Wednesday | July 30, 2003
By Steve Gilliard
The President gave a press conference today.
On national security front, it has been 90 days since the end of the major combat operations in Iraq. The nation has been liberated from tyranny and is on the path to self-government and peace. The Iraqi governing council is meeting regularly. Local police forces are now being trained. And citizens are being recruited into a new Iraqi military -- a military that will protect the Iraqi people instead of intimidating them. Soon representatives of the people will begin drafting a new constitution and free elections will follow. After decades of oppression, the people of Iraq are reclaiming their country and are reclaiming their future
Question which should have been asked: If that's the case,, why do ordinary Iraqis express such great frustration with the occupation. Do you really think the CSIS report is right and we only have months to fix Iraq?
We know that Saddam Hussein produced and possessed chemical and biological weapons, and has used chemical weapons. We know that. He also spent years hiding his weapons of mass destruction programs from the world. We now have teams of investigators who are hard at work to uncover the truth.
Question which should have been asked: Where is the proof? There has not been one rocket, shell or missile to prove this statement true.
The success of a free Iraq will also demonstrate to other countries in that region that national prosperity and dignity are found in representative government and free institutions. They are not found in tyranny, resentment, and for support of terrorism. As freedom advances in the Middle East, those societies will be less likely to produce ideologies of hatred and produce recruits for terror.
Question which should have been asked: If that is the case, why are so many contracts being given out without Iraqi participation or comment? Shouldn't Iraqis decide who runs their water system, mobile phones and oil wells?
Q Yes, sir. And with 15 fundraisers scheduled between -- for the summer months, do you worry about the perception that you're unduly attentive to the interests of people who can afford to spend $2,000 to see you?
THE PRESIDENT: Michael, I think American people, now that they've realized I'm going to seek reelection, expect me to seek reelection. They expect me to actually do what candidates do. And so, you're right, I'll be spending some time going out and asking the American people to support me. But most of my time, as I say in my speeches -- as I'm sure you've been bored to tears listening to -- is that there is a time for politics, and that's going to be later on. I've got a lot to do. And I will continue doing my job. And my job will be to work to make America more secure.
Steve asked a question about this al Qaeda possible attack. Every day I am reminded that our nation is still vulnerable. Every day I'm reminded about what 9/11 means to America. That's a lesson, by the way, I'll never forget, the lesson of 9/11, because -- and I remember right after 9/11 saying that this will be a different kind of war, but it's a war, and sometimes there will be action, and sometimes there won't, but we're still threatened. And I see that almost every day, Mike. And therefore, that is a major part of my job.
Question which should have been asked: So why are we cutting the TSA's budget and reducing air marshals?
Q Mr. President, you often speak about the need for accountability in many areas. I wonder then, why is Dr. Condoleezza Rice not being held accountable for the statement that your own White House has acknowledged was a mistake in your State of the Union address regarding Iraq's attempts to purchase uranium? And also, do you take personal responsibility for that inaccuracy?
THE PRESIDENT: I take personal responsibility for everything I say, of course. Absolutely. I also take responsibility for making decisions on war and peace. And I analyzed a thorough body of intelligence -- good, solid, sound intelligence -- that led me to come to the conclusion that it was necessary to remove Saddam Hussein from power.
We gave the world a chance to do it. We had -- remember there's -- again, I don't want to get repetitive here, but it's important to remind everybody that there was 12 resolutions that came out of the United Nations because others recognized the threat of Saddam Hussein. Twelve times the United Nations Security Council passed resolutions in recognition of the threat that he posed. And the difference was, is that some were not willing to act on those resolutions. We were -- along with a lot of other countries -- because he posed a threat.
Dr. Condoleezza Rice is an honest, fabulous person. And America is lucky to have her service. Period.
Question which should have been asked: If that is the case, why are those countries still reluctant to participate in Iraq? Also, that's an odd description of your National Security Advisor. Fabulous? I mean, she missed 9/11, she allowed you to repeat a falsehood in the state of the union and you're defending her like she's your girlfriend. Is anyone ever accountable for their mistakes in your administration?
(Note:Both CNN and MSNBC noted his use of the word fabulous as odd)Posted July 30, 2003 09:58 AM