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BUSH'S 'VICTORY LAP' WAS A PUBLICITY STUNT

I think The News missed the mark in its, albeit partial, praise of President Bush's "victory lap" fly-in on the USS Abraham Lincoln. There is the suggestion that Bush's symbolic expression of bravado radiated "power, authority and leadership." The News said it was a well-deserved moment.

I couldn't disagree more. The fly-in was just another public relations stunt designed to deflect the well-deserved criticism that Bush invaded Iraq without a lot of domestic or international support and with little justification.

The News appears to buy into the Bush foreign policy of pre-emptive invasion with make-up-a-reason-as-you-go-along. Sure, a bad dictator is gone from power, but nowhere in the preceding 12 years was "regime change" authorized by U.N. resolution. Everything depended on the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the potential of Iraq to threaten its neighbors. Only the United States decided to include the veiled threat of terrorism and, at the last minute, the cause of freedom for the Iraqi people.

Apparently, The News and others got sucked into Operation Iraqi Freedom. Without legal justification to go into Iraq, an untouchable spin had to be created. Who would, after all, be against Iraqi freedom? The News said, "it's too bad he didn't leave it at that," meaning Bush, unfortunately, opened his mouth. What is really too bad is that the media, including The News, overlook the begging questions that existed before and since the fighting.

When is the free press -- if there is such a thing -- going to ask the hard questions and find the truthful answers? Someone has to hold Bush accountable. If not the press, who?

What Bush showed in his fly-in was a wild-west, gun-slinging mentality; an arrogance in ill-used power that comes only from the barrel of a gun.

PAUL L. DEMLER

Jamestown

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