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Quotes - Dubya at War
(On Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorists and other things he likes to blow up)
No matter whether you not or you agreed with my decisions or not, one thing they have to agree with, is that we have not been attacked in the last seven years.
Classic Dubya diction, Midland, Texas, Jan. 20, 2009
There have been disappointments. Abu Gareb obviously was a huge disappointment during the presidency. Umm. Not havin' weapons of mass destruction was a significant disappointment. I don't know if you wanna call those mistakes or not, but they were — things didn't go according to plan, let's put it that way.
Making the case for war in Iraq based on securing non-existent weapons of mass destruction... yeah, that sounds sort of like a mistake. And Abu Ghraib? I guess he'll never learn to pronounce it. White House, Jan. 12, 2009
Al Qaeda is greatly weakened since 2001. As a matter of fact, they at one point declared the most central front in the war on terror in Iraq — where they're doing very poorly. And they're not doing so well here, either. Now, they can hide in remote regions. They can hide, but we will stay on the hunt and we will keep the pressure on them, because it's in the people — the peaceful people of Afghanistan's interest, just like it's in the interest of this country.
Dubya's last comment becomes confusing when you note that he was in Afghanistan at the time. Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 15, 2008
Right after the attacks I made it abundantly clear that we would bring people to justice for our own security. And made it abundantly clear that if a group of people harbored a terrorist, they were equally as guilty as a terrorist. And we gave the Taliban an opportunity to respond. They didn't. And American troops proudly liberated the people of Afghanistan. That's what life was like. And we could have replaced one power person with another. That would have been, I guess, the easy route, and then just left it behind, say we've done our duty and we've upheld the doctrine — and said, okay, we're now going to take this group, replace them with this group — and just got out of the way. But that's not — that, one, didn't learn the lessons of the '80s and the '90s.
As is often the case, Dubya's explanation forgoes correct grammar. Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 15, 2008
We want to do the hard work now so our children and our grandchildren can grow up in a peaceful world. So we rallied good allies to our side, including every member of NATO. We've developed civilian experts in the form of Civilian Reconstruction Teams. And together with the determined people of Afghanistan, we are making hopeful gains.
They are actually called Provincial Reconstruction Teams, and they consist of military officers, diplomats, civilian police advisors and reconstruction experts. Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, Dec. 15, 2008
And it was here in Afghanistan that the terrorists planned the attacks of September the 11th, 2001. After that date, America gave the Taliban a choice: You can turn over the leaders of al Qaeda, or you can share in their fate. And when they refused, our just demands were enforced by the United States military. And thanks to you, the Taliban has gone from power, the al Qaeda training camps are closed, and 25 million Iraqis are free.
25 million Iraqis are free in Afghanistan? Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, Dec. 14, 2008
Let me talk about the guy throwing his shoe. It's one way to gain attention. It's like going to a political rally and having people yell at you. It's like driving down the street and having people not gesturing with all five fingers. I don't know what the guy's cause is.
Really? Dubya oversees a lengthy, bloody war in Iraq, and he's wondering what cause an Iraqi journalist might be representing in his shoe-throwing protest? Baghdad, Iraq, Dec. 14, 2008
DUBYA: Clearly one of the most important parts of my job, because of 9/11, was to defend the security of the American people. There have been no attacks since I've been the president, since 9/11. One of the ma — major theaters against al Qaeda turns out to have been Iraq. This is where al Qaeda said they were gonna take their stand. This is where al Qaeda was hopin' to take —
RADDATZ: But not until after the U.S. invaded.
DUBYA: Yeah, that's — that, that's right. So what? The point is that al Qaeda said they're gonna take a stand. Well, first of all, in the post-11 environment Saddam Hussein posed a threat. And then, upon removal, al Qaeda decides to take a stand, and they, they're, they're, they're getting, they're becoming defeated, and I think, I think history will say that one, the world was better off without Saddam. Two, along with the Iraqi troops, we have denied al Qaeda a safe haven, because a young democracy's beginning to grow, which will be an important sign for people in the Middle East.
