E. J. Dionne Jr. wrote in WaPo Mr. President, it won't work this time.
You must be afraid it will, or you would not have written this piece.With a Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll finding 57 percent of Americans agreeing that George W. Bush "deliberately misled people to make the case for war with Iraq," the president clearly needs to tend to his credibility problems.
That 57% is because the MSM has been helping the Dems spread that lie.But his partisan attacks on the administration's critics, in a Veterans Day speech last week and in Alaska yesterday, will only add to his troubles. Bush was not subtle. He said that anyone accusing his administration of having "manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people" was giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
He is right. But the NYT and WaPo provide aid and comfprt to our enemy all the time."These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will," Bush declared last week. "As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them." You wonder: Did Patrick Fitzgerald, the special counsel in the Valerie Plame leak investigation, send the wrong signal to our troops and our enemy by daring to seek the indictment of Scooter Libby on a charge of perjury and obstruction of justice? Must Americans who support our troops desist from any criticism of the use of intelligence by the administration?
Fitzgerald made it clear that his indictment had nothing to do with the war in Iraq.here is a great missing element in the argument over whether the administration manipulated the facts.
Because it is a foolish discussion. Dems dont want to talk about it because they supported it; they just want to destroy Bush with fake charges about fooling them into doing something their left wing did not like, and Republicans want to focus on getting the job done right.Neither side wants to talk about the context in which Bush won a blank check from Congress to invade Iraq. He doesn't want us to remember that he injected the war debate into the 2002 midterm election campaign for partisan purposes, and he doesn't want to acknowledge that he used the post-Sept. 11 mood to do all he could to intimidate Democrats from raising questions more of them should have raised.