WASHINGTON, Sept 19: President George W. Bush's description of recent events in Iraq is "bland to the point of dishonesty," the Washington Post charged on Sunday , in a blistering editorial accusing the president of failing to admit the worsening situation in Iraq.
"His description of Iraq is bland to the point of dishonesty," the leading daily wrote, noting that Bush said on Friday that, "despite ongoing acts of violence," Iraq has a strong prime minister, a national council and that it will hold elections in January.
"Not only has Mr. Bush not said how, or whether, he intends to respond to the worsening situation - he doesn't really admit it exists," the Post said. "This duck-and-cover strategy may have its political advantages, but it is also deeply irresponsible and potentially dangerous," the Post wrote.
Bush, a Republican seeking a second four-year term, will face Democratic Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts in the November 2 election. US voters consider Iraq one of the most important issues in the election, according to opinion polls.
"'Grand illusions' have too often guided Mr Bush in Iraq," the Post said. "We believed the president was right to confront the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, and like the vast majority of Iraqis, we welcomed the removal of that murderous regime."
"Too often American soldiers and commanders have been flung into the breach between illusion and reality. Many have responded with great courage and creativity, and they can point to many accomplishments that receive little attention back home. But more than 1,000 have died, thousands more as well have paid a terrible cost and no end to these losses is in sight."
It said Bush's record is "one of courage in setting goals and steadfastness in sticking to them but also one of extraordinary recklessness and incompetence in execution."
"Now he tells voters he will stay the course; the way to make that promise convincing is to be honest with Americans about the challenge he now faces - and to lay out a realistic response to it."
BUSH REACTS: President George W. Bush has for the first time raised questions about documents used to bolster a report that he received preferential treatment during his Vietnam era military service.
And amid mounting Republican attacks, the CBS network, which broadcast the allegations against Bush, has stepped up its inquiry into the authenticity of the documents.
"There are a lot of questions about the documents and they need to be answered," Bush told the Union Leader newspaper based in Manchester, New Hampshire in an interview on Saturday. "Let the truth come out."
"I think what needs to happen is people need to take a look at the documents, how they were created, and let the truth come out," he told the newspaper.
Bush's military record has drawn new attention in the campaign for the presidential election because of allegations his family used its influence to get him into the Texas Air National Guard and avoid Vietnam. -AFP