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Quotes - Dubya at War (2007)
(On Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorists and other things he likes to blow up)
Some of them in Congress want to say we're going to spend some of the money, and by the way, tell you how to conduct the war. That's not going to work. We don't need members of Congress telling our military commanders what to do. We need our military commanders telling us what to do so we can win the war against these extremists and radicals.
Actually, a civilian-led military, with Congress in control of funding and empowered to declare war, is a cornerstone of American democracy. Apparently Dubya is operating from a completely different understanding. New Albany, Indiana, Nov. 13, 2007
If you've got somebody in harm's way, you want the President being — making advice, not — be given advice by the military, and not making decisions based upon the latest Gallup poll or focus group.
Bumbling his way through an explanation of his hands-off approach to determining military strategy, New Albany, Indiana, Nov. 13, 2007
REPORTER: So what about Iraq? Can France, for instance, help to get out of the Iraqi quagmire? And President Bush, where do you stand on Iraq and your domestic debate on Iraq? Do you have a timetable for withdrawing troops?
DUBYA: I don't — you know, quagmire is an interesting word. If you lived in Iraq and had lived under a tyranny, you'd be saying, God, I love freedom — because that's what's happened.
I wonder if the Iraqis would also praise God for the random killings, kidnappings, political instability, power outages, dismal standards of living and rampant unemployment? Quagmire is an interesting word. Mount Vernon, Virginia, Nov. 7, 2007
I would say that we would always try to try diplomacy first. In other words, I — I've committed our troops into harm's way twice, and it's not a pleasant experience because I understand the consequences firsthand.
Really? From inside the White House, Dubya can claim firsthand understanding of the experience of war? That's quite a feat. White House, Nov. 6, 2007
And as we keep pressure on the enemy, we must always remember that the ultimate path to peace will come from the spread of freedom and liberty, that freedom is the great alternative to the ideology of the murderers and the radicals, that but workin' help — to work — to help others become free, that our noble military is lavin' — layin' the foundation for peace for generations to come.
A long, long sentence with a poor payoff for ol' Dubya. Fort Jackson, South Carolina, Nov. 2, 2007
We got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel. So I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nukyular weapon.
Dubya once again proving he's never afraid to escalate the war rhetoric. And yes, he actually said "have" rather than "having" in the last sentence. White House, Oct. 17, 2007
And so, yes, we're making progress. But, no, I fully understand those who say you can't win this thing militarily. That's exactly what the United States military says, that you can't win this military.
Dubya almost makes it out of the last sentence unscathed. White House, Oct. 17, 2007
And the fundamental question facing policymakers is how do you make sure that that volunteer army is robust and well-trained. And the answer is, pay people well, but also remember that the spouse makes a big decision as to whether or not people are willing to serve, at least stay in that volunteer army or serve in the first place. And that's why we've improved housing. And that's why we've made sure that a spouse can communicate with his or her loved one on a real-time basis, if they're in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Dubya wears his desire to retain troops in service to his war effort on his sleeve here, by explaining his efforts to improve housing and communications as an effort to win over spouses of service members... Wow. Rogers, Arkansas, Oct. 15, 2007
We as a government have a solemn duty to, one, support their families, and two, when they come out as veterans, is to give them what they need — give them what they need, to make sure if they're wounded they can get back on their feet. Give them what they need, if they've got Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, the help, the mental help.
Apparently the Commander-in-Chief hasn't read any medical data regarding combat-related illnesses since the 1980s, which is when Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome was renamed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Rogers, Arkansas, Oct. 15, 2007
I thought an interesting comment was made when somebody said to me, I heard somebody say, now where's Mandela? Well, Mandela's dead, because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas.
This one starts out weird, and never looks back. And at the time of this quote, Nelson Mandela was alive and Saddam Hussein was dead. White House, Sep. 20, 2007
General David Petraeus will be reporting to the Congress along with Ambassador Crocker on Monday and Tuesday. I will then talk about a way forward after their report. I ask the members of Congress to sit back and listen to what we all have to say before they reach the conclusions that they're going to reach.
Dubya asks Congress to do what he arguably hasn't ever done with regard to forming policy, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, Sep. 8, 2007
These extremists hope to impose that same dark vision across the Middle East by raising up a violent and radical caliphate that spans from Spain to Indonesia. So they kill fellow Muslims in places like Algeria and Jordan and Egypt and Saudi Arabia in an attempt to undermine their governments. And they kill Americans because they know we stand in their way. And that is why they attacked U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, and killed sailors aboard the USS Cole in 2001.