So what? I'm going to hazard a guess that the people of Iraq would have been happy not to have a war against al Qaeda waged in their backyard... Not to mention the soldiers who had to do the fighting. Interview with ABC News' Martha Raddatz, Dec. 14, 2008
There have been a lot of troops from around the world who have come to help this young democracy survive and thrive. And so I want to thank the citizens of those country and the troops who have served here before us.
A singular/plural disagreement so common with Dubya, I hesitate to add it. Baghdad, Iraq, Dec. 14, 2008
The results of these efforts are unfolding slowly and unevenly, but there are encouraging signs. From Iraq and Afghanistan to Lebanon and Pakistan, voters defied the terrorists to cast their ballots in free elections. In places like Iraq's Anbar province, people have seen what life under the Taliban looks like — and they decided they want no part it — actually, it was life under al Qaeda looks like.
At least he caught himself, West Point, New York, Dec. 9, 2008
The battle in Iraq has been longer and more difficult than expected. Foreign terrorists, former regime elements, and Iraqi insurgents, often with outside support, combined to drive up violence, and bring the country to the verge of chaos. So we adopted a new strategy, and raather than retreating, sent more troops into Baghdad, in Iraq. And when the surge met its objective, we began to bring our troops home under a policy of return on success. Last week, Iraq approved two agreements that formalize diplomatic and economic and security ties with America, and set a framework for the drawdowing of American forces as the fight in Iraq nears a successful end. Fourth, America recognized the only way to defeat the terrorists in the long run is to present an alternative to their hite — hateful ideology. So when we overthoo the dictators in Afghanistan and Iraq, we refused to take the easy option and instill friendly strongmen in their place.
Some interesting Dubya-only pronunciations, which may also explain the usage of "instill" instead of "install", West Point, New York, Dec. 9, 2008
We also took a — hard look at the danger posed by Iraq, a country that combined support for terror, the development and the use of weapons of mass destruction, violence against its own people, aggression against its neighbors, hostility to the United States, and ss — systemic violation of United Nations resolutions.
The White House transcript went with "systematic" — which would have been correct, even though it isn't what Dubya said. West Point, New York, Dec. 9, 2008
We reorganized our intelligence community to better neet the needs of war against these terrorists, including increasing the number of intelligence officers.
Dubya creates a tongue twister for himself where most folks probably wouldn't have faltered, West Point, New York, Dec. 9, 2008
We have captured or killed hundreds of al Qaeda leaders and operatives in more than two dozen countries — including the man who mastermined the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
That's right: Not masterminded... mastermined. West Point, New York, Dec. 9, 2008
It's a little bit reminiscent of what was taking place in Iraq a couple of years ago, where the enemy knows that they can affect the mentality of the American people if they just continue to kill innocent folks. And they have no disregard for human life.
Which, of course, means they have regard for human life... White House, Jul. 15, 2008
Many, many families look at me trying to determine whether or not, one, I believed that it [the war in Iraq] was necessary, and two, whether or not I'm going to let their son or daughter kind of lie in an empty grave when it comes to the sacrifice they made.
Exactly what kinds of graves would Dubya propose those sons and daughters lie in? Occupied ones? Rome, Italy, Jun. 13, 2008
Just think about what life was like in Afghanistan under the Taliban, with al Qaeda driving the agenda. This is where girls have no rights. You can't worship freely. This is a very dark, grim vision that they believe they must spread far and wide. That's what they think. And one way they achieve their objectives, of course, is to intimidate by death. There's no rules with these people. There's just — so America has got to understand that in order to find them we've got to get in their heads. If you're facing a nation, you can find the nation. If you're facing people that burry in failed states you've got to understand how to find them.
Burry... not sure what that means, and neither did the White House transcriber who left it in as-is with a "(sic)" after it. Maryland Heights, Missouri, May 2, 2008
During the recent fighting in the Basra province, our nations coordinated our support for the Iraqi security forces as they took on extremists and criminals. Most thankful for the brilliance of the British helicopter crews that fired under courage and helped evacuate wounded Iraqi soldiers.
If that makes sense to you, that makes one of us. White House, Apr. 17, 2008
Afghanistan is the most daring and ambition mission in the history of NATO.
At least it rhymed with mission... Bucharest, Romania, Apr. 2, 2008
And this is a good test for them [the Iraqis]. And of course, routing out these folks who've burrowed in society, who take advantage of the ability to be criminals, or the ability to intimidate citizens, is going to take a while.
