George W. Bush was sworn in as U.S. president last week. Congratulations, Mr. President, we here at the RN&R are sure you will continue to represent your constituents in the manner to which their reduced expectations have accustomed them.
Forty million can buy a lot of pomp and circumstance, and the ceremony sure looked good on TV—the pageantry, the cameras, the pre-cast adoring throngs who were allowed near enough to congratulate you in the sanitized, made-for-TV swearing in of our Leader and commander in chief.
It appears the $40 million was well-spent. The president’s image is as sparkly, bright and clean as a freshly polished knob.
It’s a shame the action in Iraq cast such a pall over the whole thing. That news on Jan. 12 that the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq had ended unsuccessfully might have made at least some of the people watching the inauguration question just what Bush means when he swears on that Bible. However, we, the doting press, don’t have any questions about his veracity. We, after all, published his inauguration speech calling for leaders of other countries to value liberty as highly as he does, just as many of us published his words about WMDs, when he was planning the questionable war.
“Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.”
— G.W.B. Sept. 12, 2002
“Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons.”
—G.W.B. Oct. 5, 2002
“The Iraqi regime … possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas. We’ve also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas.”
—G.W.B. Oct. 7, 2002
“Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.”
—G.W.B. Jan. 28, 2003
“Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”
—G.W.B. March 18, 2003
“We are learning more as we interrogate or have discussions with Iraqi scientists and people within the Iraqi structure, that perhaps he destroyed some, perhaps he dispersed some. And so we will find them.”
—G.W.B. April 24, 2003
“We’ll find them. It’ll be a matter of time to do so.”
—G.W.B. May 3, 2003
So help him, God. The real problem, though, isn’t that many Americans believed him when he used these words. The real problem is that it appears that he did.