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George W. Bush on War & Peace

President of the United States, Former Republican Governor (TX)


We're on the offensive in Iraq with a clear plan for victory

We're on the offensive in Iraq, with a clear plan for victory. First, we're helping Iraqis build an inclusive government, so that old resentments will be eased and the insurgency will be marginalized. Second, we're continuing reconstruction efforts and helping the Iraqi government to fight corruption and build a modern economy. And third, we're striking terrorist targets while we train Iraqi forces that are increasingly capable of defeating the enemy. We are proud to be their allies in the cause of freedom.

Our work in Iraq is difficult, because our enemy is brutal. But that brutality has not stopped the dramatic progress of a new democracy. In less than three years, the nation has gone from dictatorship to liberation to sovereignty to a constitution to national elections. At the same time, our coalition has been relentless in shutting off terrorist infiltration, clearing out insurgent strongholds and turning over territory to Iraqi security forces.

Source: 2006 State of the Union Address Jan 31, 2006

Terrorists aim to seize power in Iraq

No one can deny the success of freedom, but some men rage and fight against it. And one of the main sources of reaction and opposition is radical Islam, the perversion by a few of a noble faith into an ideology of terror and death. Terrorists like bin Laden are serious about mass murder, and all of us must take their declared intentions seriously. They seek to impose a heartless system of totalitarian control throughout the Middle East and arm themselves with weapons of mass murder

Their aim is to seize power in Iraq and use it as a safe haven to launch attacks against America and the world. Lacking the military strength to challenge us directly, the terrorists have chosen the weapon of fear. When they murder children at a school in Beslan or blow up commuters in London or behead a bound captive, the terrorists hope these horrors will break our will, allowing the violent to inherit the earth. But they have miscalculated. We love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it.

Source: 2006 State of the Union Address Jan 31, 2006

Terrorists would move the battlefield to our own shores

We cannot find security by abandoning our commitments and retreating within our borders. If we were to leave these vicious attackers alone, they would not leave us alone. They would simply move the battlefield to our own shores. There is no peace in retreat. And there is no honor in retreat. By allowing radical Islam to work its will, by leaving an assaulted world to fend for itself, we would signal to all that we no longer believe in our own ideals or even in our own courage.
Source: 2006 State of the Union Address Jan 31, 2006

Sudden withdrawal from Iraq would abandon our Iraqi allies

Those of us in public office have a duty to speak with candor. A sudden withdrawal of our forces from Iraq would abandon our Iraqi allies to death and prison, would put men like bin Laden and Zarqawi in charge of a strategic country and show that a pledge from America means little. Members of Congress, however we feel about the decisions and debates of the past, our nation has only one option. We must keep our word, defeat our enemies and stand behind the American military in this vital mission.
Source: 2006 State of the Union Address Jan 31, 2006

Hamas must disarm and reject terrorism and work peace

The Palestinian people have voted in elections, and now the leaders of Hamas must recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism and work for lasting peace. Democracies in the Middle East will not look like our own, because they will reflect the traditions of their own citizens. Yet liberty is the future of every nation in the Middle East, because liberty is the right and hope of all humanity.
Source: 2006 State of the Union Address Jan 31, 2006

Confront Iran as terrorism sponsor; hold Syria accountable

To promote peace in the broader Middle East, we must confront regimes that continue to harbor terrorists and pursue weapons of mass murder. Syria still allows its territory, and parts of Lebanon, to be used by terrorists who seek to destroy every chance of peace in the region. [Congress has] passed, and we are applying, the Syrian Accountability Act, and we expect the Syrian government to end all support for terror and open the door to freedom.

Today, Iran remains the world's primary state sponsor of terror, pursuing nuclear weapons while depriving its people of the freedom they seek and deserve. We are working with European allies to make clear to the Iranian regime that it must give up its uranium enrichment program and any plutonium reprocessing and end its support for terror. And to the Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you.

Source: 2005 State of the Union Speech Feb 2, 2005

War on Terror is not about intelligence and law enforcement

KERRY: When Bush had an opportunity to capture or kill bin Laden, he took his focus off of him, outsourced the job to Afghan warlords and bin Laden escaped. Six months after he said bin Laden must be caught dead or alive this president was asked, where's bin Laden? He said, "I don't know. I don't really think about very much. I'm not that concerned." We need a president who stays deadly focused on the real war on terror.

BUSH: I don't think I ever said I'm not worried about bin Laden. That's kind of one of those exaggerations. Of course we're worried about bin Laden. We're on the hunt after bin Laden. We're using every asset at our disposal to get bin Laden. Kerry said this war is a matter of intelligence and law enforcement. No, this is a war as a matter of using every asset at our disposal to keep the American people protected.

Source: [Xref Kerry] Third Bush-Kerry Debate, in Tempe Arizona Oct 13, 2004

Sent a $87 billion bill that gives troops equipment

BUSH: Kerry complains about the fact our troops don't have adequate equipment, yet he voted against the $87 billion supplemental I sent to the Congress, and then issued one of the most amazing quotes in political history: "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." Saddam Hussein was a risk to our country. He was a risk that and this is where we just have a difference of opinion.

KERRY: Not necessarily be in power. But here's what I'll say about the $87 billion. I made a mistake in the way I talk about it; he made a mistake in invading Iraq. Which is a worse decision? Now, I voted the way I voted because I saw that he had the policy wrong and I wanted accountability. I didn't want to give a slush fund to Halliburton. I also thought the wealthiest people in America ought to pay for it, ladies and gentlemen. He wants your kids to pay for it. I wanted us to pay for it, since we're at war. I don't think that's a bad decision.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

I wake up every day thinking about protecting our country

Three days after September 11th, I stood where Americans died, in the ruins of the Twin Towers. Workers in hard hats were shouting to me, "Whatever it takes." A fellow grabbed me by the arm and he said, "Do not let me down." Since that day, I wake up every morning thinking about how to better protect our country. I will never relent in defending America whatever it takes. So we have fought the terrorists across the earth not for pride, not for power, but because the lives of our citizens are at stake
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Acceptance Speech Sep 2, 2004

Confront threats to America before it is too late

We have led, many have joined, and America and the world are safer. This progress involved careful diplomacy, clear moral purpose, and some tough decisions. The toughest came on Iraq. We knew Saddam Hussein's record of aggression and support for terror. We knew his long history of pursuing, even using, weapons of mass destruction. And we know that September 11th requires our country to think differently: We must, and we will, confront threats to America before it is too late.
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Acceptance Speech Sep 2, 2004

Will defend America every time

After more than a decade of diplomacy, we gave Saddam Hussein another chance, a final chance, to meet his responsibilities to the civilized world. He again refused, and I faced the kind of decision that comes only to the Oval Office a decision no president would ask for, but must be prepared to make. Do I forget the lessons of September 11th and take the word of a madman, or do I take action to defend our country? Faced with that choice, I will defend America every time.
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Acceptance Speech Sep 2, 2004

Freedom is the greatest fear of the terrorists

Others understand the historic importance of our work. The terrorists know. They know that a vibrant, successful democracy at the heart of the Middle East will discredit their radical ideology of hate. They know that men and women with hope, and purpose, and dignity do not strap bombs on their bodies and kill the innocent. The terrorists are fighting freedom with all their cunning and cruelty because freedom is their greatest fear and they should be afraid, because freedom is on the march.
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Acceptance Speech Sep 2, 2004

During Vietnam, did not protest, & counseled supporting war

At Yale, Bush was neither politically active nor introspective. While unrest over Vietnam was beginning to spread, Yale was still relatively untouched by it. "I don't remember us talking much about the morality of the war," a roommate said. Another said Bush "believed that his father's position was correct-we're involved so we should support the national effort rather than protest it." A third said, "I told him I was thinking about going to Canada [to avoid the draft] & he said, "That's irresponsible.'"