Except that they attacked the USS Cole in 2000. You'd think he would know this, given that the attack happened before he became President in January 2001. Reno, Nevada, Aug. 28, 2007
Unlike in Vietnam, if we withdraw before the job is done, this enemy will follow us home. And that is why, for the security of the United States of America, we must defeat them overseas so we do not face them in the United States of America.
The Iraqi insurgents will follow us home, after we leave their country? Sorry, that seems about as far fetched as suggesting that the Viet Cong would have followed us home from Vietnam. Kansas City, Missouri, Aug. 22, 2007
I told you the other day at a press conference — I don't know if you were there or not — but if you don't believe it's in American interests to be there, you won't find any political reconciliation that is — that is worth defending. If you do think it's in our interests, our security interests, then you'll be able to see political reconciliation taking place, some at the top and some at the bottom.
If you believe, then you can see what Dubya sees. Sounds sort of like a cult. Montebello, Canada, Aug. 21, 2007
I think it's very important for us to make it clear to those who are in harm's way that these missions will be driven not by local politics but by conditions on the ground, because success in Afghanistan and Iraq will be an integral part of defeating an enemy and helping people realize the great blessings of liberty as the alternative to an ideology of darkness that spreads its murder to achieve its objectives.
Dubya... making it clear... Camp David, Maryland, Jul. 30, 2007
There are still setbacks, obviously. We've got these suiciders that are trying to foment sectarian violence.
Suiciders make another appearance, Camp David, Maryland, Jul. 30, 2007
The long-term solution for your grandkids' sake is to defeat their ideology of hate with an ideology of light, and that's called liberty and democracy.
Dubya's poor grammar equates grandkids with terrorists, Nashville, Tennessee, Jul. 19, 2007
I suspect — I know this, Ed, that if our troops thought that I was taking a poll to decide how to conduct this war, they would be very concerned about the mission. In other words, if our troops said, well, here we are in combat, and we've got a Commander-in-Chief who is running a focus group — in other words, politics is more important to him than our safety and/or our strategy — that would dispirit our troops. And there's a lot of constituencies in this fight — clearly the American people, who are paying for this, is the major constituency. And I repeat to you, Ed, I understand that there — this violence has affected them. And a lot of people don't think we can win. There's a lot of people in Congress who don't think we can win, as well, and therefore their attitude is, get out. ...A second constituency is the military. And I repeat to you, I'm pretty confident our military do not want their Commander-in-Chief making political decisions about their future. ...Another constituency group that is important for me to talk to is the Iraqis. Obviously, I want the Iraqi government to understand that we expect there to be reconciliation top down, that we want to see laws passed. I think they've got that message. ...And, finally, another constituency is the enemy, who are wondering whether or not America has got the resolve and the determination to stay after them. And so that's what I think about, Ed.
Dubya considers "the enemy" a constituency he must answer to? That's a new one. White House, Jul. 12, 2007
I find it interesting that as this young democracy has taken hold [in Iraq], radicals and extremists kill innocent people to stop its advance.
"Interesting" isn't the description I would have chosen, White House, Jul. 12, 2007
There is a conversion of visions between what Iraqi leaders want, what our partners want and what our friends in the region want, and the vision articulated by my administration, the Iraq Study Group and others here at home.
I'm assuming he was supposed to say "convergence" here, only he didn't... White House, Jul. 12, 2007
I've said this before. I understand that this is an ugly war. It's a war in which an enemy will kill innocent men, women and children in order to achieve a political objective.
I don't think that Dubya can reasonably claim he hasn't been sending innocent men and women to do exactly the same thing, White House, Jul. 12, 2007
The same folks that are bombing innocent people in Iraq were the ones who attacked us in America on September the 11th.
1) No they weren't. 2) Why can't Dubya resist calling terrorists "folks"? White House, Jul. 12, 2007
If we were to allow them to gain control of Iraq, they would have control of a nation with massive oil reserves — which they could use to fund new attacks and exhort economic blackmail on those who didn't kowtow to their wishes.
Dubya comes up with an inventive new use for the word "exhort" here, Martinsburg, West Virginia, Jul. 4, 2007
You can see here on the map, Anbar is a largely Sunni province that accounts for nearly a third of Iraqi territory. It's a big place. Anbar stretches from the outskirts of Baghdad to Iraq's borders with Jordan and Syria. It was al Qaeda's chief base of operations in Iraq. Remember, when I mention al Qaeda, they're the ones who attacked the United States of America and killed nearly 3,000 people on September the 11th, 2001. They're part of the enemy.
