Tue | Jan 15, 2019

Letter of the Day | Bush 43 far worse than Trump

Published:Saturday | January 12, 2019 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Like many others, I tuned in to watch President Trump's first address from the Oval Office on January 8, and immediately afterwards watched the pundits on American networks rip him to shreds by 'fact-checking' his statements about security issues on the Mexico-US border. It was very similar on news reports from the BBC and Canadian networks, with lots of eye-rolling and holier-than-thou smirks.

Pundits all inferred that President Trump had gravely besmirched the Oval Office by telling the American people untruths while seated behind that iconic desk, which, by the way, was a gift to President Rutherford Hayes from Queen Victoria, and made in 1880 using oak timbers from HMS Resolute.

Watching these media mavens indignantly rip out their carefully coiffed locks on Tuesday night, my mind drifted back to another address from that same office in 2003. In my humble opinion, it was far more dramatic, and the consequences far more deadly and costly than anything President Trump has said or done thus far.

Of course, I'm alluding to President George W. Bush informing the world that the Iraq attack had begun, in order to oust former staunch US ally Saddam Hussein and get rid of his weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Many had already advised the US president and his cohorts like UK Prime Minister Tony Blair to hold off on their air attack in order get more information on the WMDs, but nobody listened, and the war dragged on until 2011.

 

CASUALTIES

 

As a result, there were more than 4,500 US military personnel killed in the Iraq War, with more than 33,000 injured. British casualties were fewer, but the futile war was still extremely costly to UK and other nations who participated. The monetary cost was in the trillions of dollars, while Iraqi deaths attributable to the war approached 500,000, and even more by some counts, with millions of Iraqis displaced.

There is still violent upheaval in the Middle East with ongoing wars in Syria and beyond, all stemming from that Oval Office address 16 years ago, and not one WMD was ever found.

Amazing as it sounds, at the recent funeral of his father, President George W. Bush and his co-conspirators in the Iraq War were all treated like elder statesmen. Maybe political pundits could do with memory refreshers, when they talk so disdainfully about the current presidential address as besmirching the Oval Office.

BERNIE SMITH

British Columbia, Canada