As president, Bush would look back at Vietnam as an example of how not wage war. If a war was worth fighting, it had to be to win, Bush would say. He called Vietnam a "politicians' war," one where the politicians made military decisions.

But at Yale, he was acutely aware that anything he did or said could harm his father's political career. "George didn't have that luxury [of engaging in protest]," Laura Bush would later say. "He really didn't. He was absolutely devoted to his father."

Source: A Matter of Character, by Ronald Kessler, p. 29 Aug 5, 2004

Bush Doctrine: harboring terrorists treated as terrorism

In a speech in 1999, he had said that those who sponsored terrorism or attacks on the US could expect a "devastating" response. [In Bush's televised speech on 9/11]. the final sentence read: "We will make no distinction between those who planned these acts and those who harbors them."

By using the broader term "harbor," Bush had not only expanded the definition of the enemy, he shifted the burden of proof of the United States would use in going after those who support terrorism. Instead of having to show that another country was aware of and permitted terrorists to operate within its borders, the US would now use military force or apply diplomatic pressure on countries simply because terrorists lived there. The declaration became known as the Bush Doctrine. It was a sea change in foreign policy, one that would make all the difference in the war on terror.

Source: A Matter of Character, by Ronald Kessler, p.147-48 Aug 5, 2004


George W. Bush on Afghanistan

FactCheck: Bush DID say he was not concerned about Osama

KERRY: Six months after he said Osama bin Laden must be caught dead or alive, this president was asked, "Where is Osama bin Laden?" He said, "I don't know. I don't really think about him very much. I'm not that concerned."

BUSH: Bush: Gosh, I just don' think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those exaggerations.

FACT CHECK: Bush stumbled when he denied making some remarks about Osama bin Laden that Kerry had accurately paraphrased. In fact, Bush said almost exactly what Kerry quoted him as saying. It was in a news conference at the White House on March 13, 2002, after US forces had overturned the Taliban regime in Afghanistan:

Q: (March 13, 2002): Mr. President, in your speeches now you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that?

BUSH: So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him , to be honest with you. I truly am not that concerned about him. I was concerned about him, when he had taken over a country.

Source: Analysis of Third Bush-Kerry debate (FactCheck.org) Oct 14, 2004

FactCheck: new al Qaeda recruits reduce 75% capture figure

BUSH: 75 percent of al Qaeda leaders have been brought to justice.

FACT CHECK: As The Associated Press reported Oct. 1, Bush was referring to the deaths or arrests of 75 percent of bin Laden's network at the time of the September 11 attacks- not those who are running the terrorist organization today. The AP also reported that the CIA said earlier in the year two-thirds of those leaders are gone; at his acceptance speech in September, Bush increased his count to three-fourths based on unreleased intelligence data. Furthermore, the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies reported May 25 that the occupation of Iraq has helped al Qaeda recruit more members. The institute quoted "conservative" intelligence estimates as saying that al Qaeda has 18,000 potential operatives and is present in more than 60 countries.

Source: Analysis of first Bush-Kerry debate (FactCheck.org) Oct 1, 2004

Busted the A.Q. Khan network and convinced Libya to disarm

We busted the A.Q. Khan network. This was a proliferator out of Pakistan that was selling secrets to places like North Korea and Libya. We convinced Libya to disarm. It's a central part of dealing with weapons of mass destruction and proliferation.
Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

Increased spending by $15B to fight terrorism

President Bush's budget proposed $379.9 billion for the Department of Defense, increasing defense spending by $15.3 billion. The budget fully reflects the Bush Administration's defense strategy, which calls for a focus on countering 21st century threats such as terrorism. The United States must strengthen its defenses to protect the nation's interests and to assure a leading role in global affairs.
Source: Campaign website, www.georgewbush.com Aug 30, 2003

Afghanistan was a "different type of war"

In October 2001, some war cabinet members read a news analysis in the NY Times: "Could Afghanistan become another Vietnam? Is the US facing another stalemate on the other side of the world? Premature the questions may be, three weeks after the fighting began. Unreasonable they are not."

Bush expressed his pique at the media. "They don't get it," the president said. "How many times do you have to tell them it's going to be a different type of war? And they don't believe it. They're looking for the conventional approach. That's not what they're going to see here. I've talked about patience. It's amazing how quickly people forget what you say, at least here in Washington." The quagmire stories made little sense to him. They had a good plan. They had agreed to it. "Why would we start second-guessing it this early into the plan?"

In a later interview, Bush recalled dealing with "the scenario where we may need to put 55,000 troops in there" [if the original Northern Alliance plan had failed].

Source: Bush At War, by Bob Woodward, adapted in Washington Post Nov 18, 2002

Afghanistan model-successful plan first-used for Iraq

His blueprint for decision making in any war against Iraq, Bush told me, could be found in the story of the first months of the war in Afghanistan and the largely invisible CIA covert war against terrorism worldwide. It was all there if it was pieced together-what he had learned, how he had settled into the presidency, his focus on large goals, how he made decisions, why he provoked his war cabinet and pressured people for action.

At first, this remark seemed to suggest he was leaning toward an attack on Iraq. Earlier, however, he had said, "I'm the kind of person that wants to make sure that all risk is assessed. But a president is constantly analyzing, making decisions based upon risk taken relative to what can be achieved." What he wanted to achieve seemed clear: He wanted Saddam Hussein out.

Bush added that he had not yet seen a successful plan for Iraq, he said. He had to be careful and patient. "A president," he added, "likes to have a military plan that will be successful."

Source: Bush At War, by Bob Woodward, adapted in Washington Post Nov 18, 2002

Homeland security focus: bioterror; airports; intelligence

America is no longer protected by vast oceans. We are protected from attack only by vigorous action abroad and increased vigilance at home.

My budget nearly doubles funding for a sustained strategy of homeland security, focused on four key areas: bioterrorism, emergency response, airport and border security, and improved intelligence.

We will develop vaccines to fight anthrax and other deadly diseases. We’ll increase funding to help states and communities train and equip our heroic police and firefighters.

We will improve intelligence collection and sharing, expand patrols at our borders, strengthen the security of air travel, and use technology to track the arrivals and departures of visitors to the US.

Homeland security will make America not only stronger but in many ways better. Knowledge gained from bioterrorism research will improve public health. Stronger police and fire departments will mean safer neighborhoods. Stricter border enforcement will help combat illegal drugs.

Source: State of the Union speech to joint session of Congress Jan 29, 2002


George W. Bush on Iraq

Guard eager to go to Iraq-relief will come from Iraqi troops

Q: What would you do about holding National Guard and Reservists for repeated call-ups?

KERRY: I've proposed adding two active-duty divisions to the armed forces -- one combat, one support. I'm going to double the number of Special Forces so that we can fight a more effective war with less pressure on the National Guard and Reserve. And what I would like to do is see the National Guard and Reserve be deployed differently. There's much we can do with them with respect to homeland security.

BUSH: The best way to take the pressure off our troops is to train Iraqis to give them a chance to defend their country. We'll have 125,000 troops trained by the end of this year. I remember going to say thanks to the reservists and Guard that were headed overseas. Some of them had been there before. The people I talked to their spirits were high. They didn't view their service as a back-door draft. They viewed their service as an opportunity to serve their country.

Source: [Xref Kerry] Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ Oct 13, 2004

Saddam was a unique threat because of the potential WMD

After 9/11, we had to recognize that when we saw a threat, we must take it seriously before it comes to hurt us. In the old days we'd see a threat and we could deal with it if we felt like it, or not. But 9/11 changed it all. I vowed to our countrymen that I would do everything I could to protect the American people. That's why we're bringing al Qaeda to justice; 75 percent of them have been brought to justice. That's why I said to Afghanistan, if you harbor a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorist. And the Taliban is no longer in power, and al Qaeda no longer has a place to plan. And I saw a unique threat in Saddam Hussein, as did my opponent, because we thought he had weapons of mass destruction. And the unique threat was that he could give weapons of mass destruction to an organization like al Qaeda, and the harm they inflicted on us with airplanes would be multiplied greatly by weapons of mass destruction. And that was the serious, serious threat.
Source: Second Bush-Kerry debate, St. Louis, MO Oct 8, 2004

Saddam wanted to restart his weapons programs

BUSH: I went to the UN. But as we learned in [the Iraq Survey Group Report], Saddam was gaming the oil-for-food program to get rid of sanctions. He was trying to get rid of sanctions for a reason. He wanted to restart his weapons programs. We all thought there was weapons there. Kerry called him a grave threat. I wasn't happy when we found out there wasn't weapons, and we've got an intelligence group together to figure out why.

