Press Conference on the War (2004)
Today, Blog with a View presents an exclusive mano a mano press conference with President Bush on the War in Iraq. All the questions are my own. All of the President's answers come directly and unedited from The Bush Press Conference Response Generator:
Good Morning, Mr. President. How are you today?
Um. Gosh, I don't know.
Ah. A hopeful society is one more likely to be able to deal with the frustrations of those who are willing to commit suicide in order to represent a false ideology. One of the things I was concerned about prior to going into Iraq was that the oil fields would be destroyed. But they weren't, they're now up and running. And that money is -- it will benefit the Iraqi people. It's their oil, and they'll use it to reconstruct the country. And we have an obligation to work toward a more free world.
(pause) Look, I can understand why people in my administration anguished over the fact that people lost their life.
And it's very important for the loved ones of our troops to understand that the mission is an important, vital mission for the security of America and for the ability to change the world for the better.
He was a threat because he coddled terrorists. I mean --
Let's see here -- next.
Uh, okay. That was more of a rhetorical question, but, fine. Would you say, sir, that we are still "turning the corner" in Iraq?
Er. Look. He was a threat to the region. He was a threat to the United States. It will change the world.
That's why it's important for us to spread freedom throughout the Middle East. Ah. A free society is a society in which somebody is more likely to be able to make a living.
Hold on for a second. Those who yell will not be asked.
That wasn't me, Mr. President. That was Scott McClelland venting to his image in the mirror in the men's room. So, then, it's safe to say you agree with the vice president that the insurgency in Iraq is in its "last throes"?
Gosh, I don't know. I did contemplate a larger strategy as to how to deal with al Qaeda.
My response is... The person responsible for the attacks was Osama bin Laden. That's who's responsible for killing Americans.
A hopeful society is one more likely to be able to deal with the frustrations of those who are willing to commit suicide in order to represent a false ideology.
The lessons of 9/11 that I -- one lesson was, we must deal with gathering threats. And that's part of the reason I dealt with Iraq the way I did. Er. And as the greatest power on the face of the Earth, we have an obligation to help the spread of freedom.
I think --
Let's see here, hold on. You're next.
Actually, um, I'm the only one here, Mr. President. Apparently, the stress of this interview is bringing on a double-vision flashback. Speaking of bringing things on, do you now, sir, regret telling the terrorists to "Bring it on"?
I mean -- Er.
I mean -- Well, the oil revenues are -- they're bigger than we thought they would be at this point in time. I mean, one year after the liberation of Iraq, the revenues of the oil stream is pretty darn significant. It is a -- it is -- it's a chance to hug and weep and to console and to remind the loved ones that the sacrifice of their loved one was done in the name of security for America and freedom for the world.
My message to our troops is: We will stay the course and complete the job and you'll have what you need. I feel strongly that the course this administration has taken will make America more secure and the world more free, and, therefore, the world more peaceful. They could still be there. They could be hidden, like the 50 tons of mustard gas in a turkey farm.
I'll take that as a No. Speaking of the troops, Mr. President, how should they feel about huge wartime tax cuts for your base of "the have-mores" while soldiers have less -- like insufficient armor and slashed benefits? Or should the troops simply adjust their attitudes and embrace the "Scarface" philosophy that "every day above ground is a good day?"
And my message to the loved ones who are worried about their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, is: You're loved one is performing a noble service for the cause of freedom and peace.
My response is... Even knowing what I know today about the stockpiles of weapons, I still would have called upon the world to deal with Saddam Hussein. We ought to honor that, and we ought to welcome that.
I see. Might I remind you, sir, that there were no stockpiles of weapons. No smoking mushroom clouds. No chemical labs found along the yellowcake road. Moreover, the Downing Street Documents clearly note that intelligence was deliberately "fixed" to align with administrative plans for a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq -- a practice you once described as "catapulting the propaganda." In fact, sir, isn't the war based on lies -- and aren't you a lying liar?
(long pause) Gosh, I don't know. You know, I just -- I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hadn't yet.
This is a guy who was a torturer, a killer, a maimer; there's mass graves.
That's the assessment that I made from the intelligence, the assessment that Congress made from the intelligence; that's the exact same assessment that the United Nations Security Council made with the intelligence.
And as the greatest power on the face of the Earth, we have an obligation to help the spread of freedom. Gosh, I don't know.
Well, the oil revenues are -- they're bigger than we thought they would be at this point in time. I mean, one year after the liberation of Iraq, the revenues of the oil stream is pretty darn significant. I think -- Oceans don't protect us. They don't protect us from killers.
(looks around room)
Mr. President, excuse me, but your answers seem pat, rote -- almost mechanical. Are you just reading replies off recycled talking points -- or, instead, are you merely mouthing sweet nothings Karl Rove is whispering in your ear through a hidden microphone?
I mean --
My response is...
I feel strongly about what we're doing.
The spirit is incredible.
Um. And they were happy -- they're not happy they're occupied. I wouldn't be happy if I were occupied either.
I'll speak as plainly as I can. By winning this battle, it will make other victories more certain in the war against the terrorists. Look.
Let's see -- next question.
Focus, Mr. President. I'm over here. And stop pointing at Jeff Gannon's empty chair. I get the impression that you are just mumbling bland maxims and not considering, or even listening to my questions. Do you mind if I take a different approach?
Er... Er. And my job as the President is to lead this nation into making the world a better place.
He was a threat because he funded suiciders. Saddam Hussein was a threat. Um.
I know the Iraqi people don't believe that, that they're better off with Saddam Hussein -- would be better off with Saddam Hussein in power.
Let's see here.
Uh-huh. Whatever. You know, Mr. President, some political cartoonists depict you as resembling, well, a monkey. Will you categorically deny, here, before the world, once and for all, that you are, in fact, a chimpanzee?
I mean --
My response is... (long pause) He was a threat because he coddled terrorists. I mean -- It is a -- it is -- it's a chance to hug and weep and to console and to remind the loved ones that the sacrifice of their loved one was done in the name of security for America and freedom for the world. I believe that freedom is the deepest need of every human soul, and, if given a chance, the Iraqi people will be not only self-governing, but a stable and free society. After 9/11, the world changed for me, and I think changed for the country. I think the hearings will show that the Patriot Act is an important change in the law that will allow the FBI and the CIA to better share information together.
I think --
[Staring at the ceiling and humming under breath] The acid rain...in Iraq...falls mainly...on the cell block...
(pause) (long pause)
It will change the world. And as the greatest power on the face of the Earth, we have an obligation to help the spread of freedom. Er. You know, I just -- I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hadn't yet.
Er. It's a conviction that's deep in my soul. Gosh, I don't know.
[Jeking back awake after nodding off] Um, right. Yes. Okay. Uh. Just one more question, Mr. President. Something I've always wondered. How much nut could a wingnut nut if a wingnut could nut wing?
(looks around room) A free society is a society in which someone is more likely to be able to raise their child in a comfortable environment, and see to it that that child gets an education.
A quick follow-up, sir. Jethro Tull once noted that "the flowers bloom like madness in the spring." Do you think turds blossom in a similar fashion?
I think --
Oceans don't protect us. They don't protect us from killers.
I think --
Thank you, Mr. President. This has been...something. Was it good for you?
Gosh, I don't know. Look..
Look. We were shooting Cruise missiles, and with little effect.
I know. You can't tell the difference between truth and fiction, can you? That's because Bush is a "cut-up" President. Take a list of hollow Republican platitudes and collage. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.