Bush and the Gulf: Time For Doubt

Bush admits that support for his Persian Gulf policy is ebbing -- largely because he has failed to explain his goals clearly

All of a sudden the threat of war has begun to hit home in America. When President Bush first sent U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia last August, he explained that their mission was "wholly defensive," to protect that country against an Iraqi attack. But right after the Nov. 6 midterm election, he abandoned that explanation and announced a huge new buildup, to 380,000, designed "to ensure that the coalition has an adequate offensive military option."

To many Americans, it sounded as though Bush was planning to lead the U.S. into a war to oust Iraq from the conquered oil sheikdom of...

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