KERRY: I've never changed my mind about Iraq. I always believed Saddam was a threat. I wanted to give Clinton the power to use force if necessary. But I would've used that force wisely, not rush to war without a plan to win the peace. I would've brought our allies to our side. I would've fought to make certain our troops had everybody possible to help them win the mission. Bush rushed to war, pushed our allies aside, and Iran now is more dangerous, and so is North Korea, with nuclear weapons. He took his eye off the ball, off of bin Laden.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry debate, St. Louis, MO Oct 8, 2004

UN sanctions were not effective at removing Saddam

BUSH: Kerry said that America must pass a global test before we use force to protect ourselves. That's the kind of mindset that says sanctions were working. That's the kind of mindset that said let's keep it at the UN and hope things go well. Saddam was a threat because he could have given weapons of mass destruction to terrorist enemies. Sanctions were not working. The UN was not effective at removing Saddam.

KERRY: The goal of the sanctions was not to remove Saddam. It was to remove the weapons of mass destruction. And, Mr. President, just yesterday the Duelfer report told you and the whole world they worked. He didn't have weapons of mass destruction, Mr. President. That was the objective. And if we'd used smart diplomacy, we could have saved $200 billion and an invasion of Iraq, and right now Osama bin Laden might be in jail or dead. That's the war against terror.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry debate, St. Louis, MO Oct 8, 2004

Had the right plan with the right troops level invading Iraq

BUSH: I remember going down to the basement of the White House the day we committed our troops, as last resort, looking at Tommy Franks and the generals on the ground, asking them do we have the right plan with the right troops level? And they looked me in the eye and said, yes, sir, Mr. President. Of course I listened to our generals. A president sets the strategy and relies upon good military people to execute that strategy.

KERRY: You rely on good military people to execute the military component of the strategy, but winning the peace is larger than just the military component. General Shinseki had the wisdom to say you're going to need several hundred thousand troops to win the peace. Military's job is to win the war. Bush's job is to win the peace. Bush did not do what was necessary. Didn't bring in enough nations, didn't deliver the help, didn't close off the borders, didn't even guard the ammo dumps. And now our kids are being killed with ammos right out of that dump.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry debate, St. Louis, MO Oct 8, 2004

FactCheck: Kerry never claimed he'd withdraw in 6 months

BUSH: I know putting artificial deadlines won't work. My opponent at one time said, "Well, get me elected, I'll have them out of there in six months." You can't do that and expect to win the war on terror.

KERRY: I want to correct the president, because he's misled again on what I've said. I didn't say I would bring troops out in six months. I said, if we do the things that I've set out and we are successful, we could begin to draw the troops down in six months.

FACT CHECK: The President misquoted Kerry's position on how quickly troops might be withdrawn from Iraq. What Kerry actually said was that he believed he could "significantly reduce" US troop levels in Iraq within six months of taking office-not at all the same thing as having all troops "out of there." Kerry's remark was on NPR on Aug 6:

KERRY: I believe that within a year from now, we could significantly reduce American forces in Iraq, and that's my plan. I believe we can. Absolutely we can reduce the numbers. You bet.

Source: Analysis of first Bush-Kerry debate (FactCheck.org) Oct 1, 2004

Went to the UN hoping the world would listen to our demands

The world is better off without Saddam Hussein. I was hoping diplomacy would work. I understand the serious consequences of committing our troops into harm's way. It's the hardest decision a president makes. So I went to the UN. I went there hoping that, once and for all, the free world would act in concert to get Saddam Hussein to listen to our demands. They passed the resolution that said, Disclose, disarm, or face serious consequences. When an international body speaks, it must mean what it says.
Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

Saddam Hussein was systematically deceiving the inspectors

Saddam Hussein had no intention of disarming. He had 16 other resolutions and nothing took place. As a matter of fact, my opponent talks about inspectors. The facts are that he was systematically deceiving the inspectors. That wasn't going to work. That's kind of a pre-September 10th mentality, the hope that somehow resolutions and failed inspections would make this world a more peaceful place. He was hoping we'd turn away. But there was fortunately others who believed that we ought to take action.
Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

The front on the war on terror is more than just one place

The front on this war is more than just one place. The Philippines - we're helping them there to bring Al Qaida affiliates to justice there. And, of course, Iraq is a central part in the war on terror. That's why Zarqawi and his people are trying to fight us. Their hope is that we grow weary and we leave. The biggest disaster that could happen is that we not succeed in Iraq. We will succeed. We've got a plan to do so. We'll succeed because the Iraqis want to be free.
Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

Start bringing troops home when Iraq is stable and free

The best way for Iraq to be safe and secure is for Iraqi citizens to be trained to do the job. And that's what we're doing. We've got 100,000 trained now, 125,000 by the end of this year, 200,000 by the end of next year. That is the best way. We'll never succeed in Iraq if the Iraqi citizens do not want to take matters into their own hands to protect themselves. The best indication about when we can bring our troops home - which I really want to do, but I don't want to do so for the sake of bringing them home; I want to do so because we've achieved an objective - is to see the Iraqis perform and to see the Iraqis step up and take responsibility. When our general is on the ground and Ambassador Negroponte tells me that Iraq is ready to defend herself from these terrorists, that elections will have been held by then, that their stability and that they're on their way to, you know, a nation that's free; that's when we will start bringing our troops home. But I know putting artificial deadlines won't work.
Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

A free Iraq is essential for the security of America

BUSH: A free Iraq will be an ally in the war on terror, and that's essential. A free Iraq will set a powerful example in a part of the world that is desperate for freedom. A free Iraq will help secure Israel. A free Iraq will enforce the hopes and aspirations of the reformers in places like Iran. A free Iraq is essential for the security of this country.

KERRY: The other day in Wisconsin, a couple of young returnees were in the line, one active duty, one from the Guard. And they both looked at me and said: We need you. You've got to help us over there. Bush's father did not go into Iraq, into Baghdad, beyond Basra. And the reason he didn't is, he said - he wrote in his book - because there was no viable exit strategy. And he said our troops would be occupiers in a bitterly hostile land. The only building that was guarded when the troops when into Baghdad was the oil ministry. We didn't guard the nuclear facilities. We didn't guard the foreign office.

Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

Allocated $7 billion over months for reconstruction efforts

BUSH: We're training Iraqi soldiers so they can do the hard work. And it's not only just America, but NATO is now helping, Jordan's helping train police, UAE is helping train police. We've allocated $7 billion over the next months for reconstruction efforts. There's going to be a summit of the Arab nations. Japan will be hosting a summit.

KERRY: You can't tell me that that we have a genuine coalition when the most troops any other country has on the ground is Great Britain, with 8,300, and below that the four others are below 4,000, and below that, there isn't anybody out of the hundreds. You can't tell me that on the day that we went into that war and it started - it was principally the US, Great Britain and one or two others. That's it. Today, we are 90% of the casualties and 90% of the costs. Meanwhile, North Korea has got nuclear weapons. Talk about mixed messages. Bush is the one that said, "We can't allow countries to get nuclear weapons." They have. I'll change that.

Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

Calls on UN to do more in Iraq

Since the last meeting of this General Assembly, the people of Iraq have regained sovereignty. The UN, and its member nations, must respond to Prime Minister Allawi's request, and do more to help build an Iraq that is secure, democratic, federal, & free.

