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Quotes - Dubya at War (2001 and earlier)
(On Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorists and other things he likes to blow up)
Listen, a while ago I said to the American people, our objective is more than bin Laden. But one of the things for certain is we're going to get him running and keep him running, and bring him to justice. And that's what's happening. He's on the run, if he's running at all. So we don't know whether he's in a cave with the door shut, or a cave with the door open — we just don't know.
Two things: 1) Caves have doors? 2) What is the significance of the door being open or shut? Crawford, Texas, Dec. 28, 2001
But Tommy said, this war — the phase of this war is kind of like a baseball game. Of course, my ears perked up.
Well of course, what with all of the boring talk about war and all, Washington, D.C., Dec. 21, 2001
We're beginning to shut down financial institutions around the world.
Hopefully not meaning to say he's singlehandedly shutting down the world financial system, White House Ceremony marking end of Ramadan, Dec. 17, 2001
As soon as we make definitive conclusions, we'll share it with the American people.
Or them, even, White House Ceremony marking end of Ramadan, Dec. 17, 2001
REPORTER: Is Osama bin Laden cornered? And when you weigh the pros and cons of either option, would you rather take him alive so you can question him, or dead so you don't have to deal with him?
DUBYA: I don't care. Dead or alive, either way. I mean, I — it doesn't matter to me.
It's always reassuring to know he doesn't care, White House, Dec. 14, 2001
The American people must understand that I have no timetable in mind. There's no - I don't have a calendar that says, 'Gosh, if he's not gotten by this certain moment, then I'll be disappointed.'
Letting us know that he doesn't base his military decisions on a "disappointment calendar", meeting with Thai prime minister, White House, Dec. 13, 2001
Our intelligence professionals and special forces have cooperated in battle-friendly — with battle-friendly Afghan forces — fighters who know the terrain, who know the Taliban, and who understand the local culture.
Explaining our "battle-friendly" partners in the war, The Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina, Dec. 11, 2001
They are a movement defined by their hatreds. They hate progress, and freedom, and choice, and culture, and music, and laughter, and women, and Christians, and Jews, and all Muslims who reject their distorted doctrines.
Comments on the Taliban that taken on their own make sense, but make less sense when you learn they were made at The Citadel, the military academy made famous by its great efforts to prevent the inclusion of female cadets, and intimidate them into quitting once admitted, The Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina, Dec. 11, 2001
He's so evil that he's willing to send young men to commit suicide while he hides in caves.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but is Dubya on the front lines? And have you seen Dick Cheney anywhere lately, or is he in a cave, too? Remarks at White House Lighting of Menorah, Dec. 10, 2001
And, finally, next Tuesday our nation will play the National Anthem at 8:34 a.m. eastern standard time. We will do so, and we're encouraging other nations to play their anthems and/or appropriate tunes at about the same time or an appropriate time, to send this clear signal to the terrorists.
Perhaps the most appropriate time would be 8:46 a.m., since that is the time of the first airliner attack, photo op with Norwegian prime minister, White House, Dec. 5, 2001
The Anthem will be played at 8:46 a.m. I wanted to correct the time, so that as we prepare this reminder about the evil, and as we stand fast against terror, that we've got the correct time that we're going to do so.
There you go, Dubya, same photo op with Norwegian prime minister, White House, Dec. 5, 2001
At the same time, I had also made the decision, or close to made the decision that if we found an airplane that was squawking emergency, that its transponder had showed distress, that I had given the orders to the Secretary of Defense to shoot that airplane down.
I hope the Air Force was able to figure out how to detect a "transponder in distress", Barbara Walters interview, Dec. 4, 2001
The point I make is, by putting our troops in alert, obviously I was in a war mentality.
Verbal ambiguities provided in Barbara Walters interview, ABC TV, Dec. 4, 2001
WALTERS: Although you had said at one point it might take ten years, but it looks as if we're closing in; and you said you wanted Osama bin Laden dead or alive. Which would you prefer: Dead or alive?
DUBYA: I don't care.
Showing the value he places on human life when he doesn't like the human in question, not to mention judicial process, Barbara Walters interview, Dec. 4, 2001
We do know that he has no sense of civility about who he kills.
