Bush exploits Veterans Day ceremony

U.S. President George W. Bush has received considerable criticism following his comments at a Veterans Day ceremony at an army depot in Pennsylvania. Veterans Day is similar to the Canadian Remembrance Day. It is a time for Americans to remember those who represented their country through the military during wartime and peacetime.

Bush’s comments, however, veered away from a remembrance of the individuals who defended their country and were more like a defence of his administration’s decisions about Iraq. A Veterans Day ceremony was hardly the appropriate time or place for these comments.

He called the recent criticism of the U.S. army in Iraq “baseless attacks” that “send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America’s will.” He also added: “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.” Bush’s argument that the attacks are “baseless” is weak, because evidence continues to come to light about his administration’s attempts to hide information from the American people and propagate half-truths. An example may be found in the alleged actions of White House officials like Lewis Libbey towards CIA agent Valerie Plame, in retaliation for her husband, Joseph Wilson’s op-ed in the New York Times questioning the Bush Administration’s evidence that Iraq was housing weapons of mass destruction. What’s more, it’s conceivable that many Americans wholeheartedly support their troops by questioning the politicians’ decisions to send those troops into dangerous combat zones. Dissent should not be misconstrued as a lack of patriotism.

Bush used this day, a time to remember soldiers past and present, as a platform to launch a campaign in defence of his administration’s actions. As confidence in his government continues to crumble, it is becoming clear to the public that Bush is using any opportunity he can get to defend the choices his government has made, even if it is behind a smokescreen of patriotism.

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