A democratic Iraq has ruthless enemies, because terrorists know the stakes in that country. They know that a free Iraq in the heart of the Middle East will be a decisive blow against their ambitions for that region. So a terrorists group associated with al Qaeda is now one of the main groups killing the innocent in Iraq today-conducting a campaign of bombings against civilians, and the beheadings of bound men. Coalition forces now serving in Iraq are confronting the terrorists and foreign fighters, so peaceful nations around the world will never have to face them within our own borders.

Source: Address to the United Nations General Assembly Sep 21, 2004

Deny terrorists a base of operation in Iraq

The return of tyranny to Iraq would be an unprecedented terrorist victory and a cause for killers to rejoice. It would also embolden the terrorists, leading to more murders of the innocent around the world. The rise of a free and self-governing Iraq will deny terrorists a base of operation, discredit their narrow ideology and give momentum to reformers across the region. This will be a decisive blow to terrorism at the heart of its power, and a victory for the security of America and the civilized world.
Source: Speech on Iraq at Army War College May 24, 2004

Saddam loyalists have joined with foreign terrorists

The swift removal of Saddam Hussein's regime last spring had an unintended effect. Instead of being killed or captured on the battlefield, some of Saddam's elite guards shed their uniforms and melted into the civilian population. These elements of Saddam's repressive regime and secret police have reorganized, rearmed and adopted sophisticated terrorist tactics. They've linked up with foreign fighters and terrorists.

These groups and individuals have conflicting ambitions, but they share a goal: They hope to wear out the patience of Americans, our coalition and Iraqis before the arrival of effective self-government and before Iraqis have the capability to defend their freedom. Iraq now faces a critical moment. As the Iraqi people move closer to governing themselves the terrorists are likely to become more active and more brutal. There are difficult days ahead. Yet our coalition is strong. Our efforts are focused and unrelenting. And no power of the enemy will stop Iraq's progress.

Source: Speech on Iraq at Army War College May 24, 2004

We're constructing democracy; terrorists can only destroy

Helping construct a stable democracy after decades of dictatorship is a massive undertaking. Yet we have a great advantage. Whenever people are given a choice in the matter, they prefer lives of freedom to lives of fear. Our enemies in Iraq are good at filling hospitals, but they don't build any. The can incite men to murder and suicide but they cannot inspire men to live and hope and add to the progress of their country.

The terrorists only influence is violence and their only agenda is death. Our agenda in contrast is freedom and independence, security and prosperity for the Iraqi people. And by removing a source of terrorist violence and instability in the Middle East we also make our own country more secure. Our coalition has a clear goal understood by all. To see the Iraqi people in charge of Iraq for the first time in generations.

Source: Speech on Iraq at Army War College May 24, 2004

Request of $25 billion for war just the beginning

The White House asked Congress for an additional $25 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "While we do not know the precise costs for operations next year, recent developments on the ground and increased demands on our troops indicate the need to plan for contingencies. We must make sure there is no disruption in funding and resources for our troops." The White House conceded yesterday that the $25 billion it is seeking is likely to be only the first installment.
Source: Jonathan Weisman, Washington Post May 10, 2004

$389M in 2002-2003 for CIA to overthrow Saddam

[The CIA] worked on a new Top Secret intelligence order for regime change in Iraq that Bush signed on Feb. 16, 2002. It directed the CIA to support the US military in overthrowing Hussein and granted authority to support opposition groups and conduct sabotage operations inside Iraq. The cost was set at $200 million a year for two years. After some disputes in Congress, the budget was cut to $189 million for the first year.

In March 2002, [CIA director George] Tenet met secretly with two Kurdish leaders who would be critical to covert action inside Iraq. Tenet had one message: The US was serious, the military and the CIA were coming. Bush meant what he said. It was a new era. Hussein was going down.

When Tenet took problems to Bush, the president asked, Well, what's a solution? How do you take the next step? It was a new ethos for the intelligence business. Suddenly there seemed to be no penalty for taking risks and making mistakes.

Source: Plan of Attack, by Bob Woodward, adapted in Washington Post Apr 19, 2004

Saddam a "madman" who could make WMDs

Bush said the war in Iraq was justified because Saddam Hussein could have made weapons of mass destruction. "Saddam Hussein was dangerous, and I'm not just going to leave him in power and trust a madman. "He's a dangerous man. He had the ability to make weapons at the very minimum."
Source: Dana Milbank, Washington Post Feb 8, 2004

We've already internationalized the war in Iraq

Some critics have said our duties in Iraq must be internationalized. This particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners in Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Spain, and the [27] other countries that have committed troops to Iraq. We must never ignore the vital contributions of our international partners or dismiss their sacrifices. From the beginning, America has sought international support for our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we have gained much support.
Source: 2004 State of the Union address to joint session of Congress Jan 20, 2004

We haven't come this far to falter unfinished

As we gather tonight, hundreds of thousands of American service men and women are deployed across the world in the war on terror. By bringing hope to the oppressed and delivering justice to the violent, they are making America more secure.

We have faced serious challenges together, and now we face a choice: We can go forward with confidence and resolve, or we can turn back to the dangerous illusion that terrorists are not plotting and outlaw regimes are no threat to us. We can press on with economic growth and reforms in education and Medicare, or we can turn back to old policies and old divisions.

We've not come all this way, through tragedy and trial and war, only to falter and leave our work unfinished. Americans are rising to the tasks of history, and they expect the same from us. In their efforts, their enterprise and their character, the American people are showing that the state of our union is confident and strong.

Source: 2004 State of the Union address to joint session of Congress Jan 20, 2004

Saddam had WMD-related program activities

Some did not support the liberation of Iraq. Objections to war often come from principled motives. But let us be candid about the consequences of leaving Saddam Hussein in power. We're seeking all the facts. Already, the Kay report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the UN.

Had we failed to act, the dictator's weapons of mass destruction programs would continue to this day. Had we failed to act, Security Council resolutions on Iraq would have been revealed as empty threats, weakening the UN and encouraging defiance by dictators around the world. Iraq's torture chambers would still be filled with victims-terrified and innocent. The killing fields of Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of men and women and children vanished into the sands, would still be known only to the killers. For all who love freedom and peace, the world without Saddam Hussein's regime is a better and safer place.

Source: 2004 State of the Union address to joint session of Congress Jan 20, 2004

France, Germany, Russia excluded from Iraq contracts

President Bush stood firm in the face of the international furor that began with the publication of a Pentagon memo that included France, Germany, Russia, and Canada on a list of countries ineligible to bid on prime Iraqi reconstruction contracts. [Bush said,] "Men and women from the US and other countries, in a broad coalition, risked their lives to free Iraq. And the expenditure of US dollars will reflect the fact that US troops and other troops risked their life." The president suggested that those countries might be able to change their status by joining the coalition, saying, "We want to work with all countries. We welcome contributions, we welcome people's willingness to participate in this difficult, yet important job of rebuilding Iraq." Bush responded to a question of whether troop deployments or forgiveness of debt would be qualifications for participation by saying, "It would be a significant contribution, for which we would be very grateful."
Source: Jeff Gannon, Talon News, on GOPusa.com Dec 15, 2003

Saddam captured: War on terror is a different kind of war

I have a message for the Iraqi people: You will not have to fear the rule of Saddam Hussein ever again. All Iraqis who take the side of freedom have taken the winning side. The goals of our coalition are the same as your goals-sovereignty for your country, dignity for your great culture, and for every Iraqi citizen, the opportunity for a better life. I also have a message for all Americans: The capture of Saddam Hussein does not mean the end of violence in Iraq. We still face terrorists who would rather go on killing the innocent than accept the rise of liberty in the heart of the Middle East. Such men are a direct threat to the American people, and they will be defeated. We've come to this moment through patience and resolve and focused action. And that is our strategy moving forward. The war on terror is a different kind of war, waged capture by capture, cell by cell, and victory by victory. Our security is assured by our perseverance and by our sure belief in the success of liberty.
Source: Address to the nation on the capture of Saddam Hussein Dec 14, 2003

Conflict with Iraq dominated war against terror

Even on the day of 9/11-as Osama bin Laden was becoming a household name in America-there were suggestions from some quarters to seek "state sponsorship" and to name Saddam Hussein as the real culprit behind the terrorists. Hostile, aggressive, stymied- but still striving to pursue his grand transformation of the region-Saddam was unfinished business, a rogue leader who had defied the international community and had made no secret of his support for various anti-Israeli terrorists over the years. Some kind of connection to the perpetrators of 9/11 certainly sounded plausible, and at the minimum Saddam posed a continuing challenge to the US.

