Blogs > Liberty and Power > But That's Not the Problem, Sir

Feb 8, 2004 1:06 pm

But That's Not the Problem, Sir

I just don't think I have the strength to do any serious parsing of the Bush interview on"Meet the Press." It seems to be pretty much standard stuff, in any case.

But since I'm feeling a little cranky this morning (still on my second cup of coffee, which barely gets me going), I will offer two brief comments about this passage:

I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign policy matters with war on my mind. Again, I wish it wasn't true, but it is true. And the American people need to know they got a president who sees the world the way it is. And I see dangers that exist, and it's important for us to deal with them.
First, Bush repeated this theme of being"a war president" throughout the interview -- and part of the the subtext clearly is that"the government possesses secret information that gives it special insight in determining policy," and that all the rest of us should unquestionably defer to the government's decisions in this area.

But I remind you that such a view is a terrible mistake, and it's the same mistake we made with regard to Vietnam, as I discussed here, excerpting some of Barbara Tuchman's comments on that subject.

Second, the problem, sir, with all due respect, is not that you"see dangers that exist."

The problem (among others) is that you see dangers that don't exist.

And that is a problem.

P.S. And, yes, Bush did actually say this:"Saddam Hussein was dangerous with weapons. Saddam Hussein was dangerous with the ability to make weapons." I discussed this unfortunately memorable phrase here.

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