In His Own Words
The following transcribed exchange took place on August 21, between President George W. Bush and members of the press.
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Q: A lot of the consequences you mentioned for pulling out seem like maybe they never would have been there if we hadn't gone in. How do you square all of that?
The First Fool: I square it because imagine a world in which you had Saddam Hussein, who had the capacity to make a weapon of mass destruction, who was paying suiciders to kill innocent life, who had relations with Zawqawi.
Imagine what the world would be like with him in power. The idea is to try to help change the middle east.
Now look, part of the reason we went into Iraq was - the main reason we went into Iraq, at the time, was we thought he had weapons of mass destruction. It turns out he didn't, but he had the capacity to make weapons of mass destruction.
But I also talked about the human suffering in Iraq. And I also saw the need to advance a freedom agenda. And my answer to your question is that - Imagine a world in which Saddam Hussein was there, stirring up even more trouble in a part of the world that had so much resentment and so much hatred that people came and killed three thousand of our citizens.
You know, I've heard this theory about, you know, everything was just fine until we arrived, you know, the "stir up the hornet's nest" theory. It just doesn't hold water, as far as I'm concerned.
The terrorists attacked us and killed three thousand of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the middle east. They were....
Q: What did Iraq have to do with that?
The First Fool: What did Iraq have to do with what?
Q: The attacks upon the World Trade Center.
The First Fool: Nothing! Except for it's part of - and nobody's ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack. Iraq was a - Iraq - the lesson of September the 11th is: Take threats before they fully materialize, Ken.
Nobody's ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq. I have suggested, however, that resentment and the lack of hope create the breeding grounds for terrorists who are willing to use suiciders to kill, to achieve an objective. I have made that case.
And one way to defeat that - you know, defeat resentment - is with hope. And the best way to do hope is through a form of government.
Now I said, going into Iraq, "We've got to take these threats seriously before they full materialize". I saw a threat.
I fully believe it was the right decision to remove Saddam Hussein, and I fully believe the world is better off without him. Now the question is: How do we succeed in Iraq?
And you don't succeed by leaving before the mission is complete, like some in this political process are suggesting.
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I offer you the preceding exchange of views without comment. It speaks for itself.
Pray for your country