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Quotes - Dubya at War (2003)
(On Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorists and other things he likes to blow up)
And the threat of Saddam Hussein was a unique threat in this sense — the world recognized he was a threat for twelve years, and seventeen resolutions, I think it is — I believe it was seventeen resolutions — for the resolution counter, give me a hand here — seventeen? Seventeen resolutions. And he ignored them.
What's unique here is Dubya's inability to settle on a number, Washington, D.C., Dec. 15, 2003
REPORTER: Some people make a parallel between Iraq and Vietnam. Do you see it?
DUBYA: I know that people are anxious to be free. They were glad to get rid of Saddam Hussein. They were pleased when his sons met their demise. This person tortured, brutalized an entire population. And it's a different situation.
REPORTER: I didn't hear the word Vietnam in your answer.
DUBYA: No, because — I gave you the answer, you asked the question. You asked me if there's parallel. I said it's a different situation.
Well, he got two things right: The reporter did ask the question, and he did give an answer, of sorts. London, England, Nov. 21, 2003
One thing that's happening that you need to know that will help us make the necessary calculations for troop levels is that there's a lot of Iraqis beginning to be trained to deal with the issue on the ground. There's Iraqis being trained for an army. There's Iraqis being trained for an intelligence service. There's Iraqis being trained for additional police work. There are Iraqis being trained for asset protection. There are Iraqis being trained for border guards. There's over 130,000 Iraqis now who have been trained, who are working for their own security.
Having mixed results with his use of "there's" and "there are", London, England, Nov. 20, 2003
Well, first of all, the goal of the terrorists — whether they be Baathists, or mujahideen fighters, or Al Qaeda-type fighters — is to create terror and fear amongst average Iraqis — is to create the conditions where people are just so fearful for their lives that they cannot think positively about freedom.
Because thinking about freedom is what it's all about, Washington, D.C., Nov. 13, 2003
The Ambassador and the General were briefing me on the — the vast majority of Iraqis want to live in a peaceful, free world. And we will find these people and we will bring them to justice.
Yikes. White House, Oct. 27, 2003
The more progress we make on the ground, the more free the Iraqis become, the more electricity is available, the more jobs are available, the more kids that are going to school, the more desperate these killers become, because they can't stand the thought of a free society. They hate freedom. They love terror.
Dubya paints another one of his famous black-and-white pictures, White House, Oct. 27, 2003
We're on the offensive against the terrorists, draining their funds, disrupting their plans and bringing them to justice, one person at a time. Here in the Philippines, one face of the enemy is the Abu Sayyaf group. These killers torture and behead their victims while acting, or claiming to act, in the name of God. But murder has no home in any religious faith. And these terrorists must find no home in the Philippines.
Dubya seeming to suggest that some terrorists may indeed be acting in the name of God. Chilling. Manila, Philippines, Oct. 18, 2003
I was not about to leave the security of the American people in the hands of a madman. I was not going to stand by and wait and trust the sanity and restraint of Mr. Saddam Hussein.
Although this is grammatically accurate, the fact that Dubya is still trying to prove Hussein had American security at his fingertips is unsettling, Washington, D.C., Oct. 8, 2003
And, listen, we're making good progress in Iraq. Sometimes it's hard to tell it when you listen to the filter.
By 'filter' I guess he means the press, whose job unfortunately isn't to rally behind the President, Washington, D.C., Oct. 6, 2003
No, the attacks of September the 11th, and the march to war leading up to the Iraqi excursion, affected the psychology of the country. We had a recession, and we had the attacks, the national emergency, plus the march to war. But we're a strong country. We're a resilient country because the entrepreneurial spirit is strong and things seem to be okay.
We are no longer at war, but involved in an excursion. I'm sure that's news to our troops in Iraq. But I guess they'll be fine as long as their entreprenurial spirit remains strong. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Oct. 3, 2003
As we hunt down the terrorists, we're committed to spending — spreading freedom in all parts of the world, including the Middle East.
