Bush needs to learn to admit mistakes

Editorial Board

It?s official: There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The search has been called off, and now it?s looking like the intense effort to find the weapons of mass destruction, also known as the war, has been waged for something that does not exist. Thousands of American men and women have been killed or wounded, the country of Iraq has been put into a state of chaos, and millions of dollars have swirled down the drain ? needlessly.

But President Bush has no regrets.

That?s what the president?s press secretary Scott McClellan said in response to the announcement Wednesday.

?Based on what we know today, the president would have taken the same action because this is about protecting the American people,? he said.

While there are many things that become clear following a statement like that, the most glaringly obvious one is this: President Bush cannot and will not admit when he?s wrong.

Sadly, if there ever was a time to say he?s sorry, it is now.

An apology is in order for the debacle that has been the war in Iraq. It needs to be said, and it needs to be said with sincerity and with more than just regret. It needs to be said with true remorse for the horrible situation that has occurred because of erroneous decisions that were made.

However, given the president?s track record with deep, heartfelt apologies, it doesn?t look like this one will happen. Take, for instance, the October 2004 presidential debates. The last questioner of the second debate asked him to come up with three times during his term that he had made the wrong decision and what he had done to correct it. He couldn?t bring himself to do it.

Oh, there were times when it seemed like he did ? his response to the question did include the classic, ?I am only human? statement, but he could not even give one specific instance where he had screwed up and worked diligently on fixing the mistake. He just made jokes and dodged the question.

This brings a troubling aspect of the president?s personality to light. An inability to admit that one is wrong is a major character flaw. Even Bush supporters cannot deny that it?s blatantly obvious that President Bush has an ?I?m always right? complex the size of Texas. And that is scary.

What makes it frightening is that it gives a disturbing picture of what goes on in the president?s mind ? daily. A man who truly believes it?s impossible for him to be wrong will do whatever he wants and will rationalize it, too.

If the president were truly interested in showing the country strong leadership, he would admit that he was wrong in deciding to invade Iraq ? not blame it on bad intelligence or claim that Saddam Hussein was planning on making weapons of mass destruction in the future. Just say, ?I was wrong. I am so sorry.? But instead, he clings to the idea of his rightness like a small child clings to a security blanket.

And meanwhile, our people are dying.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board, whose members are listed to the left.