One of numerous instances where Dubya refers to terrorists/enemies as "folks". White House, Mar. 28, 2008
And so this [the war in Iraq] is vital for our national interests. And I'm confident we can succeed, unless we lose our nerve, unless we allow politics to get in the way of making the necessary decisions, which I have vowed to our military and our civilians in Iraq that that's not going to be the case so long as I'm the President.
As long as Dubya can categorically claim that politics had nothing to do with starting the war in the first place — and I can believe him when he says that — I can go along with this statement... White House, Mar. 28, 2008
STEVEN LEE MYERS (New York Times): Thank you, Mr. President. I wonder if you could talk a little bit more about Iraq and how it's — you mentioned criminal elements that are being fought against now. How concerned are you that the violence now reflects, in fact, a deepening political and civil, even ethnic conflict inside of Iraq? How much now are American forces being drawn into the fighting in the last just few hours even? And how is it going to affect your decision looming on the way ahead? And if I could ask you both, please, to talk a little bit about the crackdown in Tibet and how you see that affecting relations with China. Thank you.
DUBYA: Any other subjects you want to wedge in there? Repeat some of those things. You had about five different things. I'm getting old, Steven. Wait a minute, look — yes, I talked about criminal elements. And one of those things that's been well known is that Basra has been a place where criminality has thrived. It's a port, a lot of goods and services go through there. And there was — from the beginning of liberation, there have been criminal elements that have had a pretty free hand in Basra. It was just a matter of time before the government was going to have to deal with it.... And so we are taking troops out, just like the Australians are, because we're being successful. And his question — Steven Lee's question was, well, are you going to bring any further out? Not, are you going to bring any out; are you going to bring any further troops out — from that which we committed to do earlier. And the answer is, it depends on what our commanders say, and the folks in Washington say, and it depends upon conditions on the ground. His real question was, have the conditions changed such that you believe your commander is going to make a different recommendation that he might have two days ago? And I can't answer that question.
Not only does he attribute a different question than what was asked him by the reporter, he also declines to answer it! White House, Mar. 28, 2008
Removing Saddam Hussein was the right decision early in my presidency. It is the right decision now, and it will be the right decision ever.
Dubya offers a grammatically-challenged defense of his war policy, Washington, D.C., Mar. 12, 2008
Folks who were involved in the insurgency have now decided they want to be a part of their government.
It still doesn't make any sense, but Dubya never overlooks an opportunity to refer to terrorists as folks. Nashville, Tennessee, Mar. 11, 2008
And so, [Lieutenant] General [Ray Odierno], I want to thank you for your service. And I appreciate the fact that you really snatched defeat out of the jaws of those who are trying to defeat us in Iraq.
I hope that isn't what the General did... White House, Mar. 3, 2008
The security situation has certainly improved, the political situation is getting better and the economy is beginning to improve. But it takes a while to recover from a tyrannical situation.
Note: He's talking about Iraq. White House, Jan. 24, 2008
They don't know what they're talking about.
Dubya's answer to those who criticize him for not doing enough to locate Osama bin Laden, White House, Jan. 24, 2008
There is no doubt in my mind when history was written, the final page will say victory was achieved by the United States of America for the good of the world.
I 'ppreciate what this, uhh, Third Army did in World War II. I hope you do too, as well. After all, you're members of Patton's own. Played a vital role in the destruction of the Nazi war machine. They helped liberate about 12,000 towns, at least that's according to the history of the Third Army. From their noble ranks came soldiers with some of our nation's highest directors, including 19 recipients of the Medal of Honor. You repre — distinguished history, and you're makin' history yourselves.
I don't know how he [President Assad] interprets these meetings, but one thing he can't be mistaken about is the position of the U.S. government, the White House. And our position is, is that you [Syria] can have better relations, a better way forward with the United States, but you have got to get out of Lebanon, in terms of the presidential elections, and stop harboring Hamas, stop letting suiciders go into Iraq, and there's a better way forward.
Dubya ushers in the new year with a repeat offense that he refuses to retire, White House, Jan. 6, 2008
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