clearing, football-loving fellow from the hardscrabble West Texas countryside, but was instead someone whose outward appearance didn’t lend itself so readily to projecting a superficial image of strength.

Imagine, if you will, how George W. Bush’s performance as commander in chief would be perceived if he happened to be a woman. To help this thought experiment along, let’s give him a woman’s name. Don’t think of him as "George," think of him as "Hillary."

Now imagine if Hillary had been president on Sept. 11, 2001. Suppose that, five years later, the man responsible for that attack was not only still alive and free, but was thumbing his nose at the United States via tape recordings that mocked America’s military power and national resolve. Would such a woman seem like a strong leader?

Imagine if Hillary was in the process of losing not one, but two, wars against miserable Third World countries whose combined armed forces didn’t equal a 50th of America’s military might. Would she still seem like an able commander in chief? How would Americans react to her repeated assertions that, despite her catastrophic record as a military leader, we could trust her to keep America safe?

Imagine if this woman had allowed a surrounded Osama bin Laden to escape because, instead of sending American troops to either kill or capture a man who has murdered thousands of Americans, she trusted foreign mercenaries to do the job instead.

Imagine if she refused to fire the inept buffoon who was her secretary of defense despite repeated complaints from across the political spectrum _ and even from her own generals _ that he had utterly bungled both the wars her administration was in the process of losing. Would that decision project an image of strength?

It is indeed a miracle of propaganda that President Bush can claim he has been anything but a spectacular failure as commander in chief, and not elicit hoots of derision from everyone who isn’t actually paid by the administration to utter politically convenient lies.

If he were a Democrat or a woman (or, God forbid, both), he could have never gotten away with any of this. After five years of his "strong leadership," Iraq is a chaotic mess, three-quarters of Afghanistan is back in the hands of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden is alive, free and planning more terrorist attacks. With strength like this, who needs weakness?

Yet our lapdog media keep obediently delivering the message that black is white. Perhaps the president should land on another aircraft carrier, and call it "Mission Accomplished Again."

(Paul C. Campos is a law professor at the University of Colorado and can be reached at Paul.Campos(at)


  1. Scott S.

    From a college that already breeds controversial views, like those of Ward Churchill, comes yet another professor jumping on the anti-bush bandwagon. Is a liberal law professor really an expert on GOP politics? I highly doubt it.
    Campos brings up the only defense that the ill fated Democratic Party has in their arsenal which is spend all resources into bashing Bush. So long as the Democratic Party presumes that agenda they do not stand a chance in the political arena.
    Ok, so Bush did fly on to a carrier donning a flight suit. All aircrew and VIP wear the required flight suits and survival gear. The flight suits are flame retardant and the rest of the gear is for water survival incase of a crash. We all know that there was a “Mission Accomplish” banner on the ship that was viewable when the President spoke. The ship’s crew was responsible for hanging that up after completing their mission (6 month cruise) of defending our country. Besides, the Encarta encyclopedia defines a mission as “an assigned task” or as “or a single task”. I would agree with Campos if the banner stated “War was won” or “We are victorious”. Bush does not need a “little stunt” to send the message that he is a strong leader. Those little stunts are needed for presidents like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Now there are two leaders who failed to step up to the plates and put a stop to terrorism before it started. OBL (Osama Bin Laden) did not just only appear during the Bush Administration, but he was threatening us long before then. So, ask yourself, how come President Clinton didn’t do anything after the first WTC attack? I know, because he was on track to join the best U.S. Presidents list just because we had a booming economy. He didn’t want to upset his chance with a war on terrorism.
    Another thing to consider is that we haven’t had a terrorist attack since 9/11. So it is obvious that something is being done right. I’m just sick and tired of people (especially democrats) who undermine our president and the current wars to achieve political status. I remember when we had a nation that was brought together after the tragedy of 9/11 only to separate themselves from society after losing the 2004 election. Our nation needs security and the democratic try to undermine our nation by trying to make the president look bad so that they will look like heroes. The Democratic Party has stalled on securing our borders, obstructing the patriot act, and bashing our commander in chief. They fight harder for Al Qaeda prisoner rights then our own citizen’s rights. And their partners at the New York Times disclosed information that undermines our national security. Do you wish to align yourself with a party that wishes that the U.S. would get attacked again so they can say “I told you so”? Or, do you want your political party to focus on name calling more than focusing on how they can ethically get back into the house? For me, I wish to align myself on positive politics that stay optimistic on the war on terror and that do not back down to threats made to our wonderful country. It’s one thing to say that something is totally messed up and it’s another thing to do something about and in my opinion the democrats failed to do the latter.
    President Bush may never be one of the greatest, but in our time he fits the position better then those coward democrats. Just look back at the last few years, we haven’t been attacked, our economy came out of a recession, taxes were less then ever considering the nation’s effort, no child left behind is working, millions of new jobs were created, and most American’s do not live in fear anymore.
    My advice to Democrats, abandon your president bashing politics and actually do something for your country beside talk.

