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Quotes - Dubya at War (2005)
(On Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorists and other things he likes to blow up)
REPORTER 1: Since the inception of the Iraqi war, I'd like to know the approximate total of Iraqis who have been killed. And by Iraqis I include civilians, military, police, insurgents, translators.
DUBYA: How many Iraqi citizens have died in this war? I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis. We've lost about 2,140 of our own troops in Iraq. Yes.
REPORTER 2: Mr. President, thank you —
DUBYA: I'll repeat the question. If I don't like it, I'll make it up.
Dubya offers up equal parts high war fatalities and smarmy repartee, without an inkling of remorse, more or less... Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Dec. 12, 2005
The war on terror will take many turns, and the enemy must be defeated on many — on every battlefield, from the streets of Western cities to the mountains of Afghanistan, to the tribal regions of Pakistan, to the islands of Southeast Asia and to the Horn of Africa. Yet the terrorists have made it clear that Iraq is the central front in their war against humanity, so we must recognize Iraq is the central front in the war on terror.
I hate to come across as biased against Dubya, but it's pretty hard to let him get away with suggesting that terrorists made Iraq the central front, especially given his massive role in the chain of events, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Dec. 12, 2005
The United Nations had declared in more than 10 — I can't remember the exact number of resolutions — that disclose, or disarm, or face serious consequences. I mean, there was a serious international effort to say to Saddam Hussein, you're a threat. And the 9/11 attacks extenuated that threat, as far as I — concerned.
From dictionary.com: ex-ten-u-ate (v.) To lessen or attempt to lessen the magnitude or seriousness of, especially by providing partial excuses. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Dec. 12, 2005
WILLIAMS: A lot of people have seen in this series of speeches you're giving on Iraq, a movement in your position. They call it an acknowledgement that perhaps the mission has not gone as it was originally planned — three points. That the U.S. would be welcomed as liberators, that General Shinseki, when he said this would take hundreds of thousands of troops in his farewell speech, might have been right. And third, that it wasn't a self-sustaining war in terms of the oil revenue. Do you concede those three points might not have gone as planned?
DUBYA: Review them with me again.
WILLIAMS: Number one — that we'd be welcomed as liberators?
DUBYA: I think we are welcomed. But it was not a peaceful welcome.
That's putting it mildly. Interview with Brian Williams, NBC News, Dec. 12, 2005
WILLIAMS: Do you believe this war was an elective on your part? Or did this have to come out of 9/11?
DUBYA: Hmm, interesting question. Well, first of all, troops don't move unless I give the order. So, from that sense it was elective. I mean, I could have said, no, we'll try to, you know, hope for the best with Saddam Hussein. Remember at the time we didn't know the facts on the ground. We — everybody thought the guy had weapons of mass destruction. Everybody knew that he'd used weapons of mass destruction and had provided safe haven for terrorists. I mean, those were facts. Whether or not it had to happen is — it didn't have to happen since a human being made the decision. Whether or not it needed to happen, I'm still convinced it needed to happen.
Dubya provides clear justification (at least to him) for going to war in Iraq, Interview with Brian Williams, NBC News, Dec. 12, 2005
An Iraqi battalion has consumed control of the former American military base, and our forces are now about 40 minutes outside the city.
I assume he meant to use a different word than that, but just got confused, Washington, D.C., Dec. 7, 2005
I particularly want to discuss the position that Democrat Congressman John Murtha announced this past week. Let me start off by saying that Congressman Murtha is a fine man, a good man, who served our country with honor and distinction as a Marine in Vietnam and as a United States Congressman. He is a strong supporter of the United States military. And I know the decision to call for an immediate withdrawal of our troops by Congressman Murtha was done in a careful and thoughtful way. I disagree with his position. An immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq will only strengthen the terrorists' hand in Iraq, and in the broader war on terror. That's the goal of the enemy.
He's a fine man, but Dubya still has no qualms about equating Murtha's position with supporting the terrorists, Beijing, China, Nov. 20, 2005
Ours is a country where people ought to be able to disagree, and I expect there to be criticism. But when Democrats say that I deliberately misled the Congress and the people, that's irresponsible. They looked at the same intelligence I did, and they voted — many of them voted to support the decision I made.