And remember, they weren't in Anbar Province, or anywhere in Iraq, until after the U.S. invaded Iraq. Newport, Rhode Island, Jun. 28, 2007
I believe he [Pope Benedict XVI] believes — look, I don't want to put words in his mouth — I hope he believes in the universality of freedom, because I certainly do. In other words, freedom is not just a Western ideal. It's just not the ideal that some people — it's universal in application. I will remind him of my firm belief that freedom is not only universal, but history has proven democracies tend not to war with each other, and that the best way to yield the peace, something I long for, is to help people become free.
By being a democracy that starts war? Yes, that is a sound argument to present the Pope with. White House, Jun. 1, 2007
I firmly believe that in order to protect America we must go on the offense against radicals, extremists, murderers in order to protect not only ourselves, but our allies. And I also realize that we're involved in an ideological struggle, that these murderers, these radicals, these extremists have got a point of view. If you want to find out what their point of view is about, look what happened in Afghanistan under the brutal relationship of the Taliban and al Qaeda. On the one hand, if you're a woman and spoke out, or a woman and tried to advance, you were suppressed, in brutal fashion sometimes. And in the meantime, an enemy that hates America, plotted and planned. And so, look, I understand some people are — may not agree with the decisions I make. But what the American people need to know, I'm making them based upon what's best for this country.
I guess we have to take his word for it, since his explanation of the Taliban and al Qaeda lacked... understandability. Crawford, Texas, May 21, 2007
The stakes are high, really high in Iraq. General Petraeus is beginning to carry out the strategy, yet the Democrat leaders in Congress have chosen this time to try to force a precipitous withdrawal.
Dubya offers another variation on a familiar theme in explaining his veto of the war funding bill passed by the Democratic Congress, Washington, D.C., May 2, 2007
And the definition of success as I described is sectarian violence down. Success is not no violence. There are parts of our own country that have got a certain level of violence to it.
Despite Dubya's puzzling comments, I'm pretty sure that the number of random executions and car bombings in Detroit (or Houston, or Seattle, or Washington, D.C.) is significantly lower than anywhere in Baghdad... Washington, D.C., May 2, 2007
First of all, Petraeus, General Petraeus is an expert on counterinsurgency, and his top priority is to help the Iraqi leaders — who, by the way, were elected by nearly 12 million of their citizens — secure their population.
Dubya opts with "securing their population" instead of what he hopefully meant to say: "provide security for their people". Dubya's version sounds kinda totalitarian. Washington, D.C., May 2, 2007
This is an interesting, different type of war.
I'm astounded by the level of detachment that permits him to term a war of his making "interesting", Washington, D.C., May 2, 2007
The Iraqis are fully staffed, and — and they've got their team in there, but we don't. And so, what Gen. Petraeus is saying — some early signs, still dangerous, but give me — give my chance a plan to work.
I've chosen a path that says we will go overseas and defeat them there. I also know full well that it's important for us if we're facing an ideology, if we're facing ideologues, if we're confronting people who believe something, that we have got to defeat their belief system with a better belief system. Forms of government matter, in my opinion. It matters how — the nature of the government in which people live. And therefore, I have put as part of our foreign policy not only an aggressive plan to find extremists and radicals and bring them to justice before they hurt us, but also to help people live in liberty — free societies, as the great alternative to people living under a tyrant, for example.
I'm confused. What tyrant is the U.S. going against? And how does Dubya explain the lack of liberty in nations friendly to the U.S. like Saudi Arabia and Egypt? Tipp City, Ohio, Apr. 19, 2007
Iran is influential inside of Iraq. They are influential by providing advanced weaponry. They are influential by dealing with some militias, tend to be Shia militias, all aiming to create discomfort, all aiming to kind of — according to some — to create enough discomfort for the United States, but in doing so, they're making it harder for this young democracy to emerge. Isn't it interesting, when you really take a step back and think about what I just said, that al Qaeda is making serious moves in Iraq, as is surrogates for Iran?
It's more frightening than interesting, given that what he just said makes no sense. Tipp City, Ohio, Apr. 19, 2007
If the definition of success in Iraq or anywhere is no suicide bombers, we'll never be successful. We will have handed al Qaeda — that's what it takes in order to determine whether or not these young democracies, for example, can survive. Think about that: if our definition is no more suiciders, you've just basically said to the suiciders, go ahead. ...Yesterday's bombing — we don't have the intel on it. I suspect it's al Qaeda. Al Qaeda convinces the suiciders to show up. Al Qaeda understands the effects of this kind of warfare on the minds of not only people in Iraq, but here — and elsewhere in the world.
