TCU Daily Skiff Friday, February 13, 2004
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President uses show to defend decisions

COMMENTARY
Sebastian Meyer

When the president of the United States says in a television interview that the reason why he went to war was "lack of intelligence," it seems like something that should be reserved for a "Saturday Night Live" skit. Yet the president did just that on Tim Russert's "Meet The Press," as well as evade questions while issuing well-rehearsed statements Sunday.

Confronted about the continuing weapons of mass destruction controversy, President George W. Bush went in circles for a long time insisting that it had been the intelligence that was at fault. Saying "I know I'm getting repetitive," and that he does not "want to sound like a broken record," he nevertheless kept issuing well-rehearsed statements.

And while Bush claims that it was the intelligence community that provided him with information that he now admits seems to be false, it makes one wonder at what point in the war process the government found out that the information was indeed false.

Recent reports have shown that the Bush administration knew about the lack of WMDs in Iraq since early on in the war, yet repeatedly kept insisting "the weapons will be found," as recently as a few weeks ago. It should be investigated if there was an intentional misconstruing of the facts. While Bush appointed members of an intelligence committee Friday to investigate such allegations, the findings are not expected before the presidential election in November.

This matter will not be cleared up before voters step into the booth in November, as Bush said he did not "want it to be hurried." He further said "the commission (is set up to) help future presidents understand how best to fight the war on terror." A worthy goal, but it would also mean that voters may inadvertently learn about the shortcomings of a president they re-elected mere months before.

The statement that Bush sees himself as a "war president" is also less than reassuring. Such statements by Bush do not make it clear if he understands that war should be a last resort rather than a quick fix and that there are more issues at hand than waging war.

Seemingly eager to discuss the economy, Bush responded to the question "Why, as a fiscal conservative as you like to call yourself, would you allow a $500 billion deficit and this kind of deficit disaster?" Bush responded "The budget I just proposed to the Congress cuts the deficit in half in five years."

So let's get this straight: Here is a man that led the nation to war based on facts that turned out to be untrue, and while the war was in full sweep kept insisting the assertions leading to the war were true. A man under whose leadership the nation's biggest surplus of $281 billion was turned into the biggest deficit but now seems upbeat about the possibility of cutting down it down to a $250 billion deficit within five years.

And yet he wants to be re-elected president. Maybe this is simply his famed "strategery," but it hardly seems like a good one.

Sebastian Meyer is a columnist for The Oracle of the University of South Florida. This column was distributed by U-Wire.
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