On Osama bin Laden, and suggesting "civil killing" is a possibility, Barbara Walters interview, Dec. 4, 2001
I don't know. We're trying to figure that out. I can't make any news right now because we're in the process of determining what to do with John.
Casually referring to alleged U.S. traitor John Walker Lindh as "John", who he also referred to as "this poor fellow", Barbara Walters interview, Dec. 4, 2001
No, the country — this country is a fabulous country. They thought they hurt us, the evil ones. They have made us stronger, more real, and a better land.
Patriotic and gramatically confused all at the same time, town hall meeting in Orlando, Florida, Dec. 4, 2001
Secondly, you need to pray for the good Lord to protect America, provide a shield over our country, to prevent us from harm.
Or protect us from harm, maybe. Town hall meeting in Orlando, Florida, Dec. 4, 2001
I believe that we're making — taking everything we possibly can to — I know we're doing everything we can to prevent further attacks.
Hopefully easier done than said, Orlando, Florida, Dec. 4, 2001
If we get any whiff, or any sniff that somebody is going to harm an American again, we're acting — just the way you would want us to.
A whiff or a sniff? I'm impressed. Town hall meeting, Orlando, Florida, Dec. 4, 2001
That was an important phone call. Because when I was coming up, and a lot of other older-looking people here who were coming up with me — that would never have happened in the past.
Commenting about phone call which came in from Russian President Vladimir Putin following U.S. placing armed forces on alert on Sept. 11, town hall meeting in Orlando, Florida, Dec. 4, 2001
I'm trying to absorb that knowledge. I have nobody to talk to. I'm sitting in the midst of a classroom with little kids, listening to a children's story... and I realize I'm the commander in chief and the country has just come under attack.
Scary, in interview with Newsweek, Dec. 3, 2001
We're an open society, but we're at war. The enemy has declared war on us and we must not let foreign enemies use the forms of liberty to destroy liberty itself.
Proposition for a preemptive assault on liberty in order to preserve it, in speech to new federal prosecutors, Washington, D.C., Nov. 29, 2001
I was on Air Force One the day of the attack, working my way back to Washington via Louisiana and Nebraska — making sure that the President was safe and secure.
Suffering from some sort of ailment that keeps him talking about himself in the third person, or suffering from amnesia as to his occupation, Crawford High School, Crawford, Texas, Nov. 15, 2001
Secondly, is to make sure that the good hearts of the American people and the Russian people, and people all over the world, are affected. By that I mean that we get the aid to the starving folks in Afghanistan.
I'm glad that at least he understands what he's saying, Crawford High School, Crawford, Texas, Nov. 15, 2001
I have been — I had spent a lot of time worrying about all eight, particularly the two young ladies. I was worried that — about the reports that perhaps the enemy would put them in a house and then, for whatever reason, would encourage that house to get bombed.
The two young ladies are apparently more important to Dubya since they are American, and excellent wording as usual, too. Garage of Dubya's ranch, Crawford, Texas, Nov. 14, 2001
I think it was a — I don't think it was — I think it was, as I understand it — and again, the Secretary of Defense will be briefing, the Defense Department will be briefing — that it was a facilitated rescue.
Clarifying the situation around the rescue of foreigners held by the Taliban, comments made in his Texas ranch home's garage, Nov. 14, 2001
We value life. The terrorists ruthlessly destroy it. We value education. The terrorists do not believe women should be educated, or should have health care, or should leave their homes. We value the right to speak our minds. For the terrorists, free expression can be grounds for execution.
Blurring the distinction between the terrorists and the Taliban government in Afghanistan, which are indeed two different groups, in address to nation from Atlanta, Georgia, Nov. 8, 2001
No group or nation should mistake Americans' intentions. Where terrorist groups exist of global reach, the United States and our friends and allies will seek it out, and we will destroy it.
Having pronoun agreement issues, among others, in address to nation from Atlanta, Georgia, Nov. 8, 2001
When we get the facts, we'll share it with the American people.
Speaking on the probe into the Anthrax attacks, and having yet another problem with sentence agreement (facts/it), in address to nation from Atlanta, Georgia, Nov. 8, 2001
This is a struggle that's going to take a while.... It's not one of these Kodak moments. There is no moment to this. This is a long struggle and a different kind of war.