Although the administration did not at the time conclusively establish Saddam's complicity, over the next eighteen months looming conflict with Iraq came to dominate the war against terror. Arguments and evidence would be presented; the case taken to Congress, the US and the American people. And ultimately the US would act.

Source: Winning Modern Wars, by Wesley Clark, chapter 1 Oct 26, 2003

Seeking $87B and UN Aid for Iraqi War Effort

President Bush said he would ask Congress for an additional $87 billion in emergency spending for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that Iraq had now become "the central front" in the campaign against terrorism. Bush left open-ended how long US troops would remain in Iraq and how much the conflict and occupation would ultimately cost. "We will do what is necessary, we will spend what is necessary, to achieve this essential victory in the war on terror, to promote freedom, and to make our own nation more secure," Bush said.

The president also said he would ask the United Nations for additional international troops for Iraq. Bush's appeal was a recognition that the administration cannot unilaterally maintain its current level of 181,000 American troops in both Iraq and neighboring Kuwait.

The $87 billion request for the next fiscal year would add to the amount that Congress approved in a $79 billion bill last spring to pay the war costs.

Source: Elisabeth Bumiller, NY Times Sep 7, 2003

Defeating terrorists in Iraq will require time and sacrifice

In a nationally televised address, Bush said defeating terrorists in Iraq "will take time, and require sacrifice." Bush continued, "Our strategy in Iraq has 3 objectives: destroying the terrorists, enlisting the support of other nations, & helping Iraqis assume responsibility for their own defense."

In his 18-minute speech, Bush did not mention Osama bin Laden, who has eluded capture in Afghanistan. He also did not mention the failure to find any unconventional weapons in Iraq, the major stated reason that the US went to war. Nor did Bush dwell on the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, which he predicted would abate if Saddam Hussein was ousted from power. That conflict has worsened.

This was Bush's first extended address about Iraq since he declared an end to major combat operations on May 1. He was more triumphal then, asserting that "the US and our allies have prevailed." But 149 Americans have died in Iraq since then, compared with the 138 in the invasion itself.

Source: Elisabeth Bumiller, NY Times Sep 7, 2003

"Axis of Evil" links Saddam with 9/11

The pursuit of stability in the Middle East had brought chaos and slaughter to New York and Washington. Bush decided that the US was no longer a status-quo power in the Middle East. He wanted to see plans for overthrowing Saddam, and he wanted a speech that explained to the world why Iraq's dictator must go.

Bush needed something to assert, something that made clear that Sept. 11 & Saddam Hussein were linked after all and that for the safety of the world, Saddam must be defeated rather than deterred.

The more I though about it [as speechwriter], the more the relationship between the terror states resembled the Tokyo-Rome-Berlin Axis. The Axis powers disliked and distrusted one another, but shared resentment of the West and contempt for democracy. [Now], much as they quarreled with each other, Iraq, Iran, and al-Qaida shared beliefs.

Bush edited the speech [and settled on the term "Axis of Evil."]. He understood all its implications. He backed them with all the power of his presidency.

Source: The Right Man, by David Frum, p.231-38 Jun 1, 2003

Bush to Arab World: terrorism must stop, or else

The war on terror, Bush told the United Nations, would not end in Afghanistan. There would be no more tolerance for the corrupt side arrangements that many Islamic governments had made with terror. And terror did not become more tolerable when it targeted Israelis rather than Americans.

"We must unit in opposing all terrorists, not just some of them. There is no such thing as a good terrorist. No national aspiration, no remembered wrong, can ever justify the deliberate murder of the innocent. Any government that rejects this principle, trying to pick and choose its terrorist friends, will know the consequences."

Everyone understood who the governments were that rejected Bush's principle: They included the greater part of the governments of the Arab world, including many of America's traditional Arab allies. For 30 years, the UN had been the playpen of these Arab states. Bush delivered an ultimatum to the Arab world: The terrorism must stop-or else.

Source: The Right Man, by David Frum, p.173-74 Jun 1, 2003

UN founded to fight threats like Saddam and 9/11

Our principles & our security are challenged today by outlaw groups & regimes that accept no law of morality and have no limit to their violent ambitions. In the attacks on America a year ago, we saw the destructive intentions of our enemies. Our greates fear is that terrorists will find a shortcut to their mad ambitions when an outlaw regime supplies them with the technologies to kill on a massive scale.

In one place-in one regime-we find all these dangers, in their most lethal and aggressive forms, exactly the kind of aggressive threat the UN was born to confront.

If Iraq's regime defies us again, the world must move deliberately, decisively to hold Iraq to account. We will work with the UN Security Council for the necessary resolutions. But the purposes of the US should not be doubted. The Security Council resolutions will be enforced-the just demands of peace and security will be met-or action will be unavoidable. And a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power.

Source: Address to the United Nations General Assembly Sep 12, 2002

Fight freedom’s fight against Axis of Evil

States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. The price of indifference would be catastrophic. We can’t stop short. History has called America and our allies to action, and it is both our responsibility and our privilege to fight freedom’s fight.
Source: State of the Union speech to joint session of Congress Jan 29, 2002


George W. Bush on Iraq Criticism

FactCheck: Yes, Bush gave 23 different rationales for war

KERRY-EDWARDS CLAIM:"By one count, the president offered 23 different rationales for this war."

CNN FACT CHECK:The source for this count was a Devon Largio, a University of Illinois college senior, who addressed the topic in her senior thesis. A Kerry campaign spokesman initially described this paper as a "doctoral dissertation." The implication in Kerry's speech was that Bush gave 23 different rationales for war, but some of the rationales listed in this student paper are somewhat repetitive- for example "prevent[ing] the proliferation of WMD" and "the lack of inspections" both deal with the threat of WMDs. Largio also lists "the desire to remove the Hussein regime" and "the fact that Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator" as separate, discrete rationales. Largio graduated in spring 2004, and now is a law student at Vanderbilt University. The Bush campaign responds to the charge by saying there were indeed many reasons to go to war, including the threat of WMDs.

Source: CNN FactCheck on statements by Bush and Kerry: Oct 29, 2004

FactCheck: Yes, troops had inadequate body armor

KERRY-EDWARDS CLAIM:"You don't send troops to war without the body armor that they need."

CNN FACT CHECK:After frequent criticism that he voted against body armor, Kerry accused Bush of not providing enough body armor for troops. Army Gen. John Abizaid, chief of the US Central Command, told a congressional committee on Sept. 24, 2003, that there was not enough of the best-grade body armor to equip all the troops in Iraq at the start of the war. However, as Republicans often point out, Kerry voted against Bush's $87 billion Iraq/Afghanistan reconstruction bill in 2003, which included a $300 million request for state-of-the-art body armor for troops in Iraq. There were no up-or-down votes on funding specific pieces of equipment, so Kerry did not specifically cast a vote against body armor. Kerry did support a Democratic alternative reconstruction bill (which also included body armor funding) that would have temporarily rolled back Bush's tax cuts for those making $400,000 or more annually.

