23 January
by John Vomastic


Disturbing Sound Bites from the State of the Union Address

The President in his State of the Union Address received wild applause when he stated, ďthe terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States - and war is what they got.Ē This is a great sound bite but at best it is a half-truth and at worst a deliberate falsification.

The terrorists who declared war on America were al Qaeda. I agreed with the pursuit of al Qaeda and the Taliban who provided them sanctuary in Afghanistan.

Iraq was different. I canít recall Iraq or Saddam ever declaring war on the United States? Did any of the 19 terrorists aboard the airplanes of 9/11 come from Iraq? Was Iraq even remotely involved in planning the events of 9/11? Even you admitted Mr. President that there were no connections between Iraq and al Qaeda. Please forgive me, Mr. President, if I role my eyes like Senator Ted Kennedy, did so often during your speech and I repeat a phrase used by President Reagan during the presidential debates, ďThere You Go Again.Ē

Another sound bite that got a rousing ovation was, "America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people."

I donít have a problem using preemptive force when it is absolutely necessary. Hans Blix, the former chief U.N. weapons inspector said there were only two justifications for preemptive war: the presence of a threat of armed action credibly documented, and an urgency that does not tolerate delay. Over the last 50 years there have been dozens of U.N resolutions condemning the actions of Israel, but the U.N. did not condemn their preemptive actions in the 1967 war because it met the conditions outlined above.

Itís one thing for a playground bully to declare, ďI donít need an excuse to whip your butt.Ē Itís a totally different situation when those actions result in preemptive war between two sovereign nations.

President Johnson agonized over every decision he made during the Vietnam War and eventually announced that he would not seek a second term. But when I watched you, Mr. President, as you read these lines from you scripted speech, I saw something totally different. You seemed to relish and thoroughly enjoy the response that these phrases evoked. While flag-waving patriots may love these saber-rattling sound bites, Iíve got to tell you, Mr. President, it left me quite uncomfortable.


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