Skip to content

President Bush press conference

In a recent press conference President Bush, whose job approval rates have slipped spectacularly into the low 30%s, acknowledged that he was "spending [his political capital] on the war":
QUESTION: Do you agree with Mr. Allawi that Iraq has fallen into civil war?
THE PRESIDENT: I do not. There are other voices coming out of Iraq, by the way, other than Mr. Allawi -- who I know, by the way; like; he's a good fellow. […]
QUESTION: […] Do you feel that personally you have ever gotten bad advice on the conduct of the war in Iraq? And do you believe Rumsfeld should resign?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I don't believe he should resign. I think he's done a fine job of not only conducting two battles, Afghanistan and Iraq, but also transforming our military, which has been a very difficult job inside the Pentagon. Listen, every war plan looks good on paper until you meet the enemy, not just the war plan we executed in Iraq but the war plans that have been executed throughout the history of warfare.
QUESTION: Just after the 2004 election, […] you claimed a really enviable balance of political capital and a strong mandate. Would you make that claim today; that you still have that?
THE PRESIDENT: I'd say I'm spending that capital on the war.
QUESTION: Mr. President, you've spoken about Iraq being a beacon for democracy throughout the Middle East. Yet, we've had troubles in Iraq and we've seen aggressiveness from Syria and Iran. Are you concerned that the Iraq experience is going to embolden authoritarian regimes in the Middle East and make it tougher to get democracy there?
THE PRESIDENT: There's no question that if we were to prematurely withdraw and the march to democracy were to fail, the Al Qaida would be emboldened. Terrorists groups would be emboldened. The Islamo-fascists would be emboldened. No question about that.
QUESTION: Will there come a day -- and I'm not asking you when; I'm not asking for a timetable -- will there come a day when there will be no more American forces in Iraq?
THE PRESIDENT: That, of course, is an objective. And that will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq.
Read or watch the entire press conference at The White House.

Trackbacks

No Trackbacks

Comments

Display comments as Linear | Threaded

David on :

Professors Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University and Linda Bilges of Harvard have completed their study: "The Economic Costs of the Iraq War" You can download it here (pdf file): http://www2.gsb.columbia.edu/faculty/jstiglitz/download/2006_Cost_of_War_in_Iraq_NBER.pdf They put the total cost of war at US$ 1 Trillion so far. Now, according to President Bush, we can expect to be there until at least 2008.

joe on :

David, The US will probably be there long after 2008.

joe on :

David, There was a former POTUS who committed US Forces to the Balkans. At the time, he stated they would be home by Christmas. They have been there now for more than 10 years and do not look as if they are coming home any time soon. Equally that administration failed to have a plan for peace. So the Balkans are no closer to having real security and peace than they were before the intervention. I realize you do not consider this historical fact to be important. It does not support your political position.

martin on :

That#s interesting. Did Clinton really say that? how much did the Balkan wars and occupation cost in terms of lives and money?

Jorg on :

Joe seems to be right: CNN - U.S. troops may be needed in Bosnia after mission ends - Sept. 18, 1996: Germany's Volker Ruehe said candidly, "Everybody knows we can't just leave at Christmas." us soldier Still, Christopher insisted the 16,000 U.S. peacekeeping troops in Bosnia should be able to come home by December, but whether other American soldiers will be sent there "will depend on conditions as they evolve." It is important to the U.S. to go through the formality of withdrawing the original IFOR troops, to demonstrate Clinton kept his word and did not extend the mission. Any new troops would pick up where the old ones left off, even though the mission will have a new mandate and name. [url]http://www.cnn.com/US/9609/18/pentagon.bosnia/index.html[/url] Sounds very Clintonesk or typical face saving tactic. Well, I don't know what Clinton promised exactly.

joe on :

Martin, Yes he did say that. In fact, the entire effort is probably more of a mess than Iraq. The difference and it is a huge one of course, is the costs. As for actual progress, after more than 10 years the locals are no closer to self rule. This is going to be a long term deployment. So for people like David to imply and then be surprised about Iraq shows a total lack of reality. There is a reason this is being called a long war. David I have to assume does not believe there was a Cold War, which lasted for nearly 50 years and equally the costs were great.

Jorg on :

Joe, 1. IMHO it's neither nice nor helpful to accuse someone of "total lack of reality." And in David's case it is just plain wrong. 2. I agree with you on the Balkans: [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/156-Double-standards-in-media-coverage-of-Iraq-and-Kosovo.html[/url] 3. The Cold War was BIG war between two superpowers with huge and well-trained armies, lots of money and technology. Are you now putting the Iraqi insurgency on the same level as the Soviets?

David on :

Joe, Do I have to remind you that we were told that the Iraq War would be "self-funded" through Iraqi oil revenues, and not cost US taxpayers more than $50 billion? Also, we were told in May of 2003 (by Rumsfeld and others) that US troops could be drawn down to 30,000 by September of that year. Either the Bush administration was delusional, or they were lying to the American public. (probably both).

joe on :

Jorg, A lack of reality is true. Wars and their outcomes are not run on some timetable established before the conflict. Wars are by far the greatest step into the unknown a nation will ever take. I would even say that is true for the french but one might be hard pressed to believe that today given the reaction to the CFA which seems to have captured their attention for the moment as this is a step into the future for then which is equally unknown. David has in fact supported the point I was attempting to make. That point being the fog of war prevents one seeing what will happen over time. David, the comment that either the POTUS lied or was delusional is intellectually dishonest and you know that. You could make the same statement about any wartime President or any POTUS who has ever deployed troops into harms way. To think the US can withdraw from Iraq in the near to mid-term is folly. Of course, it is not folly, if one chooses to redefine both what the mission is and what success is. This of course leads us to the 'The Last Helicopter' scenario. I would suggest you read this article by Amir Taheri, 29 Mar 06 http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008154 There is a real reason this is being called the long war. The Cold War was equally a long war. The Balkans are turning into a long war. In fact, most wars are much longer than the declared beginning and ending dates. As for where to place Iraq in relationship to the USSR, I would say the cost of failure would be the same. It would have profound impacts on all of us and change the world as we have come to know it. I am not sure if that makes the two equal or not. At one time I was hopeful Iraq would have a positive impact on Iran. I am having to review that assessment. As someone else pointed out Iran is the long term problem and how effectively the West deals with this set of problems will become more important than Iraq. Life for all of us will continue to become more interesting with each passing day.

Jorg on :

"David, the comment that either the POTUS lied or was delusional is intellectually dishonest and you know that. You could make the same statement about any wartime President or any POTUS who has ever deployed troops into harms way." Do you have any statements from Roosevelt or Truman that are comparable with the one's mentioned by David? It seems to me that Iran feels pretty emboldened by the US being in Iraq. They seem to think they can develop nukes, because the US won't be able to do anything about it due to its commitments in Iraq. And the EU does not care much. I would put sanctions on Iran and stop any economic and political cooperation until they give up their own uranium enrichment.

David on :

Joe, There is one problem with your comparison of Bush and Roosevelt: FDR did not lie about the attack on Pearl Harbor, whereas Bush had to fabricate the "imminent threat" of a tin pot dictator.

joe on :

Jorg, Would you cite a direct source by POTUS about 'imminent threat". Thanks.

Jorg on :

Why should I? I did not make any such claim. Perhaps you could answer one of the questions you have been asked for change? Like this one: "Do you have any statements from Roosevelt or Truman that are comparable with the one's mentioned by David?"

Add Comment

E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.
CAPTCHA

Form options