President George W. Bush is not letting reality get in the way of his campaign. Under the pressure to control the “narrative” of how the American people perceive the increasingly bad situation in Iraq, the economy and other bad news of recent days, Bush apparently threw his last scruples overboard in his bid for re-election.
While Sen. John Kerry tried his best to stand up to the constant misconstruing of facts let loose by the sitting president of the United States, it was simply impossible to counter them all.
During the debate Bush said, “Gosh, I just don’t think I ever said I’m not worried about Osama bin Laden. It’s kind of one of those exaggerations.”
When asked on March 13, 2003, during a press conferences the president gave at the White House, “Do you believe the threat that bin Laden posed won’t truly be eliminated until he is found either dead of alive?” Bush responded: “I’ll repeat what I said: I truly am not that concerned about him.”
He had vowed to find bin Laden “dead or alive,” but when bin Laden got away, Bush tried to play him down. Meanwhile, he had already set his mind on the plan to invade Iraq so he started to shift away from mentioning bin Laden in order to focus on Saddam Hussein.
Bush also said during the debate, in regard to veterans’ health care, “Of course we’re meeting our obligation to our veterans, and the veterans know that. … Veterans are getting very good health care under my administration, and they will continue to do so during the next four years.”
On Feb. 2, 2004, the group Veterans of Foreign Wars had this to say about their benefits outlined in the 2005 budget: “This deplorable budget will do nothing to alleviate the many thousands of veterans who are waiting six months or more for basic health care appointments with (Veterans Administrations) … This is inexcusable.”
By now, such blatant lies are the norm for the Bush campaign. A new ad that started airing this week claims Kerry characterized terrorists as a “nuisance.” It is very important to note how the ad mentions the things Kerry supposedly said. In the commercial the words “terrorists,” “nuisance,” “gambling” and “prostitution” appear in speech bubbles surrounding Kerry while the narrator of the ad says “how can Kerry protect us when he doesn’t understand the threat?”
I would agree that it would be very damning if Kerry had said such a thing. Thankfully, he never did.
In a very analytical 8,000-word story in the New York Times magazine, a reporter tried to understand what Kerry’s underlying philosophy behind the war on terror would be.
Kerry said the following: “We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance. As a former law-enforcement person, I know we’re never going to end prostitution. We’re never going to end illegal gambling. But we’re going to reduce it, (like) organized crime, to a level where it isn’t on the rise. It isn’t threatening people’s lives every day, and fundamentally, it’s something that you continue to fight, but it’s not threatening the fabric of your life.”
He never said terrorists were a nuisance, but rather that he hopes one day we can defeat them to a point where we can think of them as such and not as a threat that we have to fear every day.
Bush even said a similar thing on NBC’s Today Show. When he was asked if the United States “can win” the war on terror, Bush said, “I don’t think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions in so that the — those that use terror as a tool are — less acceptable in parts of the world.” He later retracted the statement, changed his stance 180 degrees and said in front of a crowd in Nashville, Tenn., “We meet today in a time of war for our country, a war we did not start yet one that we will win.”
This is not a question of Bush getting a few facts wrong here and there. This is a blatant and premeditated barrage of lies in an effort to retake the presidency at any cost. At this point he must figure he has nothing to lose. This may be true, but it also means that America has everything to lose if it chooses to re-elect a president who habitually lies to them.
Sebastian Meyer is a junior majoring in geography and is the Oracle Opinion Editor.