Cryptic reference offered in press conference with British PM Tony Blair, Washington, D.C., Nov. 7, 2001
And we are fighting evil, and we will continue to fight evil, and we will not stop until we defeat evil.
Dubya tells "evil" who's boss, White House, Nov. 2, 2001
Well, I wasn't rattled when I went out and threw out the ball at Yankee Stadium.
I hate to point out the obvious, but let's just say that Dubya's personal security is just a little bit higher than that of the average American, White House, Nov. 2, 2001
We're making it harder for the enemy to communicate. We're making it harder for the enemy to protect himself. We're making it harder for the enemy to hide. And we're going to get him, and them.
Displaying usual dissatisfaction with consistent pronoun usage, White House, Nov. 2, 2001
So if I can sign an airport security bill, airline security bill, it will say to the American people that we are doing everything we possibly can to recover from the aftermath of September the 11th.
As long as it says something to the American people, the details and end results are apparently insignificant, White House, Nov. 2, 2001
This is not an instant gratification war.
Is he saying that the Gulf War was? White House, Nov. 2, 2001
And we need to spend money on helping workers who were — lost their job as a result of the attack of September the 11th. I believe we need to expend — extend and expand that unemployment benefits to those workers.
On a quest for the right word, and not reaching his destination, remarks to the National Association of Manufacturers, Washington, D.C., Oct. 31, 2001
We're united behind the fact that we must rise to this occasion.
Nice use of the English language, remarks to the National Association of Manufacturers, Washington, D.C., Oct. 31, 2001
On one front is the home front.
Referring to a front within a front (?) in the war on terrorism, Thomas Wootten High School, Rockville, Maryland, Oct. 30, 2001
And so, the mood of the country is certainly different from what it was on September the 10th, but I find the mood of the country to be incredibly refreshing and strong and powerful.
To recap, the mood is better now than it was before terrorists killed thousands, in statements to the Homeland Security Council, White House, Oct. 29, 2001
And how that — what that means to the economy, it means that the — it means that over time, our economy is going to be just as strong as the American spirit. And so I'm very optimistic about the economy. How long it will take to recover to the levels that we hope is just — is beyond my pay grade.
Making little sense, in statements to the Homeland Security Council, White House, Oct. 29, 2001
September the 11th taught us an interesting lesson, that while — by far, the vast majority of people who have come to America are really good, decent people, people that we're proud to have here, there are some who are evil.
That certainly is interesting. In statements to the Homeland Security Council, White House, Oct. 29, 2001
The press often ask me, well, is this the — is the evil one hiding from us in Afghanistan, the ones who have done this to America? I said, I don't know. We don't know yet. But we do know the evil one who hides thinks in ways that we can't possibly think in America — so destructive, such a low regard for human life. And anybody who puts anthrax, trying to kill American citizens, shares the same set of values. Whoever has done it shares that same value of evil that we saw on September the 11th.
I don't even know where to begin on this one, White House, Oct. 26, 2001
Today I mourned the lives of two who — two postal officers, who lost their life in the line of duty.
There's really no need to mourn their lives... Remarks to Business, Trade and Agriculture Leaders, White House, Oct. 26, 2001
Our enemies fear a society which is pluralistic and open to worship an almighty God.
Sounds like "America is great because our God is better", White House, Oct. 26, 2001
We are not at war with Muslims. We don't have a beef with Muslims. We want to be friends with Muslims and Muslim children.
Using slang schoolchildren are definitely going to relate to, at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, Washington, D.C., Oct. 25, 2001
There's no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he's [bin Laden] guilty.
Dubya explaining the concept of presumed innocence in American justice, as he understands it Washington, D.C., Oct. 14, 2001
If you see somebody who you don't know getting into a crop duster that doesn't belong to you, report them.
Answering question about what Americans can do to recognize terrorist threats, prime time press conference, White House, Oct. 11, 2001
Actually, I will say it again — if you cough him up, and his people, today, that we'll reconsider what we're doing to your country.
On Afghanistan in Prime Time News Conference, White House, Oct. 11, 2001
We need to counter the shock wave of the evildoer by having individual rate cuts accelerated and by thinking about tax rebates.
Countering bin Laden with tax cuts, Washington, D.C., Oct. 4, 2001
And we'll be tough and resolute as we unite, to make sure freedom stands, to rout out evil, to say to our children and grandchildren, we were bold enough to act, without tiring, so that you can live in a great land and in a peaceful world. And there's no doubt in my mind, not one doubt in my mind, that we will fail.