  2. Big George
    (To the tune of “Long John Blues” as recorded by Dinah Washington)

    Oh we got a president thinks he’s ten feet tall
    We got a president talks like he’s ten feet tall
    But when we look hard at him
    Why, there ain’t no man there at all

    He don’t fly no plane, don’t drive no car
    Falls offa his bike, can’t play guitar
    Can’t knock a nail in a little bit o’ wood
    Yet he took us to war — ‘cos God said he should

    Says he talks to God ‘most every day
    Yet loves scheming rogues like Tom DeLay
    Despises the Constitution, of paper a scrap
    Made to be avoided and treated like crap

    Rides a mountain bike, keeps away from hills
    Loves to wear uniform, war gives him the thrills
    Loves to dodge duty, breaks his oath at will
    Hell, I’m a war president, I’ll do what I will


    President George Bush was a commissioned officier and pilot in the Air National Guard. Had his unit been called to combat duty, he would have gone to Vietnam. To call him a phony warrior is to be lying. I doubt that Paul C. Campos has served in the military in peace or war. I would bet good money that he undermined the war in Vietnam, just as he is doing in this one.
    The day the war started over three years ago, I told my wife that the Democrats would turn on the war the first chance they got. So I wasn’t surprised. I had seen the leaders of the Democrat party in their youth protesting the Vietnam war. Their actions are the main reason I don’t vote for Democrats.
    The liberals seem to think that life is some scripted movie where certain things should happen in a logical way. Such as this war should be winding down after three years, with a light at the end of the tunnel. Sorry, but life is not like that. In the battle of Okinawa,the last battle of world war two, we lost four times the people that we did at Pearl Harbor,the first batlle. That was not in the battleplan. Yet no one demanded we stop fighting the Japanese. We went on to victory.
    Without meaning to sound callus, forty times as many United States citizens have been murdered here at home in the last three years as military personel have died in in Iraq. I am not being cavalier about that fact either; My youngest brother is a marine on his second tour over there. I have a stake in this war too.
    Finally, Our enemies shall only be emboldened by retreat in the way bullies are. They shall not see it as a reasonable move to be respected. No, they shall see it as proof they are on the right path to defeat us completely. All they have to do is outwait us.

  4. Taras

    Bush is no more a warrior than the other elitist chicken hawks who’ve killed millions of mostly innocent people. Even his own father is what he’s not, Bush the Elder at least flew combat missions and was shot down more than once. HE was dropping bombs on people trying very hard for their part to blow him right out the the air. GWB never been shot at, never killed an enemy soldier in battle, let alone been wounded or lost commrades. He has no moral right or authority to send others to their deaths. I thank God I never joined the military.

  5. truthspeak

    All this money time and effort to find Bin Laden and still nobody knows anything? maybe we should ask Bush Sr. he was enjoying brunch with the Bin Laden family on the morning of 9/11 at the Ritz Carlton in Washington D.C.

    Maybe at the next brunch, he could ask them, “hey have you seen Osama?”

  6. Blake

    The bush administration doesn’t care about Osama Bin Laden anymore because maybe they know something we don’t. When was the last time we’ve seen him on video? I believe the most recent was in Nov 2004? Then again as long as there are infrequent audiotapes from someone the CIA claims to be Osama, the administration can still dredge up his ghost when need be to constantly remind us about 9/11, and propagandize about the need for this endless ‘phony war’ on terrorism. As in the war on drugs, the only ones who really suffer are the American people who get to live with ever more government intrusion, more secrecy and ultimately less freedom not more.

  7. Rice Farmer

    It amazes me that anyone still believes Bush actually wanted to capture UBL, our CIA man in the Middle East (assuming he’s still alive). At every opportunity, the US government has declined to take UBL, even when he’s offered on a silver platter. He’s Bush’s best bogeyman, and it wouldn’t do to capture him.

  8. anthnytap

    Just blame Bill Clinton, it’s his fault that we are where we are. Of course this is the new propaganda from Rove and his band of fake journalists.
    If it were Hillary Clinton doing the job of president she would have been impeached and tarred and feathered and hung in central square.
    In a sense of a football game just remember that little Georgie was a cheer leader who danced and sang the players to victory. I being not in the minority never have had much respect for cheer leaders that were men and I being of no power must grin and bare our terrible situation in the world of the Neo-Con-Men who have stole everything they could get there hands on that was not nailed down, mission accomplished for what they set out to do!!!!!!

