Wednesday, June 02, 2004


There’s no need to wonder why the White House Web site doesn’t include the speech President Bush gave tonight at the U.S. Air Force Academy. It’s gibberish. And it includes assertions that are, by now, ludicrous in the telling.

In it, Bush directly compares the war in Iraq with World War II, talks again of weapons of mass destruction -- in carefully chosen weasel words -- and, incredibly, continues to connect Iraq with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“Like the Second World War, our present conflict began with a ruthless surprise attack on the United States. We will not forget that treachery, and we will accept nothing less than victory over the enemy,” he told the graduating Air Force cadets.

Perhaps it’s a flaw in New York Times reportage, but the speech even seemed to include sentences that literally, as well as reasonably, made no sense. What are we to make of Bush’s warning that “We can only imagine the scale of terrorist crimes were they to gain control of states of weapons of mass murder or vast oil revenues”? The Times doesn’t give context on who “they” is, but what are “states of weapons of mass murder”? If Bush is implying an oil- or weapon-rich Iraq could invade a terrorist state as it did Kuwait, taking over its munitions, why didn’t we take on those actual terrorist states that could have been invaded? The comment also ignores the reality that Iraq had no active program for weapons of mass destruction, mainly because containment and United Nations inspections were working.

More so than many Bush speeches, which are merely full of rhetoric, this one comes off as a true embarrassment, yet another White House product that fails to stand up to even the most casual analysis. Its distance from reality isn’t new, though -- just its loneliness. Even the White House Web site won’t claim it.

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