Bush starting to realize war is hell

Throughout Bush’s second presidential campaign and this second term in office, his strong point has always been his commitment to defeating terrorism. He might not have scored high on his domestic policies or his commitment to improving the economy, but he has always considered it his duty to protect us from terrorists.

But now that the war is still going strong in its third year, Bush’s poll numbers, which seemingly dip to a “new low” every day, definitely prompted his Monday visit to the Buckeye state, frequently a contested battleground state in elections. Polls show fewer people support the war in Iraq and more are considering it a mistake that the United States is there.

On Monday, President Bush went to the City Club in Cleveland to give a speech designed to inform the public about the war in Iraq. In our opinion, Bush made a wise move in talking to the people about the ups and downs of war. War is never pretty, and this war in particular is downright nasty. Hiding behind mistakes is never a good idea when a war is this deadly and intense.

For most of this war, the president and his party have been hesitant to admit military mistakes and instead focused on military wins that most of the public wouldn’t be able to see on the nightly news. Instead, viewers would be treated to headlines such as, “25 soldiers killed after truck bomb,” or “U.S. casualties up this week.”

“In the face of continued reports about killings and reprisals, I understand how some Americans have had their confidence shaken,” Bush said Monday. “So today I’d like to share a concrete example of progress in Iraq that most Americans do not see every day in their newspapers and on their television screens.”

He mentioned the city of Tal Afar, which formerly was under the control of al-Qaida. It is now free of al-Qaida control.

Bush may be right that the media in the United States frequently opts to show grisly footage of the aftermath of suicide bombers or give updated casualty reports, which may paint a picture that the United States is losing this war. But it’s hard to show the positive side of war. Bush’s speech to the public was a good idea, but a little more transparency in the beginning of the war would have helped.

On Tuesday, Bush held a press conference at the White House to drill into our heads one more time that the war is considered successful. “If I didn’t believe we had a plan for victory, I wouldn’t leave our people in harm’s way,” he said, according to CNN.com.

Later in the press conference a reporter asked Bush a pointed question about why he really felt the need to go to war.

“My attitude about the defense of this country changed on September 11,” Bush said. “When we got attacked, I vowed then and there to use every asset at my disposal to protect the American people. And I’m never going to forget the vow I made to the American people. Part of that meant to make sure that we didn’t allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy, and that’s why I went into Iraq.”

And yesterday, he held yet another press conference in West Virginia to drum up support for the war. We wish he had been this transparent about his plans before his poll numbers dropped.

The above column is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.