Most of you are aware that I generally approve of President Bush, and that I agreed with the invasion of Iraq. You can look through my old Front Page Rants for explanations.
Neither of these things has changed.
But the Bush administration’s propensity for wimping out of public discussion on the Iraq war makes them appear horribly insecure, which doesn’t do anybody any good. President Bush led us to war in Iraq harping on weapons of mass destruction as the primary reason, and those weapons have not turned up. ‘We the people’ deserve an explanation for why our president made flimsy evidence and intelligence misjudgments the cornerstone of his persuasive public discourse in the lead-up to this conflict.
We need strong explanations and strong justifications for this war. Failing to provide them only foments dissatisfaction among the American public.
In his press conference on April 13, President Bush was asked this question: “Sir, you’ve made it very clear tonight that you’re committed to continuing the mission in Iraq, yet, as Terry pointed out, increasing numbers of Americans have qualms about it. . . . Will it have been worth it, even if you lose your job because of it?”
The president’s answer? “I don’t plan on losing my job. I plan on telling the American people that I’ve got a plan to win the war on terror. And I believe they’ll stay with me. They understand the stakes.”
That’s not an answer. The first thing out of his mouth should have been, “Absolutely, it would have been worth it. We did the right thing.” Or, if he’s changed his mind, he should say so and tell us why. Don’t beat around the bush (pardon the pun), don’t spin us, just answer the damned question.
Now, President Bush seeks to prohibit the media from printing and broadcasting photographs of fallen soldiers’ bodies returning to the United States in flag-draped coffins, out of a fear that it would turn Americans against the war (read about it in the Washington Post—free registration may be required). No, Dubya, trying to hide reality from us is what will turn Americans against this war and eventually against your presidency. American soldiers in body bags aren’t a piddly issue that can be swept under the rug, they are a sad reality that we have to face head on—like the seemingly non-existent weapons of mass destruction and our president’s apparent inability to clearly and logically justify a war.
The Iraq war was the right thing to do, but I shouldn’t be the one who has to convince everybody of that. I voted for President Bush in 2000—my first time at the polls—because he was a straight-talker who told the truth, but he’s been awfully evasive lately. Even I am starting to wonder if he has something to hide.