Dispatches > The Buzz

Between the lines

What President Bush said, and didn't say, on key issues

Issue: "PAS: The truth hurts," Feb. 8, 2003

"During the last two years, we have seen what can be accomplished when we work together. To lift the standards of our public schools, we achieved historic education reform-which must now be carried out in every school and in every classroom, so that every child in America can read and learn and succeed in life."

On education, we're seeing what is not accomplished when Ted Kennedy has a major hand in legislation. To lift the standards of our public schools the schools need tough competition, and President Bush's decision not to fight for educational choice through vouchers or tax credits leaves many poor children in classrooms where they do not learn to read and succeed in life. This is the Bush administration's greatest failure to date, and the State of the Union message did not give any hope for change.

"Another cause of hopelessness is addiction to drugs.... Tonight I propose a new $600-million program to help an additional 300,000 Americans receive treatment over the next three years. (Applause.) Our nation is blessed with recovery programs that do amazing work. One of them is found at the Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A man in the program said, 'God does miracles in people's lives, and you never think it could be you.'"

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Not everyone will be applauding when they study the details of the proposal, and that's good news. President Bush plans to provide vouchers to individuals identified in their communities as needing treatment, with strongly evangelical programs as full participants. The White House signaled its intentions by inviting leaders of Healing Place and Teen Challenge (see WORLD, June 16, 2001) to sit with Mrs. Bush during her husband's speech, and by noting a new regulation that says drug-treatment programs funded with vouchers do not have to separate the religious and secular elements of their programs.

"The United States will ask the UN Security Council to convene on February the 5th to consider the facts of Iraq's ongoing defiance of the world. Secretary of State Powell will present information and intelligence about Iraq's illegal weapons programs, its attempt to hide those weapons from inspectors, and its links to terrorist groups."

The United States is strong, but nations should never glory in military greatness; the Bible and history show how nations that live by the sword die the same way. Since war is close to hell, it should be entered into only when inaction will likely lead to a climate even hotter. WORLD reluctantly laid out the case for war last year (Aug. 24, Aug. 31, Sept. 7), but we should always listen to those who cry peace, peace, and when necessary counter that case by showing evidence that there is no peace and will be none unless we stand firm.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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