I think he got it right prior to correcting himself, Washington, D.C., Oct. 1, 2003
Obviously, I think they're going badly for the soldiers who lost their lives, and I weep for that person and their family. But no, I think we're making good progress.
Answering a question on how he thought the "postwar" effort was going, interview broadcast on Fox Broadcast Network, Sep. 21, 2003
In the last two days, we captured a major terrorist, named Hambali... Hambali was one of the world's most lethal terrorists who is suspected of planning major terrorist operations, including that which occurred in Bali, Indonesia, and other recent attacks. He is no longer a problem to those of us who love freedom.
Which means he continues to be a problem for those of us who don't love freedom, Miramar, California, Aug. 14, 2003
Before you went in, Iraqis were an oppressed people, and the dictator threatened his neighbors, the Middle East and the world. Today, the Iraqis are liberated people, the former regime is gone, and our nation and the world is more secure.
Now, I hate to have to say this, but there was no evidence that Iraq posed a threat to the world before the war, and there is no evidence now, either, Miramar, California, Aug. 14, 2003
Al Qaeda is still active, and they're still recruiting, and they're still a threat because we won't cower.
If that's true, shouldn't we start cowering to remove the threat? Miramar, California, Aug. 14, 2003
We're helping with the reconstruction and the founding of a democratic government. We're making steady progress in Afghanistan. New roads are being built, medical clinics are opening, there are new schools in Afghanistan where many young girls are now going to school for the first time, thanks to the United States of America.
I keep having these flashbacks to the 2000 presidential debates, when Dubya lambasted V.P. Al Gore with statements like, "The vice president and I have a disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in nation-building... If we don't stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road," Miramar, California, Aug. 14, 2003
We learned a lesson September the 11th, and that is, our nation is vulnerable to attack. The best way to secure America is to get the enemy before they get us, and that's what's happening in Iraq.
Repeating his Iraq-9/11 mantra despite no evidence that there has ever been a connection between the two, Crawford, Texas, Aug. 8, 2003
I say it's pure politics. And that's just the nature of democracy. Sometimes pure politics enters into the rhetoric.
Dubya's blanket assessment of criticism of his justification for war in Iraq, Crawford, Texas, Aug. 8, 2003
Turns out this is our hundredth day since major military operations have ended, ended in Iraq. ...We've been there a hundred days. We've made a lot of progress in a hundred days, and I am pleased with the progress we've made, but fully recognize we've got a lot more work to do. ...The American people know that we laid out the facts, we based the decision on sound intelligence and they also know we've only been there for a hundred days.
So we weren't there until the military operations ended? I'm confused. Crawford, Texas, Aug. 3, 2003
My point of view, however, since I'm in charge of fighting the war on terror is that we won't reveal sources and methods that will compromise our efforts to succeed.
Accidentally proposing to hide ineffective sources and methods, White House, Jul. 30, 2003
As you know, earlier this week, two of the favorite henchmen of Saddam Hussein were brought to justice. They were discovered and their violent careers ended in justice.
Texas justice. And kind of a weird way to phrase it, too, Livonia, Michigan, Jul. 24, 2003
Secondly, the answer to your question about reconstruction efforts, the answer is, who can do the best job for the Iraqi people?
There's nothing quite like answering a question with a question, Crawford, Texas, Jul. 21, 2003
The answer to your question is, how best to improve the lives of the Iraqi people, how best to quickly establish electricity and clean water and hospitals and schools, all the things necessary for a free society to develop?
There's nothing like doing it twice in a row, Crawford, Texas, Jul. 21, 2003
The only thing I know for certain is that they are bad people.
On the British detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay by the U.S. without judicial process, in meeting with British PM Tony Blair, Washington, D.C., Jul. 18, 2003
Yeah, we will bring the weapons. And, of course, we will bring the information forward on the weapons when they find them. And that'll end up — end all this speculation. I understand the — there's been a lot of speculation over in Great Britain, we've got a little bit of it, about whether or not — you know, whether or not the actions were based upon valid information. We can debate that all day long until the truth shows up.
