September 23, 2004


President Bush and Prime Minister Allawi Press Conference (The Rose Garden, 9/23/04)

Yes, NBC man, there -- your name?

Q Gregory, sir.


Q Mr. President, you say today that the work in Iraq is tough and will remain tough. And, yet, you travel this country and a central theme of your campaign is that America is safer because of the invasion of Iraq. Can you understand why Americans may not believe you?

PRESIDENT BUSH: No. Anybody who says that we are safer with Saddam Hussein in power is wrong. We went into Iraq because Saddam Hussein defied the demands of the free world. We went into Iraq after diplomacy had failed. And we went into Iraq because I understand after September the 11th we must take threats seriously, before they come to hurt us.

And I think it's a preposterous claim to say that America would be better off with Saddam Hussein in power. I certainly know that that's the case for America and I certainly know it's the case for the Iraqi people. These are people who were tortured. This good man was abed in a London flat, and he wakes up with two Saddam henchmen there with axes, trying to cut him to pieces with an axe. And, fortunately, he's alive today; fortunately, we call him friend and ally. But he knows what it means to have lived under a society in which a thug like Saddam Hussein would send people with axes to try to kill him in bed in a London flat.

No, this world is better off with Saddam Hussein in prison.

Q Sir, may I just follow, because I don't think you're really answering the question. I mean, I think you're responding to Senator Kerry, but there are beheadings regularly, the insurgent violence continues, and there are no weapons of mass destruction. My question is, can you understand that Americans may not believe you when you say that America is actually safer today?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Imagine a world in which Saddam Hussein were still in power. This is a man who harbored terrorists -- Abu Abbas, Abu Nidal, Zarqawi. This is a man who was a sworn enemy of the United States of America. This is a man who used weapons of mass destruction. Going from tyranny to democracy is hard work, but I think the argument that says that Saddam Hussein -- if Saddam Hussein were still in power, we'd be better off is wrong.

Can you be any clearer and more direct than answering: "No"?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 23, 2004 2:46 PM

Poor Gregory, what he meant to say was, "Why can't you just admit you were wrong about the war in Iraq, apologize for misleading the American people into war and beg Jacques Chirac's forgiveness so I don't get spit on when I vacation in Paris?!"

*sigh* There are none so deaf as those who will not hear.

Posted by: Robert Modean at September 23, 2004 3:16 PM

In case you missed it earlier, I strongly encourage readers to make the time to read the WHOLE text of the conference. PM Allawi makes some extraordinarily good points that will surely never see the light of (MSM) day. Frankly, I'd pay real U$D to see Kerry try to debate the Prime Minister -- but fortunately don't have to because that's effectively what's happening for free from this point forward.

Posted by: John Resnick at September 23, 2004 3:20 PM

Hard to see why the President can't understand the Democratic position that going to Iraq and killing terrorists is making us less safe. The war on terror will be the first in history in which you lose by killing the enemy, and win by not killing them. Why is that position so hard to understand?

Posted by: pj at September 23, 2004 5:30 PM

To be honest, it is very easy for someone to be so worn down by being asked the same question over and over again. A natural human response is to simply agree with the interrogator in the hope it will stop. Of course, by doing that you fall right into the trap.

It is important to be able to step back and analyse what you have done wrong so you can adjust your approach. In many areas I think Bush has failed to do this, hence the delayed reform of the CIA, the abyssmal performance of the Homeland Security department, and several errors of judgment for the occupation of Iraq.

But resolution and being steadfast are also important qualities of a leader. Bush, at least, has that.

Kerry is the exact opposite. Given the preponderance of American strength an disparity between us and the terrorists, perhaps Bush's limitations are more survivable. With Kerry, the fear is that we'll have another Jimmy Carter.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at September 23, 2004 6:37 PM

This Gregory character is pure pond slime. He is obviously trying to make a reputation for himself by confronting the president of the united states. His mindset was obvious. He clearly operates from the liberal point of view that republicans are evil incarnate and it is a heroic act to disrespect them. These people live in a content-free world filled with bumper sticker slogans. I think that this election won't be even close.

Posted by: jerry dodge at September 23, 2004 9:23 PM


Well, with Dan's emminent retirement there'll be openings...

Posted by: mike earl at September 23, 2004 10:33 PM