Source: CNN FactCheck on statements by Bush and Kerry: Oct 29, 2004

Bush rejected NATO's suggestion to help training in Iraq

KERRY: Two weeks ago, there was a meeting of the North Atlantic Council, which is the political arm of NATO. They discussed the possibility of a small training unit or having a total takeover of the training in Iraq. Did the Bush administration push for the total training of Iraq? No. Were they silent? Yes. Was there an effort to bring all the allies together around that? No. Because they've always wanted this to be an American effort. They even have the Defense Department issue a memorandum saying don't bother applying for assistance or for being part of the reconstruction if you weren't part of our original coalition.

BUSH: Two days ago I met with the finance minister from Iraq. He came to see me and talked about how optimistic he was and the country was about heading toward elections. My opponent says he has a plan. It sounds familiar because it's called the Bush plan. We're going to train troops, and we are. We'll have 125,000 trained by the end of December. We're spending about $7 billion.

Source: [X-ref Kerry] Second Bush-Kerry debate, St. Louis, MO Oct 8, 2004

Other nations will not risk troops in a war called a mistake

BUSH: He talks about a grand idea; let's have a summit; we're going to solve the problem in Iraq by holding a summit. And what is he going to say to those people that show up to the summit? Join me in the wrong war at the wrong time at the wrong place? Risk your troops in a war you've called a mistake? Nobody is going to follow somebody who doesn't believe we can succeed and somebody who says the war where we are is a mistake.

KERRY: The right war was Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan. That was the right place. And the right time was Tora Bora when we had him cornered in the mountains. Everyone in the world knows that there were no weapons of mass destruction. That was the reason Congress gave him the authority to use force, not an excuse to get rid of the regime. Now we have to succeed. I've always said that. I have been consistent. Yes, we have to succeed, and I have a better plan to help us do it.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry debate, St. Louis, MO Oct 8, 2004

FactCheck: Iraq reconstruction money is not flowing

BUSH: (Referring to Iraq) There will be elections in January. We're spending reconstruction money. And our alliance is strong.

FACT-CHECK: Bush gave a rosy picture of progress in Iraq, glossing over significant problems with reconstruction contracts and training of Iraqi security forces. Bush cited as a sign of progress in Iraq that the US is "spending reconstruction money," when in fact the slow pace of spending has become a major problem for US officials. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage testified to a House Appropriations subcommittee Sept. 24 that only $1.2 billion in reconstruction money had actually been spent so far, out of the total of $18 billion that was appropriated almost a year earlier in "emergency" funds for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Source: Analysis of first Bush-Kerry debate (FactCheck.org) Oct 1, 2004

FactCheck: "100,000 trained" are mostly 3-week police course

BUSH: The best way for Iraq to be safe and secure is for Iraqi citizens to be trained to do the job. And that's what we're doing. There are 100,000 troops trained, police, guard, special units, border patrol. There's going to be 125,000 trained by the en of this year. Yes, we're getting the job done. It's hard work.

FACT-CHECK: Bush's "100,000 troops" trained to date is the official figure, but the President failed to mention that many trainees have received nothing more than a 3-week course in police procedures-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage clarified in House testimony:

ARMITAGE: It's 100,000 total security forces, and I don't want anyone to make the mistake that security force equals soldier-could be the 8-week trained policemen, of which there are a little over 8,000, or it could be what I refer to as the shake-and-bake 3-week police force, which are previous policemen who are now given a 3-weeks course. So it's a mixed bag , but there are about 100,000 total security forces.

Source: Analysis of first Bush-Kerry debate (FactCheck.org) Oct 1, 2004

You can't lead the country if you criticize the Iraqi war

Kerry wants you to forget is that he voted to authorize the use of force and now says it's the wrong war at the wrong time at the wrong place. I don't see how you can lead this country to succeed in Iraq if you say wrong war, wrong time, wrong place. What message does that send our troops? What message does that send to our allies? What message does that send the Iraqis? The way to win this is to be steadfast and resolved and to follow through on the plan that I've just outlined.
Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

Commander in chief shouldn't give mixed messages to troops

BUSH: Kerry says help is on the way, but what kind of message does it say to our troops in harm's way, wrong war, wrong place, wrong time? Not a message a commander in chief gives, or this is a great diversion. As well, help is on the way, but it's certainly hard to tell it when he voted against the $87-billion supplemental to provide equipment for our troops, and then said he actually did vote for it before he voted against it.

KERRY: When I talked about the $87 billion, I made a mistake in how I talk about the war. But the president made a mistake in invading Iraq. Which is worse? I believe that when you know something's going wrong, you make it right. That's what I learned in Vietnam. When I came back from that war I saw that it was wrong. Some people don't like the fact that I stood up to say no, but I did. And that's what I did with that vote. And I'm going to lead those troops to victory.

Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

The UK and Poland are our allies that must not be denigrated

KERRY: What need a president who understands how to bring these other countries together to recognize their stakes in this. The Arab countries have a stake in not having a civil war. The European countries have a stake in not having total disorder on their doorstep. Bush hasn't even held the kind of statesman-like summits that pull people together and get them to invest in those states. He's done the opposite. He pushed them away. To save for Halliburton the spoils of the war, they actually issued a memorandum from the Defense Department saying, If you weren't with us in the war, don't bother applying for any construction.

BUSH: The UN was invited in. And we support the UN efforts there. They pulled out after Sergio de Mello got killed. But they're now back in helping with elections. What's he say to Tony Blair and Alexander Kwasniewski of Poland? You can't expect to build an alliance when you denigrate the contributions of those who are serving side by side with American troops in Iraq.

Source: [Xref Kerry] First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

There are summits being held-world won't follow "wrong war"

BUSH: I sit down with the world leaders frequently and talk to them on the phone frequently. They're not going to follow somebody who says this is the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time. They're not going to follow somebody whose core convictions keep changing because of politics in America. There are summits being held. Japan is going to have a summit for the donors; $14 billion pledged; the Prime Minister is going to call countries to account, to get them to contribute. And there's going to be an Arab summit, of the neighborhood countries. And Colin Powell helped set up that summit.

KERRY: The UN and Kofi Annan offered help after Baghdad fell. We never took him up on that and did what was necessary to transfer authority and to transfer reconstruction. It was always American-run. Secondly, when we went in, there were three countries: Great Britain, Australia and the US. That's not a grand coalition. We can do better.

BUSH: He forgot Poland. And now there's 30 nations involved

Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

Kerry voted to give me the authority to invade Iraq

KERRY: A fresh start, new credibility, a president who can understand what we have to do to reach out to the Muslim world to make it clear that this is not, you know - Osama bin Laden uses the invasion of Iraq in order to go out to people and say that America has declared war on Islam. We need to be smarter about now we wage a war on terror. We need to deny them the recruits. We need to deny them the safe havens. We need to rebuild our alliances.

BUSH: Kerry said Osama bin Laden uses the invasion of Iraq as an excuse to spread hatred for America. Osama bin Laden isn't going to determine how we defend ourselves. I decided the right action was in Iraq. He said I misled on Iraq. I don't think he was misleading when he called Iraq a grave threat in the fall of 2002. I don't think he was misleading when he said that it was right to disarm Iraq in the spring of 2003.What is misleading is to say you can lead and succeed in Iraq if you keep changing your positions on this war. And he has.

Source: [Xref Kerry] First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

Can't change the dynamics in Iraq by criticizing the leader

KERRY: I will make a flat statement: The US has no long-term designs on staying in Iraq. Our goal in my administration would be to get all of the troops out of there with a minimal amount you need for training and logistics as we do in some other countries in the world after a war to be able to sustain the peace. But that's how we're going to win the peace, by rapidly training the Iraqis themselves. Even the Bush administration has admitted they haven't done the training, because they came back to Congress a few weeks ago and asked for a complete reprogramming of the money.

BUSH: You can't change the dynamics on the ground if you've criticized the brave leader of Iraq. The way to make sure that we succeed is to send consistent, sound messages to the Iraqi people that when we give our word, we will keep our word, that we stand with you, that we believe you want to be free. And I do. I reject the notion that some say that if you're Muslim you can't free, you don't desire freedom.