Displaying complete confidence in failure, Washington, D.C., Oct. 4, 2001
You see, the evildoers like to hit and then they try to hide. And slowly, but surely, we're going to make sure they have no place to hide. Slowly, but surely, we're going to move them out of their holes and what they think is safe havens, and get them on the move... In my speech to the Congress, I said, sometimes the American people aren't going to see exactly what's taking place on their TV screens. But slowly, but surely, the results are coming in... We're beginning to share intelligence amongst our nations. We're finding out members of the Al Qaeda organization, who they are, where they think they can hide. And we're slowly, but surely, bringing them to justice. We're slowly, but surely, calling their hand and reining them in.
Speaking to employees at FEMA Headquarters, Washington, D.C., Oct. 1, 2001
You're expressing a firm national commitment that's so important, that we will not surrender our freedom to travel, that we will not surrender our freedoms in America, that while you may think you have struck our soul, you haven't touched it, that we are too strong a nation to be carried down by terrorist activity.
A plethora of you's in the same breath, referring to different people, Chicago, Illinois, Sep. 27, 2001
And one of the great goals of this nation's war is to restore public confidence in the airline industry, is to tell the traveling public: "Get on board. Do your business around the country. Fly and enjoy America's great destination spots. Go down to Disney World in Florida, take your families and enjoy life the way we want it to be enjoyed."
This speech brought to you by Disney, Chicago, Illinois, Sep. 27, 2001
The world sees our compassion toward one another, as neighbor helps neighbor, as neighbor grieves with neighbor, as people from all across our country want to hold the families who have been dangered — who have been hurt — in their arms.
Rallying the people as only he can, Chicago, Illinois, Sep. 27, 2001
And we will look at all kinds of technologies to make sure that our airlines are safe, and for example including technology to enable controllers to take over distressed aircraft and land it by remote control.
Really on a roll at this point, Chicago, Illinois, Sep. 27, 2001
Some countries may wanna participate in one way, but not in another. All we ask is that you participate. All we ask is that you use the same amounta effort the United States will to win this war against freedom, to win this battle against global terrorism.
Hopefully it isn't a war against freedom that he's calling for, even though that's what it sounds like. Chicago, Illinois, Sep. 27, 2001
The folks who conducted this act on our country on September 11th made a big mistake. They misunderestimated the fact that we love a neighbor in need. They misunderestimated the compassion of our country. I think they misunderestimated the will and determination of the commander-in-chief, too.
"Misunderestimations" galore, CIA Headquarters, Langley, Virginia, Sep. 26, 2001
[This is] a war that declares a new declaration, that says if you harbor a terrorist you're just as guilty as the terrorist.
Declaring new declarations... CIA Headquarters, Langley, Virginia, Sep. 26, 2001
And in order to make sure that we're able to conduct a winning victory, we've got to have the best intelligence we can possibly have. And my report to the nation is we've got the best intelligence we can possibly have.
Explaining in speech at CIA that complete and utter cluelessness about the WTC/Pentagon attack was the best intelligence possible, CIA Headquarters, Langley, Virginia, Sep. 26, 2001
And I'm here to thank everybody who loves America in this building.
A classic example of Dubya-style misstatement, CIA Headquarters, Langley, Virginia, Sep. 26, 2001
The people who did this act on America and who may be planning further acts are evil people... They're flat evil. All they can think about is evil. And as a nation of good folks, we're going to hunt them down, and we're going to find them, and we will bring them to justice. Ours is a nation that does not seek revenge, but we do seek justice.
Painting a portrait in black and white, FBI Headquarters, Washington, D.C., Sep. 25, 2001
Oh, isolating the Taliban? Well, I think most people in the world understand that I was very serious, and they're serious, when we say if you harbor a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorist. That's pretty isolated, it seems like to me.
As long as it seems like to him, press conference with Japanese Prime Minister, White House, Sep. 25, 2001
Or, as I explained to the [Japanese] Prime Minister in Western terms, to smoke them out of their caves, to get them running so we can get them.
Cultural ambassador George W. Bush explaining complex metaphorical expression, Washington, D.C., Sep. 25, 2001
When I take action, I'm not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It's going to be decisive.