By "bring the weapons", does Dubya mean the U.S. will haul some over and plant them as evidence? And how does the truth go about "showing up"? A statement that creates more questions than it answers. Washington, D.C., Jul. 17, 2003
We won't be proven wrong. I believe that we will find the truth.
Apparently the truth has been lost and will be found again, Washington, D.C., Jul. 17, 2003
The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region.
That sounds perfectly sensible... we made a reasonable request (leave your country), and when Hussein refused, we overthrew him (because we could). Not to mention the revisionist history regarding the "refusal" to allow inspectors in. I guess Hans Blix was a figment of our imagination. Washington, D.C., Jul. 14, 2003
REPORTER: Do you still believe they [the Iraqis] were trying to buy nuclear materials in Africa?
DUBYA: Right now?
REPORTER: No, were they? The statement you made —
DUBYA: One thing is for certain, he's not trying to buy anything right now.
A typically smarmy response to a serious question (note the subtle shift from "they" to "he"), which he used to avoid acknowledging the fact that Iraq wasn't trying to buy nuclear materials in Africa at any time in recent history (although Dubya cited the alleged nuclear shopping spree as a justification for war in his State of the Union address), Pretoria, South Africa, Jul. 9, 2003
There's no doubt in my mind that when it's all said and done the facts will show the world the truth. There's going to be, you know, a lot of attempts to try to rewrite history, and I can understand that. But I'm absolutely confident in the decision I made.
Dubya trying to deflect criticism about the lack of WMD in Iraq, and the veracity of information he and his administration presented as fact in the build up to war, Pretoria, South Africa, Jul. 9, 2003
There are some who feel like that, uhh — if they — attack us, that we may decide to leave prematurely. They don't understand what they're talkin' about, if that's the case. Let me finish. Umm, there are some who, uhh — feel like — that, you know, the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring 'em on.
We sent a clear message to Saddam Hussein. 'Disarm, the world has asked you to disarm for 12 solid years and now is the time. For the security of America and our friends, and for peace in the world, for you to disarm.' And we gave him plenty chance to do so.
And apparently he did better than we thought, since weapons haven't turned up, Fridley, Minnesota, Jun. 19, 2003
There's been a lot made about the military might of the United States of America. And we're plenty tough. And we're plenty tough and plenty strong because we have a job to do.
So the military might of the U.S. doesn't come from the hard work and rigorous training, but merely from needing to fulfill a job? Would the military be insufficiently tough if there was no job pending? Fridley, Minnesota, Jun. 19, 2003
When you hear about war all the time on your TV screens, the speculation of war and the discussion of war, it's not conducive to a confident tomorrow.
At least he admits to it, I guess, Fridley, Minnesota, Jun. 19, 2003
I came to seize opportunities, and not let them slip away. We are meeting the tests of our time. Terrorists declared war on the United States and war is what they got.
Leave it to Dubya to view war as an 'opportunity', Washington, D.C., Jun. 17, 2003
I am absolutely convinced with time we'll find out that they did have a weapons program.
Wait a second... I thought we went to war because we already knew for certain that Iraq had thousands of tons of stockpiled chemical weapons, and an active, ongoing weapons program operated in violation of UN sanctions. Now it sounds like Dubya was acting on a hunch, Washington, D.C., Jun. 9, 2003
We believe that liberty is God's gift to every individual on the face of the earth. We believe people have the right to think and speak and worship in freedom. That's what we believe in America. And that's what you showed the world.
Speaking to troops in Qatar, who apparently showed the world that America believes that liberty is God's gift to humanity, and that the people have the right to speak and worship in freedom (?!?), Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar, Jun. 5, 2003
The [military] academies are really important for a lot of reasons. Obviously, what you learn on the football field is even more important since we're still at war.