Source: [Xref Kerry] First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

I know bin Laden attacked; but Saddam had WMD-capabilities

BUSH: I know Osama bin Laden attacked us. Secondly, to think that another round of resolutions would have caused Saddam Hussein to disarm, disclose, is ludicrous, in my judgment. It just shows a significant difference of opinion. We tried diplomacy. We did our best. He was hoping to turn a blind eye. He would have been stronger had we not dealt with him. He had the capability of making weapons, and he would have made weapons.

KERRY: 35 to 40 countries in the world had a greater capability of making weapons at the moment the president invaded than Saddam Hussein. And while he's been diverted, with 9 out of 10 active duty divisions of our Army, either going to Iraq, coming back from Iraq, or getting ready to go, North Korea's gotten nuclear weapons and the world is more dangerous. Iran is moving toward nuclear weapons and the world is more dangerous. Darfur has a genocide. The world is more dangerous. I'd have made a better choice.

Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

Kerry agreed that Saddam Hussein was a grave threat

BUSH: Saddam Hussein was a grave threat. I don't hold it against him that Kerry said grave threat. I'm not going to go around the country saying he didn't tell the truth, when he looked at the same intelligence I did.

KERRY: It was a threat. That's not the issue. The issue is what you do about it. Bush said he was going to build a true coalition, exhaust the remedies of the UN and go to war as a last resort. Those words really have to mean something. And, unfortunately, he didn't go to war as a last resort. Now we have this incredible mess in Iraq-$200 billion. It's not what the American people thought they were getting when they voted.

Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

Kerry flip-flopping again on war

On the Iraq war, the Bush campaign has been pressuring Kerry to say whether he would have still voted for the war given the fact that no weapons of mass destruction were found. Bush maintains the world is still better off without Saddam Hussein in power. Kerry on Monday said he would have voted to give the president authorization to use force against Iraq "but I would have used that authority effectively."

Bush and his aides said that was evidence of Kerry flip-flopping from an anti-war stance. "Now, almost two years after he voted for the war in Iraq, and almost 220 days after switching positions to declare himself the anti-war candidate, my opponent has found a new nuance. He now agrees it was the right decision to go into Iraq."

Kerry's campaign national security adviser responded, "The issue has never been whether we were right to hold Saddam accountable, the issue is that we went to war without our allies, without properly equipping our troops and without a plan to win the peace."

Source: Steve Holland, Reuters Aug 10, 2004

CIA argued against "16 words" but took responsibility

The biggest flap arose over Bush's sixteen-word statement in his State of the Union speech that British intelligence believed Saddam had been trying to buy uranium from Niger. To be sure, George Tenet, as director of Central Intelligence, did not believe the information was solid enough to include in Bush's speech. Yet when Bush said it, the statement was true.

In fact, M16, the British intelligence service, still believed that its intelligence about Niger was correct. Contrary to the news reports, its information did not rely on bogus documents. Nor did Powell mention Niger eight days after the State of the Union in his formal presentation to the United Nations. Few news stories mentioned these points.

Tenet stepped up to the plate and said he took overall responsibility for the fact that, when reviewing drafts of the president's speech, his agency did not object more vigorously to citing the Niger report. [Tenet resigned in July 2004]

Source: A Matter of Character, by Ronald Kessler, p.196-97 Aug 5, 2004

Majority misunderstood that Bush connected Saddam with 9/11

Gore said the war was started because of "false impressions" that Hussein was "on the verge of building nuclear bombs," that he was "about to give the terrorists poison gas and deadly germs," and that he was "partly responsible for the 9/11 attacks."

The "impressions" were, in fact, mis-impressions. To be sure, a majority of Americans thought that Bush had said Saddam Hussein was involved in the September 11 attacks. But they confused Bush's simple point that, after 9/11, America must never again be in the position of passively waiting for an attack by a country like Iraq.

"After September 11, the doctrine of containment just doesn't hold any water, as far as I'm concerned," Bush said with typical bluntness. "We must deal with threats before they hurt the American people again."

In his interim report, David Kay, the leader of the US hunt for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, concluded that his team "discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities. concealed from the UN."

Source: A Matter of Character, by Ronald Kessler, p.200-01 Aug 5, 2004

CIA report hedged on whether Saddam had WMD

The CIA had never declared categorically that it believed Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. The Dec. 2000 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) concluded that Hussein "retained a small stockpile" of chemical warfare agents-not actual warheads perhaps 100 tons. This conclusion was drawn largely from accounting discrepancies between UN [reports of what had been destroyed].

A long NIE has a section called "Key Judgments" in which the intelligence analysts would try to give a bottom-line answer If the Key Judgments used words such as "maybe" or "probably," the NIE would be "pablum." The real and best answer was that Saddam probably had WMD, but that there was no proof and the case was circumstantial. [But the final] document said under the Key Judgments, without qualification, "Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons." No pablum. From that attention-getting assertion, the NIE makes muted but clear equivocations. In the end, the hedging and backing off telegraphed immense doubt.

Source: Plan of Attack, by Bob Woodward, adapted in Washington Post Apr 19, 2004

CIA chief told Bush "slam dunk" that Saddam had WMD

[On Dec. 21, 2002, CIA director George] Tenet went to the Oval Office to present "The Case" on WMD to the president, Cheney, Rice, & Andrew Card. [When the presentation was done], there was a look on the president's face of, What's this? And then a brief moment of silence. "Nice try," Bush said. "I don't think this is quite something that Joe Public would understand or would gain a lot of confidence from." Bush turned to Tenet. "I've been told all this intelligence about having WMD and this is the best we've got?"

Tenet rose up, threw him arms in the air. "It's a slam-dunk case!" the director of central intelligence said. It was unusual for Tenet to be so certain. Cheney could think of no reason to question Tenet's assertion. Bush said of Tenet's reassurance -- "That was very important."

"Needs a lot more work," Bush told Card & Rice. "Let's get some people who've actually put together a case for a jury." The president told Tenet several times, "Make sure no one stretches to make our case."

Source: Plan of Attack, by Bob Woodward, adapted in Washington Post Apr 19, 2004

Clarke: Bush insisted on connecting 9-11 with Saddam

On September 12th, I left the video conferencing center and there, wandering alone around the situation room, was the president. He looked like he wanted something to do. He grabbed a few of us and closed the door to the conference room. "Look," he told us, "I know you have a lot to do and all, but I want you, as soon as you can, to go back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this. See if he's linked in any way."

I was once again taken aback, incredulous, and it showed. "But, Mr. President, Al Qaeda did this."

"I know, I know, but - see if Saddam was involved. Just look. I want to know any shred-"

"Absolutely, we will look-again." I was trying to be more respectful, more responsive. "But you know, we have looked several times for state sponsorship of Al Qaeda and not found any real linkages to Iraq. Iran plays a little, as does Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, Yemen."

"Look into Iraq, Saddam," the president said testily and left us.

Source: Against All Enemies, by Richard Clarke, chapter 1 Mar 23, 2004

Bush admin knew Iraq not a threat, & had no time for terror

[Anti-terror czar Dick Clarke said], "I am unaware of any Iraqi-sponsored terrorism directed at the US since 1993, and I think FBI and CIA concur in that judgment?" CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin replied, "Yes, that is right. We have no evidence of any active Iraqi terrorist threat against the US."

The truth was that the [Bush administration had] a full agenda and a backlog of Bush priority issues: the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, the Kyoto agreement, and Iraq. There was no time for terrorism."

