A dif­fer­ent view of Trump’s Oval Of­fice ad­dress

The Western Star - - EDITORIAL -

Like many oth­ers I tuned in to watch U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s first ad­dress from the Oval Of­fice on Jan. 8, and im­me­di­ately af­ter­wards watched the pun­dits on Amer­i­can net­works rip him to shreds by “fact-check­ing” his state­ments about se­cu­rity is­sues on the Mex­i­can/U.S. 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 B. Hayes from Queen Vic­to­ria, and made in 1880 us­ing oak tim­bers from HMS Res­o­lute.

Watch­ing these me­dia mavens in­dig­nantly rip out their care­ful­ly­coiffed 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 U.S. ally Sad­dam Hus­sein and get rid of his weapons of mass de­struc­tion (WMDs).

Many had al­ready ad­vised the U.S. pres­i­dent and his co­horts like U.K. 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.

As a re­sult, there were more than 4,500 U.S. mil­i­tary per­son­nel killed in the Iraq War, with over 33,000 in­jured; British ca­su­al­ties were less, but the fu­tile war was still ex­tremely costly to U.K. 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

Parksville, B.C.

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