Bush Just Too Damn Quick on His Feet
Q: Mr. President, I would like to know why it is that you and others in your administration keep linking 9/11 to the invasion of Iraq when no respected journalist or Middle Eastern expert confirmed that such a link existed.To paraphrase that GOP patron saint of lucid thought, Ronald Reagan, there he goes again...
Bush: What did she -- I missed the question. Sorry. I didn't -- I beg your pardon, I didn't hear you. Seriously.
Q: I would like to know why you and others in your administration invoke 9/11 as justification for the invasion of Iraq --
Bush: Yes --
Q: -- when no respected journalists or other Middle Eastern experts confirm that such a link existed.
Bush: I appreciate that. 9/11 changed my look on foreign policy. I mean, it said that oceans no longer protect us, that we can't take threats for granted; that if we see a threat, we've got to deal with it. It doesn't have to be militarily, necessarily, but we got to deal with it. We can't -- can't just hope for the best anymore.
And so the first decision I made, as you know, was to -- was to deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan because they were harboring terrorists. This is where the terrorists planned and plotted. And the second decision, -- which was a very difficult decision for me, by the way, and it's one that I -- I didn't take lightly -- was that Saddam Hussein was a threat. He is a declared enemy of the United States; he had used weapons of mass destruction; the entire world thought he had weapons of mass destruction. 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.
And so we gave Saddam Hussein the chance to disclose or disarm, and he refused. And I made a tough decision. And knowing what I know today, I'd make the decision again. Removing Saddam Hussein makes this world a better place and America a safer country. (Applause.)
He says “the entire world thought he had weapons of mass destruction” but we all know that’s just flat-out untrue. Hell, there’s a ton of people right here in the United States who had serious doubts – even while being spoon-fed fake intelligence – and that’s the tip of the iceberg compared to the Europeans, many of whom saw no evidence of that at all. And, of course, they turned out to be right.
At least he stopped at saying he went after the Taliban and didn’t actually claim to still be interested in Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Last time I looked, bin Laden was still not accounted for and Al Qaeda is estimated to be in 60 countries – all while we occupy a country that never attacked us.
Nicely done, Mr. President.
Meanwhile, while trying to evade the question – and this is from a vetted audience member – Bush says “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.”
Hmmmm. I’m awfully sure that “extenuated” means to mitigate or lessen the magnitude of something. So is the president saying that the 9/11 attacks lessened the threat of Saddam Hussein, even while we’re implying he had something to do with those attacks? Either that, or our fearless leader tried once again to exceed the limitations of his vocabulary and failed.
I know I’m confused.