Even though he gets the term right at the beginning (suicide bombers), he goes right back to using his favorite made-up word: suiciders. Tipp City, Ohio, Apr. 19, 2007
There are some similarities, of course — death is terrible. Another similarity, of course, is that Vietnam was the first time a war was brought to our TV screens here in America on a regular basis.
On similarities between America's wars in Vietnam and Iraq, Tipp City, Ohio, Apr. 19, 2007
It's now been 64 days since I have requested that Congress pass emergency funding for these troops. We don't have all of them there. About half more are going to head in. We're making some progress. And 64 days ago, I said to the United States Congress, these troops need funding. And instead of proving that vital funding, the Democrat leadership in Congress has spent the past 64 days pushing legislation that would undercut our troops.
It really makes you wonder how he couldn't come up with "providing", although the reference to the "Democrat leadership" is par for the course, Fairfax, Virginia, Apr. 10, 2007
I've also thought about the consequences of failure and what it would mean to the American people. If chaos were to reign in the capital of [Iraq] it could spill out to the rest of the country... In other words, this is a war in which, if we were to leave before the job is done, the enemy would follow us here. That's the lesson of September the 11th.
Except that September the 11th had nothing to do with Iraq, and it seems pretty unlikely that the parties engaged in civil war in Iraq would actually contemplate attacking the U.S. on its own shores. Fort Irwin, California, Apr. 4, 2007
It's in the interest we gain a new ally in the war on terror, in the midst of a part of the world that produced 19 kids that came and killed 3,000 of our citizens.
A few clarifications: 1) None of the 9/11 hijackers have been traced back to Iraq. At least 12 of the 19 came from our ally in the region, Saudi Arabia. 2) Over 500 of the approximately 3000 killed in 9/11 were foreign nationals. I have yet to hear Dubya acknowledge that a large number of friends from around the world were killed in the World Trade Center that day. Fort Irwin, California, Apr. 4, 2007
In the long-term, we must remember that freedom is universal, and the best way to defeat an ideology — and make no mistake about it, these extremists believe things — for example, they don't believe you can worship freely. They don't believe you should speak your mind. They don't believe in dissent. They don't believe in human rights.
I'm puzzled. If they believe in things, why does Dubya only run off a list of things they don't believe in? Fort Irwin, California, Apr. 4, 2007
The failure in Iraq would endanger American security. I have told the American people often it is best to defeat them there so we don't have to face them here, fully recognizing that what happens over there can affect the security here. That's one of the major lessons of September the 11th. In that case, there was safe haven found in a failed state, where killers plotted and planned and trained, and came and killed 3,000 of our citizens. And I vowed we weren't going to let that happen again.
Again, over 500 of the approximately 3000 killed in 9/11 were foreign nationals... not American citizens. White House, Apr. 3, 2007
His early career took him on mapping missions over Alaska, and North Africa, and Latin America. In 1963, he reported to Fort Benning to help lead a new unit that would become known as the Air Calvary.
In Medal of Honor award ceremony, Dubya again fails to recognize the difference between "Calvary" and "Cavalry"... White House, Feb. 26, 2007
Now, let me step back on Iran, itself. We have a comprehensive strategy to deal with Iraq. There's a variety of issues that we have with Iraq.
You would hope that after years of war in Iraq, Dubya would stop interpolating it with Iran in public speeches. White House, Feb. 14, 2007
REPORTER: As you know, a growing number of troops are on their second, third or fourth tour in Iraq. There have been a growing number of reports about declining morale among fighting men. I spoke personally to an infantry commander — tough guy, patriot — who says more and more of the troops are asking, questioning what they're doing here. Does this come as a surprise to you? Are you aware of this? Is it a minority opinion, is it a growing opinion, and does it concern you?
DUBYA: I am — what I hear from commanders is that the place where there is concern is with the family members, that our troops, who have volunteered to serve the country, are willing to go into combat multiple times, but that the concern is with the people on the home front. And I can understand that. And I — and that's one reason I go out of my way to constantly thank the family members.
Well, I'm sure that's enough to erase the concerns over excessive tours of duty. White House, Feb. 14, 2007
I've listened to a lot of voices. People in my administration heard a lot of voices. We weighed every option. I concluded that to step back from the fight in Baghdad would have disastrous consequences for people in America.
