need some straight talk from President Bush

I like President Bush. I voted for President Bush. But there are times when I watch him talk and my gut is telling me, “don’t believe him.”

President Bush had the potential to become one of our greatest presidents. But he failed in his ability to simply be honest. I’ve had this feeling about him a number of times, and I wrote about it two years ago.

So here we are, in 2008, on the 5th anniversary of the start of the Iraq war. And there is some dispute about how much the war is costing us. Let me first tell you where I’m getting my information. I watch CNN a lot, mostly because they have good, relevant stories, and they are trustworthy. They frequently invoke the phrase “keeping them honest”, and they do a lot of fact checking. So, since I can’t be there to see all of our politicians in person, I trust CNN to give me accurate data. Here are the stories I’m referring to:

  • Op-ed’s $3 trillion Iraq war estimate doubted by Pentagon (10-Mar-2008)
    According to this article, the United States has spent over $400 billion on the Iraq war through the end of 2007. It also goes on to estimate that we’ll be spending trillions of dollars in the coming years.
  • Bush on anniversary: War in Iraq must go on (18-Mar-2008)
    In this article, Joseph E. Stiglitz estimates that we’ll end up spending $3 trillion on the Iraq war. Bush says that that estimate is “exaggerated”.
  • What would war with Iraq cost? (02-Jan-2003)
    In this article (from 5 years ago), the White House downplays published reports that the war could end up costing us $60 billion.

So, how to we put this all together? Well, in 2003, cost estimates were around $60 billion. To date, it’s cost us almost ten times that! Yet in back 2003, President Bush downplayed those $60 billion estimates saying that we couldn’t estimate the costs yet. That’s just not good enough for me. Well-respected, leading economists were making estimates, why can’t the White House? I expect more from my president.

So today, when Bush says that the trillion dollar estimate is “exaggerated”, what should we believe? Instead of addressing the issue of cost head on, President Bush side steps it by defending the need for the war.

I don’t dispute the need for the war. I support the president on that. I just want some honest information about what it’s going to cost.

Do you what you need to do Mr. President. You have my full support. Just tell me what it’s going to cost me. And if you make an estimate, one that turns out to be drastically wrong five years later, I want you to admit it and tell me why you were so wrong, and why we should believe you now.

In this year of a presidential election, I am quite looking forward to John McCain’s straight talk.