If I Were Bush's Speechwriter...
By Andy Rooney
Sunday 2 November 2003
Years ago, I was asked to write a speech for President Nixon.
I didn't do that, but I wish President Bush would ask me to write a speech for him now.
Here's what I'd write if he asked me to - which is unlikely:
My fellow Americans - (the word "fellow" includes women in political speeches):
My fellow Americans. One of the reasons we invaded Iraq was because I suggested Saddam Hussein had something to do with the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. No evidence that's so, I wish I hadn't said it.
I said we were going to get Saddam Hussein. To be honest, we don't know whether we got him or not. Probably not.
I said we'd get Osama bin Laden and wipe out al Qaeda. We haven't been able to do that, either. I'm as disappointed as you are.
I probably shouldn't have said Iraq had nuclear weapons. Our guys and the U.N. have looked under every bed in Iraq and can't find one.
In one speech, I told you Saddam Hussein tried to buy the makings of nuclear bombs from Africa. That was a mistake and I wish I hadn't said that. I get bad information sometimes just like you do.
On May 1, I declared major combat was over and gave you the impression the war was over. I shouldn't have declared that. Since then, 215 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq. As the person who sent them there, how terrible do you think that makes me feel?
I promised to leave no child behind when it comes to education. Then I asked for an additional $87 billion for Iraq. It has to come from somewhere. I hope the kids aren't going to have to pay for it - now in school or later when they're your age.
When I landed on the deck of the carrier, I wish they hadn't put up the sign saying MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. It isn't accomplished.
Maybe it should have been MISSION IMPOSSIBLE.
I've made some mistakes and I regret it. Let me just read you excerpts from something my father wrote five years ago in his book, A World Transformed.
I firmly believed we should not march into Baghdad ...To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us and make a broken tyrant, into a latter-day Arab hero
This is my father writing this.
...assigning young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a securely entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight in what would be an unwinnable urban guerrilla war.
We should all take our father's advice.
That's the speech I'd write for President Bush. No charge.
Jump to TO Features for Wednesday 5 November 2003
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)