Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 4 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds   

Bush's obsession with being a 'wartime president'

By Doug Thompson  Posted by Amanda Lang (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   No comments
Message Amanda Lang
As the Presidential caravan sped away from the Florida school where President George W. Bush was speaking to children when he was first told about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Bush turned to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and said, "OK, we're at war."

It was a phrase Bush would repeat many times in the days following the attacks. Being considered a wartime President is important to him. It allows him to justify, at least in his own mind, the actions he has taken over the last five years.

Play close attention to Bush's speeches and words and you see this obsession with being a wartime President. Whenever he wants to justify an action that pushes the envelope he refers to himself as the "commander in chief," not the President. In Bush's world, being commander in chief gives him greater latitude in pursuing actions that may or may not be legal.

"I'm the commander in chief," he told Congressional leaders at a recent White House meeting. "Do it may way."

During his interview last week with Jim Lehrer last week, Bush referred to himself often as the "commander in chief" while discussing the decision to invade Iraq. In his Saturday radio address where he admitted authorizing spying, he again invoked the war president theme.

"This authorization is a vital tool in our war against the terrorists. It is critical to saving American lives," Bush said in his Saturday radio address address. "The American people expect me to do everything in my power"to protect them"and that is exactly what I will continue to do as long as I am president of the United States,"

"To fight the war on terror, I am using authority vested in me by Congress, including the Joint Authorization for Use of Military Force, which passed overwhelmingly in the first week after September the 11th. I'm also using constitutional authority vested in me as Commander-in-Chief," Bush said.

In his speech to the nation Sunday night, Bush used the word "war" sixteen times and the phrase "weapons of mass destruction" five times. But he did not, in this case, refer to himself as the "commander in chief."

"We saw the same thing in Richard Nixon," says retired political scientist George Harleigh, who served in the Nixon administration. "When he wanted to appear strong, he would call himself the 'commander in chief.' When he wanted to appear to be one of the people, he was 'your president.'"

In Bush's mind, his role as President is limited by the constitution, the same constitution that he feels gives him greater authority as commander-in-chief so he can "do everything in my power."

The question that must be resolved in coming weeks, in probes demanded by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, is whether or not President Bush exceeded "everything in my power" when he authorized both the Pentagon and the National Security Agency to spy on American citizens.

© Copyright 2005 by Capitol Hill Blue
Rate It | View Ratings

Amanda Lang Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

OpedNews volunteer from 2005 to 2013.

Amanda Lang was a wonderful member of the Opednews team, and the first volunteer editor, for a good number of years being a senior editor. She passed away summer 2014.

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact EditorContact Editor
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend