Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Is the Bush Administration Misleading the Public on Purpose?

The more I think about this upcoming "Preventive" war on Iraq and the situation with North Korea, the more I feel the public is being deceived or misled on purpose by Administration officials. Yesterday, I read a story where Condi Rice, in trying to explain the delay between the public and Congress being informed about the North Korean Nuclear capability, stated that the reason it took 12 days for the news to get out was that Bush wanted to meet with his advisers first. Sure, I think that is acceptable, but why does meeting to hear with advisers take 12 days? Should he not have immediate access to their opinions?

Perhaps if Congressional democrats, or Congress as a whole knew about the North Korean testing, this might have influenced their decision on the Iraq resolution vote. That could not be why the Administration never informed Congress or the Public, could it?

Dana Milbank, in Today's Washington Post, has a great article writing about Bush's "flights of fancy in recent weeks."

Here is some of the article:
"Last month, asked if there were new and conclusive evidence of Hussein's nuclear weapons capabilities, Bush cited a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency saying the Iraqis were "six months away from developing a weapon." And last week, the president said objections by a labor union to having customs officials wear radiation detectors has the potential to delay the policy "for a long period of time."

All three assertions were powerful arguments for the actions Bush sought. And all three statements were dubious, if not wrong. Further information revealed that the aircraft lack the range to reach the United States; there was no such report by the IAEA; and the customs dispute over the detectors was resolved long ago.

As Bush leads the nation toward a confrontation with Iraq and his party into battle in midterm elections, his rhetoric has taken some flights of fancy in recent weeks. Statements on subjects ranging from the economy to Iraq suggest that a president who won election underscoring Al Gore's knack for distortions and exaggerations has been guilty of a few himself."

The problem that I have is that these deceptions seem to be calculated, as if they are political moves to motivate the dumb masses. As Stephen Hess, a Brookings Inst. scholar notes, "Everybody makes mistakes when they open their mouths and we forgive them," Brookings Institution scholar Stephen Hess said. Some of Bush's overstatements appear to be off-the-cuff mistakes. But, Hess said, "what worries me about some of these is they appear to be with foresight. This is about public policy in its grandest sense, about potential wars and who is our enemy, and a president has a special obligation to getting it right."

The White House, while acknowledging that on one occasion the president was "imprecise," said it stands by his words. "The president's statements are well documented and supported by the facts," Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer said. "We reject any allegation to the contrary."

Its too bad the facts don't agree with what Bush is saying.


Post a Comment

<< Home