  9. Jackson

    Bush is not only a “phony warrior” as the author points out, but just plain phony period! Bush more than any other modern president, is essentially a media creation, completely devoid of any talents save lying, being a Zionist stoodge, as well as bringing death, and destruction, to Americans and innocent nations abroad. Bush’s saving grace however, is that he presides over a nation, where useful idiots apparently far outnumber intelligent citizens!

  10. Phil

    This bothers me. Ranting about this crew’s incompetence is all well and good, but would a skilled, competent group of warmongers be much better? We don’t need people who are good at fighting wars, we need people who don’t start them in the first place.

    “But they’re our enemies! But they hate us!” As ye sow. If the US started acting civilized in the world, stopped being the world’s biggest sponsor of terrorism and cut off funding for Israel’s war crimes, we’d all be amazed at just how much goodwill the Muslim world would have the capacity to give us.

    The bush administration doesn’t care about Osama Bin Laden anymore because maybe they know something we don’t. When was the last time we’ve seen him on video? I believe the most recent was in Nov 2004?

    No, the ’04 tape was an obvious fake.

    You’re right though; they’ve never wanted to capture him because they need a bogeyman, preferably a dead one. Maybe they even got Osama to agree to be a patsy before he died; after all, their families have had such a close personal friendship for so long, what’s one more favor for an old buddy?

  11. David

    Will we ever be able to look back at this time and laugh? No, I think not. There will be a time that anybody asked, Did you vote for Bush? Not one will answer, Yes. I just hope in the near future we will no longer be at war or need a war time president. I’m tired of hearing who’s to blame, for this or that. I’m tired of hearing, if he were president. It’s time to stop living in the present and look to the future. What will the new president do? How will he or she, get us out of Iraq? What will be done to fix all the damage that has been done? This is what we should be debating and start getting answers to and from who are these answers coming from?

  12. mimirae

    I am so sick of this whole mess, all the cover up all the lies, deception,
    killing everywhere and the people with their heads still firmly in the sand.
    ..It’s always the “common’ people who suffer and die rather than those who cause it to further their greedy goals..In my estimation,
    bin laden was a well paid facilitator, a willing patsy (who is probably dead) and al Qadea a euphemism for the greedy global power elite who are the ones who are really the cause of it all and always have been. Global asset control their goal. They care not what lays in the wake of their goals.. history being repeated
    over and over, escalated horror with advanced weaponry as time goes on and forcing good people to do their dirty work, enlisting the sick and soul less to escalate and manipulate.
    They, the greedy elite, are the ones who manipulate and cause the hate, unrest, bigotry, discrimination etc etc etc…around the globe.
    Look and see our is sickening.

    A history of aggression by those in charge of this nation…using us to do it, with the so called ‘elected’ as the puppets.
    The perfect puppet for this round of horror is Bush. An egomanical, greedy self serving, lying, cowardly, soul-less dry drunk willing to do anything to think he is important. To credit him with making any decision on his own, other than
    whether to tie his shoelaces is giving him credit for more brain power than he deserves.

    As for the power elite..check the 4 pages of names of the Bilderberg Group and see who they represent..then put the peices together. And by the way, Bill Clinton has been a member since 1991. Not who or what we are lead to believe. A member of the Trilateralist first..(as was Bush Sr.)
    Check the names of the Trilateral commission and how many there are in leadership positions. We are so duped and so lied to and so used.
    And, If you are still laboring under the delusion that 9/11 wasn’t made in the U.S.A. then I suggest you go to and get the 59 page book Waking up from our nightmare:the 911 Crimes
    in NYC by Jim Hoffman & Don Paul.
    Facts not crap…whatta concept!

  13. Denise Calhoun

    I think the proof that he is not looking for Bin Laden was a couple of days ago when a US fighter plane flew over a remote area and spotted 190 taliban attending a funeral. I realize there is a moral rule that states no one is allowed to shoot at or bomb one of these events, but it is O.K. for Bush and Cheney to torture the prisoners at Gauntanimo. I also know that under these circumstances, with no civilians around they can ignore this rule. What kind of message do you think the taliban got when they saw this plane fly over them without shooting at them. We missed the perfect opportunity to demolish 190 of our enemies in one fell swoop. Chances that Bin Laden was at or very near to this funeral, was definitely possibility and we blundered any chance of finding out. If this is our military strategy, no wonder so many of our poor soldiers are being killed or permanently maimed for an unjustifiable war. Many are there because there was no other way for them to get and education. They did not necessarily believe in this war, they just wanted to be assured they would be able to get an education, so they can get a good job and support their families. The sad thing is why do our soldiers have to die to get an education. Why doesn’t the media cover this aspect. Talk to some of the crippled soldiers that have returned and I bet we would see a different angle in this war.
    Impeach BUSH and Slap Cheney