I'm not choosing a side on this, but the Congress doesn't see all of the intelligence that the President sees, and even if they voted to support him, that doesn't eliminate the possibility that they were misled, Gyeongju, South Korea, Nov. 17, 2005
The civilized world knows very well that other fanatics in history, from Hitler to Stalin to Pol Pot, consumed whole nations in war and genocide before leaving the stage of history. Evil men, obsessed with ambition and unburdened by conscience, must be taken very seriously — and we must stop them before their crimes can multiply. ...We didn't ask for this global struggle, but we're answering history's call with confidence, and with a comprehensive strategy. ...State sponsors like Syria and Iran have a long history of collaboration with terrorists, and they deserve no patience from the victims of terror. ...By any standard or precedent of history, Iraq has made incredible political progress — from tyranny, to liberation, to national elections, to the ratification of a constitution — in the space of two-and-a-half years. ...While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. ...With the rise of a deadly enemy and the unfolding of a global ideological struggle, our time in history will be remembered for new challenges and unprecedented dangers. ...Throughout history, tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that murder is justified to serve their grand vision ...[We] do know the love of freedom is the mightiest force of history, and we do know the cause of freedom will once again prevail.
Dubya goes ballistic (and historical) in a Veteran's Day performance for the ages, Tobyhanna Army Depot, Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, Nov. 11, 2005
Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war.
Actually, I think most of the anti-war critics and even some Democrats were claiming this from the start, and the events of the weeks preceding this appearance tend to support that claim, Tobyhanna Army Depot, Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, Nov. 11, 2005
Would the United States and other free nations be more safe or less safe with Zarqawi and bin Laden in control of Iraq, its people and its resources?
In case you were wondering if resources had anything to do with the invasion of Iraq, there's your unadulterated answer. Norfolk, Virginia, Oct. 28, 2005
Zawahiri writes that Al Qaeda views Iraq as the place for the greatest battle. The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity. And we must recognize Iraq as the central front in our war on terror.
I wonder if Dubya has an idea as to what the genesis of this role for Iraq might have been... Washington, D.C., Oct. 25, 2005
Some have argued that extremism has been strengthened by the actions of our coalition in Iraq, claiming that our presence in that country has somehow caused or triggered the rage of radicals. I would remind them that we were not in Iraq on September 11th, 2001, and Al Qaeda attacked us anyway.
If this makes sense to you, that makes one of us, Washington, D.C., Oct. 25, 2005
Over the years these extremists have used a litany of excuses for violence — the Israeli presence on the West Bank, or the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia, or the defeat of the Taliban, or the Crusades of a thousand years ago. In fact, we're not facing a set of grievances that can be soothed and addressed. We're facing a radical ideology with inalterable objectives, to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world. No acts of ours involves the rage of killers.
I'm assuming that he meant to say "No acts of ours invited the rage of the killers". How do I know? Because this isn't the first time Dubya has spoken these exact same words (minus the verb change). Washington, D.C., Oct. 25, 2005
Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy is elitist, led by a self-appointed vanguard of Islamic militants that presume to speak for the Muslim masses.
Interestingly, If you remove "Islamic" and "Muslim" from this statement and read it again, you get a statement more ideally suited to describing the terrorists' enemy, Simi Valley, California, Oct. 21, 2005
SERGEANT LOMBARDO: First, I'd like to say that this is a pleasure to speak with you again. We had the honor of your visit in New York City on November 11th, in 2001, when you recognized our Rainbow Soldiers —
SERGEANT LOMBARDO: — for their recovery and rescue efforts at Ground Zero.
DUBYA: Were you there?
SERGEANT LOMBARDO: We began our fight against terror — we began our fight against terrorism — in the wake of 9/11, and we're proud to continue it here in northcentral New York — northcentral Iraq.
DUBYA: Let me ask you something. Were you there when I came to New York?
SERGEANT LOMBARDO: Yes, I was, Mr. President.
DUBYA: Yeah, I thought you looked familiar.
SERGEANT LOMBARDO: Well, thank you.
Dubya goes off the script in an otherwise fully choreographed "conversation" with military personnel on duty in Iraq, Washington, D.C., Oct. 13, 2005
I am convinced that when we look back at this time in history, those who follow us — whether it be in the armed services or in the political process — will say, thank goodness the United States of America didn't lose our nerve or will, that we've put in motion something that can't be stopped, and that is the march of freedom.
Dubya presents vintage disagreement in this attempt at writing the history of the future, Washington, D.C., Oct. 13, 2005
Bin Laden says his own role is to tell Muslims, quote, 'what is good for them and what is not.' And what this man who grew up in wealth and privilege considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers. He assures them that his — that this is the road to paradise — though he never offers to go along for the ride.
Unless Bin Laden is making pronouncements in English now, that can't possibly be a verbatim quote, but what really amazes me is Dubya criticizing Bin Laden for being a man of wealth who sends young martyrs off to die in his place, in a war of his making, Washington, D.C., Oct. 6, 2005
Over the years these extremists have used a litany of excuses for violence. The Israeli presence on the West Bank, or the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia, or the defeat of the Taliban, or the Crusades of a thousand years ago. In fact, we're not facing a set of grievances that can be soothed and addressed. We're facing a radical ideology with — inalterable objectives. To enslave whole nations and intimidate the world. No act of ours invited the rage of the killers.
