President Bush gave an extremely rare
prime-time news conference on Tuesday, devoted largely to
discussing the current state of affairs in Iraq. In his speech,
Bush spoke about “staying the course” in the “war
on terror,” but did little to alleviate the growing national
fear the administration is glossing over the deteriorating
situation in Iraq. As could be seen last week by the vicious
killings of four Americans in the city of Falluja, as well as the
ensuing militant uprising, the situation in Iraq is breaking down.
With the planned transfer of power set for June 30, Iraq is nowhere
near ready for self-governance. Bush and his administration must
start being honest with the public and accurately present the true
severity of the conditions in Iraq.
Two weeks ago, four U.S. contractors were dragged from their
cars and burned alive by an angry mob in the Iraqi city of Falluja.
Following this attack, U.S. military forces launched an offensive
against militant groups in the city, killing more than 600 people
in the process. There is currently a cease fire in place between
the U.S. forces and the militants, but that the world’s most
powerful military had to come to an agreement with a rebel militia
is not a good sign.
Perhaps in response to growing pressure, Bush gave his first
news conference of the year on Tuesday. Bush has held fewer
conferences than any other president in modern times — during
what could arguably be considered one of the most important eras in
our nation’s history. In Tuesday’s news conference,
Bush addressed the situation in Falluja by saying that there had
been some “tough weeks” recently. The word
“tough” does not seem to adequately express the carnage
that can be seen by turning on any TV news program for a matter of
minutes. Bush is using the same old rhetoric that he has used time
and again to justify the war in Iraq, yet he fails to make any
attempt at explaining to the public what is actually occurring in
this far-away land.
The Bush administration continues to claim that the June 30
transfer of sovereignty is going to bring democracy and peace to
all Iraqis. As of now, Bush has not identified what group will
accept control over the country, simply that it will not be the
United States; as he said during his conference, “We’ll
find out that soon.” Clearly, one of Bush’s motivations
to remain true to the June 30 deadline is his November election.
Bush is in effect weighing the lives of American soldiers and
Iraqis against his political future.
The past few weeks in Iraq have been more than
“tough” — they have been horrible. With militias
holding hostages and more U.S. soldiers killed every day, the
American public should be able to depend on its leader for an
accurate representation of the events occurring in Iraq. To date,
the President has not appeared trustworthy. Bush needs to stop
trying to spin the situation into a fictional political victory and
instead work toward an actual success.