Bush: More Unsurprising News

Since we are noting the obvious today (yes we are in a recession), here’s something else that won’t surprise anyone:

Bush Says He was ‘Unprepared for War’, by Steve Bennen: We’ve heard Bush express some various regrets in recent years, but I think this one is a first.

Looking back on his eight years in the White House, President George W. Bush pinpointed incorrect intelligence that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction as “biggest regret of all the presidency.”

“I think I was unprepared for war,” Bush told ABC News’ Charlie Gibson in an interview airing today on “World News.”

“In other words, I didn’t campaign and say, ‘Please vote for me, I’ll be able to handle an attack,'” he said. “In other words, I didn’t anticipate war. Presidents — one of the things about the modern presidency is that the unexpected will happen.” …

The president added, “I wish the intelligence had been different, I guess.” Asked if he would have gone to war if he knew Iraq did not have stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, Bush said, “That is a do-over that I can’t do.” …

Nah, there was nothing in the 2000 election about Bush being strong on national defense:

In the 2000 election George W. Bush, who had shirked military service, succeeded in presenting himself as more reliable on national security than Al Gore. This was despite Gore’s service in Vietnam, his seven years on the Senate Armed Services Committee, his four years on the House Intelligence Committee, his help in brokering a deal to dismantle the nuclear arsenal of former Soviet republics, and his creation of binational commissions with Russia, South Africa, Egypt, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine to deal with issues ranging from AIDS to disarmament.

He didn’t say the exact words “Please vote for me, I’ll be able to handle an attack,” that’s true, but he certainly implied it:

Bush’s 2000 Acceptance Speech: …We will give our military … a commander-in-chief who … earns their respect. A generation shaped by Vietnam must remember the lessons of Vietnam: When America uses force in the world, the cause must be just, the goal must be clear, and the victory must be overwhelming.

I will work to reduce nuclear weapons and nuclear tension…, my administration will deploy missile defenses to guard against attack and blackmail. Now is the time not to defend outdated treaties but to defend the American people.

By his own admission, he got fooled by false evidence, evidence he wanted to believe in so he did, then he went to war based upon that evidence even though he was not prepared to do so. But as I said, we are noting the obvious today.

Update 1: Comments say what is obvious is that he knew the evidence was false, but used it anyway.

Update 2: Thinking it over, what were they prepared for? War? Hurricanes? An economic crisis? And worse, in every case, even after the event occurred they seemed to have great trouble coming up with a plan of action, let alone having plans ready in advance. Broadly, and again obviously, they were unprepared to govern.

About Mark Thoma 243 Articles

Affiliation: University of Oregon

Mark Thoma is a member of the Economics Department at the University of Oregon. He joined the UO faculty in 1987 and served as head of the Economics Department for five years. His research examines the effects that changes in monetary policy have on inflation, output, unemployment, interest rates and other macroeconomic variables with a focus on asymmetries in the response of these variables to policy changes, and on changes in the relationship between policy and the economy over time. He has also conducted research in other areas such as the relationship between the political party in power, and macroeconomic outcomes and using macroeconomic tools to predict transportation flows. He received his doctorate from Washington State University.

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