Umm, Dubya... do you recall the list of their grievances you just recited a few seconds ago? Washington, D.C., Oct. 6, 2005
If you look at the organizational structure of Al Qaeda right after September the 11th and look at it today, you'll see a lot of people have been brought to justice — Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, al Libbi. I mean, there's a series of these folks that had been plotting and planning and ordering attacks.
He absolutely cannot resist calling terrorists "folks", Washington, D.C., Sep. 22, 2005
That's what — in other words, they have a strategy. We understand that. And we have a strategy. And part of the strategy is to call free nations together to form a coalition, to share information and to find people before they hurt.
What's Dubya planning to do to those unhurt people? Washington, D.C., Sep. 22, 2005
If Zarqawi and bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks. They'd seize oil fields to fund their ambitions. They could recruit more terrorists by claiming an historic victory over the United States and our coalition.
Dubya offers a new scenario (of his creation) to stay the course in Iraq, and also reverts to tying bin Laden with Iraq, San Diego, California, Aug. 30, 2005
In Iraq, Afghanistan and across the world, we face dangerous enemies who want to harm our people, folks who want to destroy our way of life.
Again with the enemies as "folks" approach... Nampa, Idaho, Aug. 24, 2005
Today's enemies do not mass armies on borders, or navies on high seas. They blend in with the civilian population. They emerge to strike, and then they retreat back into the shadows. And that's why there are thousands of our fellow citizens running down every single piece of intelligence we can find, doing everything we can to disrupt folks that might be here in America trying to hurt you.
And again... Nampa, Idaho, Aug. 24, 2005
The terrorist Zarqawi sums up their appeal this way. Anyone who stands in the way of our struggle is our enemy and target of the swords. That's the sum of his grim vision.
Not to equate him with the terrorists, but doesn't this grim vision sound incredibly similar to Dubya's doctrine of being "either with us or against us"? Nampa, Idaho, Aug. 24, 2005
As to the constitution, one of the meetings we had this morning was with Zal, our ambassador in Baghdad. And he gave us a briefing as to the progress on the constitution. We have made it clear that we believe that constitution can be and should be agreed upon by August 15th. And so I'm operating on the assumption that it will be agreed upon by August the 15th. And Zal said that, you know, obviously there are some difficult issues — federalism being one, role of religion. Hopefully the — the drafters of the constitution understand our strong belief that women ought to be treated equally in the Iraqi society.
And after all, the Iraqis must satisfy every belief and time constraint imposed by Lord Dubya the Democratizer... Crawford, Texas, Aug. 11, 2005
I grieve for every death. It breaks my heart to think about a family weeping over the loss of a loved one. I understand the anguish that some feel about the death that takes place.
Some? That's an odd qualification to add. Crawford, Texas, Aug. 11, 2005
And I remind people, when they think about the conflict we're in, to think about World War II, when an enemy of ours — Japan, for example — is now a loyal friend and an ally because of the hard work we did, not only during the war, but in the post-war reconstruction of Japan.
I don't think that what we did during the war actually applies to this statement, Crawford, Texas, Aug. 11, 2005
It's hard for the Western mind to even comprehend what life was like for people in Afghanistan, but this is a society in which young girls couldn't go to school. And if you objected to their point of view, you were taken into the public square and whipped, or sometimes assassinated.
But only sometimes. You wouldn't be assassinated every time. And who are "they"? The girls? Grapevine, Texas, Aug. 3, 2005
By the way, you can't negotiate with these people or reason with them. That's what you've got to understand. These are not the kind of people you sit down and send a counselor over and hope to convince them to change their ways.
One more in a long line of similar expressions, Baltimore, Maryland, Jul. 20, 2005
Secondly, we're strengthening the defenses at our most important and vulnerable locations. In other words, part of a strategy is ta — to try to figure out where the enemy may attack. You assess your weaknesses, and you build on those — and you, and you, strengthen your weaknesses. That's the — remember, we're, this is a war. This isn't a — you know, maybe a, you know, a ketta, a law enforcement adventure. We're at war with these people, and therefore, during a time of war, you've got to do everything you can to strengthen your defenses. And so we'll continue to enhance protection at our borders and coastlines and airports and bridges and nukyular power pants.
Dubya gets flustered, and delivers a doozy: "nukyular power pants", Baltimore, Maryland, Jul. 20, 2005
The war on terror goes on. I was most impressed by the resolve of all the leaders in the room. Their resolve is as strong as my resolve.