That just plain doesn't make sense, Washington, D.C., May 16, 2003
What you — the character you displayed in your drive to be the best will serve our nation well. Because we're still at war. We learned that lesson in Saudi Arabia the other day. An Al Qaeda — a group we think is Al Qaeda killed innocent life just for the sake of killing them.
Wow, that doesn't make sense, either, Washington, D.C., May 16, 2003
These despicable [suicide attacks] were committed by killers whose only faith is hate. And the United States will find the killers, and they will learn the meaning of American justice.
Dubya failing again to understand that suicide bombers can't be caught and brought to justice, you know, because they're dead and everything, CNN, May 13, 2003
If those killers, those criminals believe that their bloody criminal acts will shake even one hair off the body of our nation and its unity, then they are deceiving themselves.
See above, CNN, May 13, 2003
Anytime anybody attacks our homeland, anybody — anytime anybody attacks our fellow citizens, we'll be on the hunt, and we'll find them, and they will be brought to justice.
Does he mean we'll already be on a sort of pre-emptive hunt at the time of the attack? Indianapolis, Indiana, May 13, 2003
Less than 60 days ago that we started our mission. And in that period of time, not only did we remove a regime which threatened our security and held the American people hostage — not only did we remove a regime that brutalized their own people, but we will stay to make sure that the Iraqi people have got the security necessary.
Dubya asserting that Saddam Hussein was holding America hostage, which is news to me, Albuquerque, New Mexico, May 12, 2003
And we're still on the hunt. There's still Al Qaeda operatives moving around. And we're going to stay on the hunt until we bring them to justice. ...And so today, as I speak, there are Special Forces teams on the hunt, on the prowl. ...We'll stay on the hunt until we have totally dismantled the Al Qaeda network, to make this world more free.
Somehow he found it necessary to add "on the prowl" on top of "on the hunt", in an already hunt-laded presentation, Omaha, Nebraska, May 12, 2003
We ended the rule of one of history's worst tyrants, and in so doing we not only freed the American people, we made our own people more secure.
The American people and our own people? Wow, two for the price of one! Crawford, Texas, May 3, 2003
You see, it wasn't all that long ago that our tanks were in Baghdad. It may seem like a lot of time — there's a lot on our TV screens — but it wasn't all that long ago that the people got the first whiff of freedom.
Said a couple of weeks after U.S. tanks entered Baghdad, and as they still occupied the country, Lima, Ohio, Apr. 23, 2003
In Iraq, the regime of Saddam Hussein is no more. A month ago — one month ago — that country was a prison to its people, a haven for terrorists, an arsenal of weapons that endangered the world.
An arsenal of weapons that were never found despite a month and 250,000 troops available for the task. But you know what he means, right? Washington, D.C., Apr. 15, 2003
I think that we believe there are chemical weapons in Syria.
Could you perhaps be a little more definitive? Washington, D.C., Apr. 13, 2003
You know, it's amazing, the statue comes down on Wednesday and the headlines start to read: oh, there's disorder. Well, no kidding. It is a situation that is chaotic because Saddam Hussein created the conditions for chaos. He created conditions of fear and hatred. And it's going to take a while to stabilize the country.
In other words, the U.S. toppling the Hussein regime and creating a massive power vacuum had nothing to do with it, Washington, D.C., Apr. 13, 2003
DUBYA: You gotta follow-up question?
REPORTER 1: I just want to ask what your message is to the Iraqi people who are wondering about —
DUBYA: You're free. And freedom is beautiful. And, uhh, you know, it'll take time to restore chaos, and order, but we — order out of chaos, but we will. Yeah, John.
REPORTER 2: Sir, given the success of American military...
I'm guessing that freedom is so beautiful that he needed to solicit a follow-up and then cut the reporter off immediately, Washington, D.C., Apr. 13, 2003
We're fighting an enemy that knows no rules of law, that will wear civilian uniforms, that is willing to kill in order to continue the reign of fear of Saddam Hussein.
Ahh, yes, civilian uniforms... Pentagon, Mar. 25, 2003
F-ck Saddam! we're taking him out.
