I know that many of you don't much like the Oregonian, but I thought you might want to see this editorial. It hit the nail on the head, in my opinion.
The president's circular logic
In a tough interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," Bush betrays no sign that he knows how to adjust his course
A mericans, understandably, aren't eager to think of the White House as an on-the-job training program for commanders-in-chief, but the fact remains that most presidents do learn on the job. And if they're smart, what they learn is immediately reflected in their presidencies, not just filed away for further musing when they write their memoirs.
Sadly, George W. Bush's performance during a "Meet the Press" interview on Sunday was lackluster across the board. By now, Americans are familiar with a kind of contagious unease they sometimes feel, watching the president fumble for answers.
What was downright unnerving this time, however, was the president's failure to betray even a whisker of the possibility that he has learned something from the collapse of prewar intelligence on Iraq.
The ultimate verdict on Iraq will depend on how and whether the United States succeeds in replacing Saddam Hussein's violent regime with something better. That requires a commitment to help build a new Iraq, yet Sunday the president seemed as ambivalent as ever about nation building.
His unwillingness to adjust course made his statement "I'm a war president" far from reassuring. Although we can all hope that the future proves the president right about Iraq, Americans need straight answers now. And Bush gave no sign he's demanding them.
Where is this president's anger? Where is his determination to get to the bottom of intelligence failures that led him to conclude Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction?
"In light of not finding the weapons of mass destruction, do you believe the war in Iraq is a war of choice or a war of necessity?" NBC's Tim Russert asked the president.
"I think that's an interesting question. Please elaborate on that a little bit," Bush said. "A war of choice or a war of necessity? It's a war of necessity. We . . . had no choice when we looked at the intelligence I looked at . . ."
Which was in error, Mr. President.
Russert was not rude enough to point that out, but the president's failure to interrupt the circle of his own logic is troubling. He insists that the American people trust him, and he trusts -- and apparently continues to trust -- the intelligence reports he is given.
Even his own appointment of a commission to investigate pre-war intelligence Bush painted as a "big-picture" look to benefit future presidents -- as if his administration didn't need help.
After the Bay of Pigs fiasco in the early days of his administration, President Kennedy made it clear that he would not be gulled again by faulty intelligence. His determination helped lead to his successful handling, a year later, of the Cuban missile crisis.
The American people may not enjoy seeing their presidents learn on the job, but they are likely to be far more disturbed by a president who doesn't seem to be learning.
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