Most likely without seeing the conceit inherent in this sentiment, Dubya is impressed when people approach his level, Auchterarder, Scotland, Jul. 7, 2005
REPORTER: Mr. President, we were told that you planned to sharpen your focus on Iraq. Why did this become necessary? And given the recent surge in violence, do you agree with Vice President Dick Cheney's assessment that the insurgency is in its last throes?
DUBYA: Adam, I think about Iraq every day — every single day — because I understand we have troops in harm's way... [seconds later] And so, you know, I think about this every day — every single day — and will continue thinking about it, because I understand we've got kids in harm's way.
Makes you wonder if he practiced these phrases beforehand to be able to reproduce them so accurately in rapid succession. Washington, D.C., Jun. 20, 2005
And the second way to defeat the terrorists is to spread freedom. You see, the best way to defeat a society that is — doesn't have hope, a society where people become so angry they're willing to become suiciders, is to spread freedom, is to spread democracy.
Dubya declares war against Muslim society, and tosses in one of his favorite made-up words, Washington, D.C., Jun. 8, 2005
I think the Iraq government will be up to the task of defeating the insurgents. I think they dealt the insurgents — I think the Iraqi people dealt the insurgents a serious blow when they — when we had the elections.
Dubya corrects himself in a way which seems to discredit the point he was trying to make, White House, May 31, 2005
I want to thank the people of Georgia for contributing troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. You've got a fine group of people that are helping serve the cause of freedom. We discussed the way forward in Iraq, discussed the importance of a democracy in the greater Middle East in order to leave behind a peaceful tomorrow.
Dubya mires himself and his audience in a chronologically-challenged statement, Tbilisi, Georgia, May 10, 2005
But you bet, when we find somebody who might do harm to the American people, we will detain them and ask others from their country of origin to detain them. It makes sense. The American people expect us to do that. We, we — we still at war.
It's in our country's interests to find those who would do harm to us and get them out of harm's way.
Wait a second. Wouldn't we want to put those people into harm's way? Otherwise, we'd kinda be helping them. Prime Time Press Conference, White House, Apr. 28, 2005
REPORTER: Mr. President, can you explain why you've approved of and expanded the practice of what's called rendition, of transferring individuals out of U.S. custody to countries where human rights groups and your own State Department say torture is common for people under custody?
DUBYA: The post-9/11 world, the United States must make sure we protect our people and our friends from attack. That was the charge we have been given. And one way to do so is to arrest people and send them back to their country of origin with the promise that they won't be tortured. That's the promise we receive. This country does not believe in torture. We do believe in protecting ourselves. We don't believe in torture.
Dubya denies the existence of a torture-driven intelligence windfall resulting from rendition, without providing an alternate explanation for the policy. Hmmm... Washington, D.C., Mar. 16, 2005
The United States and the U.S. stand together in support of the Iraqi people and the new Iraqi government, which will soon come into action.
Dubya redefines the coalition present in Iraq, Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 22, 2005
This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. And having said that, all options are on the table.
Having it both ways as usual, Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 22, 2005
The United States has no right, no desire, and no intention to impose our form of government on anyone else. That is one of the main differences between us and our enemies.
Apparently he isn't counting the invasions, occupations and nation-building endeavors in Afghanistan and Iraq, 2005 State of the Union address, Washington, D.C., Feb. 2, 2005
We are in Iraq to achieve a result. A country that is democratic.
(See above...) 2005 State of the Union address, Washington, D.C., Feb. 2, 2005
WASHINGTON POST: Why do you think bin Laden has not been caught?
DUBYA: Because he's hiding.
Dubya offers a ludicrous answer to a serious question, interview with Michael A. Fletcher and Jim VandeHei of the Washington Post, aboard Air Force One, Jan. 14, 2005
Sometimes, words have consequences you don't intend them to mean. "Bring 'em on" is the classic example, when I was really trying to rally the troops and make it clear to them that I fully understood, you know, what a great job they were doing. And those words had an unintended consequence. It kind of, some interpreted it to be defiance in the face of danger. That certainly wasn't the case.
It's kind of hard to draw that conclusion if you revisit the original quote, and other evidence accumulated over years of listening to Dubya, Washington, D.C., Jan. 14, 2005
We have a duty in your government to protect the American people. So the second big task at hand is to make sure we do everything we can to protect our homeland. And I will assure you I will continue to work to spread freedom and democracy, and therefore, peace, in parts of the world that are desperate for freedom, democracy, and peace.
And how will he be spreading freedom, democracy and therefore, peace? That's right. Through armed conflict. Collinsville, Illinois, Jan. 5, 2005
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