Dubya indicating in March 2002 his determination to go to war a full year before he did so, in meeting with Senators and Condoleezza Rice - as reported in Time Magazine, Mar. 24, 2003
I described them [Iraq] as the axis of evil once. I described them as an enemy until proven otherwise. They obviously, you know, desire weapons of mass destruction. I presume that he still views us as an enemy.
An enemy until proven otherwise? Wow, whatever happened to the idea of evidence to support that contention? And notice the unsubtle shift from "they" (Iraq) to "he" (Saddam Hussein). Ridgewood Country Club, Waco, Texas, Mar. 10, 2003
I've not made up our mind about military action.
Prime time press conference, White House, Mar. 6, 2003
How do you measure the benefit of freedom in Iraq? I guess, if you're an Iraqi citizen you can measure it by being able to express your mind and vote. How do you measure the consequence of taking a dictator out of — out of power who has tried to invade Kuwait?
Excuse me Dubya, but your dad went to war when Iraq succeeded in invading Kuwait, prime time press conference, White House, Mar. 6, 2003
Saddam Hussein is a threat to our nation. September the 11th changed the strategic thinking, at least, as far as I was concerned, for how to protect our country. My job is to protect the American people. It used to be that we could think that you could contain a person like Saddam Hussein, that oceans would protect us from his type of terror. September the 11th should say to the American people that we're now a battlefield, that weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist organization could be deployed here at home.
How does hijacking domestic aircraft constitute the deployment of weapons of mass destruction? They were weapons of mass transit, Dubya, and they were ours, prime time press conference, White House, Mar. 6, 2003
It's a war in which we will hunt down those who hate America, one person at a time.
Broadening the definition of who America is fighting against in a way which suggests that it will be an incredibly long war, Washington, D.C., Mar. 4, 2003
It's a different kind of war than we're used to in America. It's a war that requires patience and focus.
I guess all those old wars were really undisciplined and unfocused, Washington, D.C., Mar. 4, 2003
It is important for the Iraqi leadership and Iraqi generals to clearly understand that if they take innocent life, if they destroy infrastructure, they will be held to account as war criminals.
So if the Iraqis blow up bridges to stop advancing U.S. invasion troops from entering their towns, the generals will be tried as war criminals after the war? That doesn't quite make sense. Washington, D.C., Feb. 25, 2003
America and our allies are called once again to defend the peace against an aggressive tyrant, and we accept this responsibility.
Sorry, I'd usually let something like this slide, but how exactly is it that Saddam Hussein is an aggressive tyrant, when Iraq hasn't engaged in conflict in 12 years? Kennesaw, Georgia, Feb. 20, 2003
REPORTER: Given the size of the protests in England over the weekend, do you have any concerns that Tony Blair might pay a serious political price for supporting you on Iraq?
DUBYA: ...First of all, you know, size of protest, it's like deciding, well, I'm going to decide policy based upon a focus group.
It would probably be more like responding to the majority opinion of the British and American public that a unilateral war should not be an option, but there you have it, Washington, D.C., Feb. 18, 2003
And I also want to assure [Italian Prime Minister] Silvio [Berlusconi] that should we require military action, shortly after our troops go in, will go food and medicine and supplies to the Iraqi people. We will, of course, win militarily, if we have to.
Is losing militarily an option? Washington, D.C., Jan. 30, 2003
Should any Iraqi officer or soldier receive an order from Saddam Hussein, or his sons, or any of the killers who occupy the high levels of their government, my advice is, don't follow that order. Because if you choose to do so, when Iraq is liberated, you will be treated, tried and persecuted as a war criminal.
In addition to the bellicose overtones, Dubya manages to replace "prosecuted" with "persecuted", St. Louis, Missouri, Jan. 22, 2003
All Texans are proud that our state is the home to so many fine military units, including the great 1st Calvary Division.
It's Cavalry Dubya, Cavalry. Calvary is the hill upon which Jesus was crucified. Fort Hood, Texas, Jan. 3, 2003
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