Bush speech just a safety net

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 29, 2004

President Bush played it safe Tuesday night during the State of the Union address, and he told Americans exactly what they wanted to hear. He just failed to mention some of the problems which directly affect many Americans, including a vast majority of those here in Alabama.

One of Bush's main focuses was the war in Iraq and the "War on Terror." Bush said a new democratic regime will be fully established in Iraq no later than June. With US soldiers and Iraqi people dying daily, I am rather doubtful.

I remember that Bush has said a lot of things, including weapons of mass destruction will be found in Iraq - his primary reason for going to war in the first place.

He announced the government will disarm "those nations who pose a threat," including North Korea. A report today from a US weapon's investigator stated he was unsure if there were nuclear weapons in N. Korea. Sound familiar?

Granted, the capture of Saddam was a good thing. A tyrant is now no longer a part of Iraq, but where do we - and where does Iraq - stand now. Will this be years of fighting, which is the way it looks as of now, in which we'll parallel the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

And how about the economy? Bush said the economy is doing better, and he is right, for now. But how about the long-term effects the economy will suffer when troops are pulled out of Iraq? Government spending will be down, and so will consumer and corporate spending. We'll be left with a gigantic national deficit, as if it wasn't large enough. And a lot of people will be without jobs, because the need won't be as great.

Which brings me to my next point. Bush said jobs are "on the rise." Unemployment figures in the US have stayed right at about 10 percent. That's 10 percent of the population of Americans without jobs. Under the Clinton Administration, the unemployment rate was at an all-time low. What has Bush done to guarantee "jobs are on the rise?" Jobs may be on the rise, but not under Bush's empty promise.

Like father, like son. Assuming he is not re-elected, Bush will leave one big mess for the next president to try to clean up and amend with foreign relations in the Middle East.

With all of these national issues, Bush conveniently left out two important parts of his speech which would hit a little closer to home: base closings and the space program.

With Maxwell Air Force Base, Fort Rucker, and the Space and Rocket Center in Alabama, a huge chunk of Alabama jobs wasn't considered during the president's speech. Will Maxwell and Fort Rucker stay open? Will more money be pumped into Huntsville and Redstone Arsenal, and if so, will schools suffer as a consequence?

All of these questions remain eminent and unanswered by Bush as election time nears in 10 months, but the questions will need to be answered soon. And even if he does answer those questions soon, I'm not sure I can trust someone who would lead soldiers - primarily teenage boys - into a war zone and lie to them and the public about the reason for being over there in the first place.