The State of the Union is Scary

| January 2003

President Bush addressed the nation Tuesday night, hoping to calm economic markets and the frazzled nerves of a citizenry torn over the threat of terrorism at home and impending war abroad. He failed on both fronts.

As William Rivers Pitt notes in, the address was more noteworthy for what Bush didn?t say than for what he did. The president did his best to talk up Homeland Security without mentioning the Total(itarian) Information Awareness database, he boasted of efforts to curb corporate crime without alluding to his friends at Enron who helped write the Cheny energy plan, and he promoted his next big tax cut without noting that his first one had sparked a massive increase in unemployment.

Bush delivered his laundy list of big-ticket proposals, including a missile defense shield, drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and more noble efforts like new drug treatment programs and funding to help stem Africa?s AIDS crisis, with nary a mention of the massive deficits his administration had already generated. ?At one point during the reading of this fiduciary laundry list, Bush demanded fiscal responsibility from the government,? Pitt writes. ?A roving camera caught House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi bursting into laughter when that line came across.?

In his attempt to make a case for war with Iraq, Bush accused Saddam Hussein of supporting terrorism without providing any evidence of a link with al Quaeda. Indeed, writes Pitt, the scenario the president painted bordered on the ludicrous. ?He failed to mention that Hussein is a secular dictator who has spent the last 30 years crushing Islamic fundamentalism in Iraq, failed to mention the death threats levied against him by al Qaeda, and failed to mention the absolute fact that Hussein would never be so stupid as to give weapons or aid to blood enemies. Were he to do so, he would find those weapons immediately turned against him.?

The president also did not acknowledge the increasing number of military officials?including General Norman Schwartzkopf?who have counseled him to allow the U.N. inspections to run their course, Pitt notes. And, of course, he conveniently forgot to mention the name of the man who we all thought this war on terror was all about: Osama bin Laden.

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