You know times are tough when Dubya's advisers start hearing voices, White House, Feb. 14, 2007
A couple of points. One, that I understand the Congress is going to express their opinion, and it's very clear where the Democrats are, and some Republicans; I know that. They didn't like the decision I made. And by the way, that doesn't mean that I think that they're not good, honorable citizens of the country. I just have a different opinion. I considered some of their opinions and felt like it would not lead to a country that could govern itself, sustain itself, and be an ally in the war on terror. One. Secondly, my hope, however, is that this non-binding resolution doesn't try to turn into a binding policy that prevents our troops from doing that which I have asked them to do. That's why I keep reminding people, on the one hand you vote for David Petraeus in a unanimous way, and then the other hand you say that you're not going to fund the strategy that he thought was necessary to do his job, a strategy he testified to in front of the Senate. I'm going to make it very clear to the members of Congress, starting now, that they need to fund our troops and they need to make sure we have the flexibility necessary to get the job done. Secondly, I find it interesting that there is a declaration about a plan that they have not given a chance to work.
Dubya donates a second second comment to the mix, White House, Feb. 14, 2007
REPORTER: Do you believe it's a civil war [in Iraq], sir?
DUBYA: I can only tell you what people on the ground whose judgment — it's hard for me, you know, living in this beautiful White House, to give you a first-hand assessment. I haven't been there. You have. I haven't.
In case you were wondering how detached Dubya is from the realities in Iraq (in the beautiful White House), here is your answer. And I guess Dubya has already forgotten spending Thanksgiving with the troops in 2003. White House, Feb. 14, 2007
Failure — and this is what is hard, I think, for the American people to understand and one of the reasons why I appreciate talking to you is that people have got to understand that if we fail in Iraq, it is likely there will be safe haven from which people will be able to launch attacks from America.
Dubya is experiencing prepositional difficulties... Interview with PBS' Jim Lehrer, Jan. 16, 2007
I don't want people blaming our military. We got a bunch of good military people out there doing what we've asked them to do. And the temptation is gonna find scapegoats. Well, if the people want a scapegoat, they got one right here in me 'cause it's my decisions.
scape·goat, n. "Someone punished for the errors of others." (Source: www.dictionary.com) Doesn't exactly sound like Dubya is owning up to anything here, or exonerating his generals, does it? Interview with CBS News' Scott Pelley, Camp David, Maryland, Jan. 12, 2007
PELLEY: Do you think you owe the Iraqi people an apology for not doing a better job?
DUBYA: That we didn't do a better job or they didn't do a better job?
PELLEY: Well, that the United States did not do a better job in providing security after the invasion.
DUBYA: Not at all. I am proud of the efforts we did. We liberated that country from a tyrant. I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude, and I believe most Iraqis express that. I mean, the people understand that we've endured great sacrifice to help them. That's the problem here in America. They wonder whether or not there is a gratitude level that's significant enough in Iraq.
Wow... Interview with CBS News' Scott Pelley, Camp David, Maryland, Jan. 12, 2007
Last night I also talked about Anbar Province. It's important for the American people to understand al Qaeda still is in Iraq. As a matter of fact, they made it clear their ambitions in Iraq. These are the same folks that came and killed about 3,000 of our citizens. Their goal in Iraq is to topple the government, topple democracy.
Dubya again refers to terrorists as folks. I wonder why he can't stop doing this? Fort Benning, Georgia, Jan. 11, 2007
We've got a lot of really fine troops fighting al Qaeda and we're making progress. There's a lot of pressure on them in Anbar. Interestingly enough, a lot of sheikhs have decided to join in the fight against al Qaeda. They're tired of foreigners and killers in their midst. That's what the commanders have told me. And they believe we have a good opportunity to really crush this group of folks.
Again with the folks... Fort Benning, Georgia, Jan. 11, 2007
I made a statement last night that I had ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. I also talked about Patriot missile systems in the region, to help others deal with the external threats. We will use our full diplomatic resources throughout the Middle East.
Yeah, that last sentence sounds a little less believable considering what preceded it, Fort Benning, Georgia, Jan. 11, 2007
The best way to defeat the totalitarian of hate is with an ideology of hope — an ideology of hate — excuse me — with an ideology of hope.
The correction doesn't fully clarify the original misstatement, but at least he noticed it, I guess... Fort Benning, Georgia, Jan. 11, 2007
I appreciate the Chaplain for the Navy — excuse me, for the Marine Corps. I didn't mean to insult you.
Keeping things classy at a Medal of Honor award ceremony for Marine Corporal Jason Dunham, who jumped on an enemy grenade to protect two other Marines from the impending explosion, and died from his wounds. White House, Jan. 11, 2007
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