Ah fantasy - the White House lives in a world apart

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Fiddling as Iraq Burns

His opening paragraphs say it all:


The White House seems to have slipped the bonds of simple denial and escaped into the disturbing realm of utter delusion. On Tuesday, there was President Bush hanging the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, on George Tenet, the former C.I.A. director who slept through the run-up to Sept. 11 and then did the president and the nation the great disservice of declaring that it was a "slam-dunk" that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

It was a fatal misjudgment.

Another Medal of Freedom was given to Paul Bremer III, the chief civilian administrator of the American occupation, who made the heavily criticized decision to disband the defeated Iraqi Army and presided over an ever-worsening security situation. Thousands upon thousands have died in this unnecessary and incompetently conducted war, yet here was the president handing out medals as if some kind of triumph had been achieved. If these guys could get the highest civilian award, what honor is left for someone who actually does a good job?

A third medal was given to Gen. Tommy Franks, who led the invasion of Iraq, which Mr. Bush, in his peculiar way, has characterized as a "catastrophic success." It's an interesting term. Some people have applied it to the president's run for re-election.

Posted by Greg Stone at December 17, 2004 08:07 AM
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