Dubya making a scarcely veiled put-down of former President Clinton in meeting with Senators Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer, White House, Sep. 24, 2001
Nobody can threaten this country. Oh, they may be able to bomb a buildings...
REPORTER: Do you want bin Laden dead?
DUBYA: I want justice. There's an old poster out west, as I recall, that said, "Wanted: Dead or Alive."
Exhibiting nostalgia for Old West justice, Washington, D.C., Sep. 18, 2001
The American people are going to have to be more patient than ever with the efforts of not just ourselves, but the efforts of our allies, to get them running and to find them and to hunt them down.
To hunt the American people down? The Pentagon, Sep. 17, 2001
Like the good folks standing with me, the American people were appalled and outraged at last Tuesday's attacks, and so were Muslims all across the world.
At a mosque, addressing the American Muslims standing behind him as if they were a separate group from the American people, Washington, D.C., Sep. 17, 2001
This is a new kind of, a new kind of evil... And the American people are beginning to understand. This crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a while. And American people must be patient.
Simultaneously placating American anxieties, and stoking those of Muslims worldwide, who don't exactly associate good things with the word 'crusade', Washington, D.C., Sep. 16, 2001
My administration has a job to do... We will rid the world of evildoers.
Preparing for Batman-like role, Washington, D.C., Sep. 16, 2001
I want to let you know there's a quiet anger in America that really is real and also, though, I can't tell you how proud I am of the good citizens of your part of the world and the extraordinary job you all are doing.
In telephone conversation with New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and New York governor George Pataki, who apparently administer over a region somewhere outside the U.S., White House, Sep. 13, 2001
I have spoken to the vice president, to the governor of New York, to the director of the FBI, and I've ordered that the full resources of the federal government go to help the victims and their families and to conduct a full-scale investigation to hunt down and to find those folks who committed this act.
Folks? Sarasota, Florida, Sep. 11, 2001
I think it's also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long [U.S. troops] will be involved and when they will be withdrawn.
Speaking about President Clinton's military action in Kosovo. This is probably worth contrasting with Dubya's reluctance to lay out any sort of timetable on his much more significant actions in Iraq. Reported in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Jun. 5, 1999
Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.
Speaking about President Clinton's military action in Kosovo. This is probably worth contrasting with Dubya's reluctance to lay out any sort of defined exit strategy for his war in Iraq. Reported in the Houston Chronicle, Apr. 9, 1999
CONNIE CHUNG [NBC]: Just a moment ago Tom Brokaw, in an interview with Dan Quayle — uhh, Dan Quayle revealed that he may have made a few phone calls that would help him get into the National Guard instead of serving in Vietnam —
CHUNG: Are you aware of this, and do you think —
CHUNG: — that could be a problem?
DUBYA: I am not, no, and I also think service in the National Guard is a good thing to do. I mean, he could — I, I'm from that era, as you know. As a matter of fact, he happens to be one year younger than I am. He couldda gone to Canada. He decided to serve. I think Dan Quayle oughtta be proud of his National Guard experience, like thousands of others around the country are —
CHUNG: And —
DUBYA: I was in the National Guard.
CHUNG: You were in the —
DUBYA: I flew —
CHUNG: — National Guard?
DUBYA: I flew fighters in the Texas Air National Guard, of which I am very proud.
CHUNG: Now, the problem, though, would be is if indeed he made several phone calls, or some people made phone calls on his behalf to get him into the National Guard. Did that ever, I mean, did that happen to you? Were you —
DUBYA: No, I don't think so. But, uhh, in those days, people were goin' into the service, all different branches, and people — if you wanted to go into the National Guard, I guess sometimes people made calls. I don't see anything wrong with the kind — matter of fact, I'm glad he served this country. And serving in the National Guard is serving in the mili — they probably shouldda called up the National Guard up in those days. Maybe we'd have done better in Vietnam.
Even in 1988, in this interview at the Republican Party National Convention, Dubya's dodges the question, while also managing to sneak in a backhanded compliment to the troops that actually fought in Vietnam, by suggesting that the U.S. could have done better with Dan Quayle and himself over there. Not to mention he couldn't help interrupting Connie Chung at every opportunity. New Orleans, Louisiana, Aug. 17, 1988
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