Source: Against All Enemies, by Richard Clarke, p.231-234 Mar 23, 2004

Clarke: CIA and FBI intelligence failures allowed 9/11

Somewhere in CIA there was information that two known al Qaeda terrorists had come into the US. Somewhere in FBI there was information that strange things had been going on at flight schools in the US. Could we have stopped the September 11 attack? It would be facile to say yes. What is clear is that there were failures in the organizations that we trusted to protect us, failures to get information to the right place at the right time, earlier failures to act boldly to reduce or eliminate the threat.
Source: Against All Enemies, by Richard Clarke, p.236-8 Mar 23, 2004

Clarke: Bush Iraq policy generates Islamic hatred of America

[Clarke says, "Ideological infiltrations by al Qaeda] would not inflame Islamic opinion and further radicalize Muslim youth into heightened hatred of America in the way invading Iraq has done. We and our values needed to be more appealing to Muslims than al Qaeda is. Far from addressing the popular appeal of the enemy that attacked us, Bush handed that enemy precisely what it wanted and needed, proof that America was at war with Islam, that we were the new Crusaders come to occupy Muslim land."
Source: Against All Enemies, by Richard Clarke, p.245-6 Mar 23, 2004

Fact Check: No evidence of bio, chemical, or nuclear WMDs

FACTCHECK on WMD: The President made no mention of the failure so far to locate nuclear, chemical or biological weapons in Iraq.

BUSH: We are seeking all the facts. Already the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the UN.

FACTCHECK: True, former UN weapons inspector David Kay, now heading the US effort to locate Saddam Hussein's unconventional weapons, did report that last October. But Kay also told the House and Senate intelligence committees:

KAY: We have not yet found stocks of weapons. We have not yet been able to corroborate the existence of a mobile biological weapons production effort. Multiple sources say that Iraq did not have a large, ongoing, centrally controlled chemical warfare program after 1991. To date we have not uncovered evidence that Iraq undertook significant post-1998 steps to actually build nuclear weapons or produce fissile material.

Source: FactCheck.org on the 2004 State of the Union address Jan 20, 2004

O'Neill: Bush planned on war in Iraq before 9/11

Bush's campaign positions, that the US would be noninterventionist-that we would hesitate to become embroiled in disputes; that we would be 'humble abroad' and not 'engage in nation-building'-were the very opposite of the policy that O'Neill & Powell saw unfolding. Actual plans, to O'Neill's astonishment, were already being discussed to take over Iraq & occupy it-complete with disposition of oil fields, peacekeeping forces, and war crimes tribunals-carrying forward an unspoken doctrine of preemptive war.
Source: The Price of Loyalty, by Ron Suskind, p. 129 Jan 13, 2004

Paul O'Neill: Bush planned to overthrow Saddam before 9/11

Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said he never saw any evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction-President Bush's main justification for going to war.

In a new book chronicling his rocky two-year tenure and in an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes", O'Neill said removing Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was a top priority at Bush's very first National Security Council meeting-within days of the inauguration and eight months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

O'Neill told CBS the discussion of Iraq continued at the next National Security Council meeting two days later and that he was given internal memos, including one outlining a "Plan for post-Saddam Iraq."

"In the 23 months I was there, I never saw anything that I would characterize as evidence of weapons of mass destruction," O'Neill told Time magazine in a separate interview. "There were allegations and assertions by people... To me there is a difference between real evidence and everything else."

Source: [X-ref O'Neill] Adam Entous, Reuters, on AOL News Jan 11, 2004

Saddam's uranium from Niger: admits facts were not checked

President Bush's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board has concluded that his 2003 State of the Union address included information about Iraq's weapons program that wasn't checked carefully.

In an effort to draw support for waging war with Iraq, Bush told the nation in January: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

An Advisory Board source said the report concludes there was no intention to deceive; instead it was "a goof" as the administration searched for examples to share with the public of why the US believed Iraq was attempting to build a nuclear program.

The Bush administration initially defended the inclusion of the sentence under pressure to explain how the speech was written based on information that was known to be unreliable. After a US Ambassador sent to Niger to investigate said publicly it was false, the White House acknowledged in July that the line should not have been included in Bush's speech.

Source: Dana Bash, CNN.com Dec 25, 2003

Rejected Powell's plan for refocused UN sanctions on Iraq

In 2000, many within the Republican Party cited Iraq as dangerous unfinished business-a code word for weak leadership by Clinton/Gore. Work on a new policy for Iraq began soon after the inauguration of the new president, George W. Bush, when Colin Powell visited the region in Feb. 2001. He returned a few days later to call for narrower, more focused sanctions-the so-called smart sanctions-as a way of rebuilding UN support for the sanctions regime. But the effort died inside the Bush administration itself
Source: Winning Modern Wars, by Wesley Clark, chapter 1 Oct 26, 2003


George W. Bush on Mideast

$350M for Palestinian reforms

To promote democracy [in Israel and Palestine], I will ask Congress for $350 million to support Palestinian political, economic, and security reforms. The goal of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace is within reach -- and America will help them achieve that goal.
Source: 2005 State of the Union Speech Feb 2, 2005

Bush supports peaceful Palestinian state

In a recent meeting with the Malaysian prime minister, President Bush spoke about an eventual Palestinian state: "I told him that I am fully committed to the development of a Palestinian state that can live side by side with Israel in peace." To the president, the key is a Palestinian leader that Israel can trust and work with - meaning one without Yasser Arafat.
Source: Brent Hurd, Voice of America News Sep 16, 2004

First president to use the term "Palestine"

Almost everyone recognized the need for a Palestinian state, but the issue was so politically charged that no president prior to Bush had come out and said it. When government officials discussed the issue, they used vague terminology to refer to such a state.

"Presidents used to mumble when it got to a question of a Palestinian state," Rice told me in her office one Saturday morning. "They couldn't bring themselves to say 'Palestinian State.' In preparing a speech to the UN, he said, 'There's going to be a Palestinian state, so let's say that. What will it be called? It will be called Palestine. If that's the case, let's call it Palestine.'"

On November 10, 2001, Bush told the UN, "We are working toward a day when two states, Israel and Palestine, live peacefully together within secure and recognized borders as called for by the Security Council resolutions."

Source: A Matter of Character, by Ronald Kessler, p.176 Aug 5, 2004

Libya renounces WMDs; anti-proliferation has high priority

The leader of Libya, Colonel Kadhafi, publicly confirmed his commitment to disclose and dismantle all weapons of mass destruction programs, and to allow inspectors to enter Libya. Kadhafi's commitment, once it is fulfilled, will make our country more safe and the world more peaceful.

Opposing proliferation is one of the highest priorities of the war against terror. Terrorists would, if they ever gained weapons of mass destruction, kill thousands-without hesitation and without mercy. This danger is dramatically increased when regimes build or acquire weapons of mass destruction and maintain ties to terrorist groups.

[We] have sent an unmistakable message to regimes that seek or possess weapons of mass destruction. Those weapons do not bring influence or prestige. They bring isolation and otherwise unwelcome consequences. And another message should be equally clear: leaders who abandon that pursuit will find an open path to better relations with the US and other free nations.

Source: Joint statement with Prime Minister Tony Blair Dec 20, 2003

No peace for Israel or Palestine without freedom for both

In the Middle East, there can be no peace for either side without freedom for both sides. America stands committed to an independent and democratic Palestine, living side by side with Israel in peace and security. Like all other people, Palestinians deserve a government that serves their interests and listens to their voices. My nation will continue to encourage all parties to step up to their responsibilities as we seek a just and comprehensive settlement to the conflict.
Source: Address to the United Nations General Assembly Sep 12, 2002

Israel: America should be a stronger friend

“In recent times, Washington has tried to make Israel conform to its own plans and timetables,” the Texas governor told an audience of more than 1,000 at the annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. “But this is not the path to peace.” Bush repeated his vow to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Bush also said that Iran should be held responsible for the treatment of the 13 Iranian Jews imprisoned in that country on espionage charges.
Source: T. Christian Miller; L.A. Times May 23, 2000

Israel: Recognize Jerusalem as capital

Supports moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and said if elected President, he would set the process of moving the Embassy in motion immediately upon taking office.
Source: georgewbush.com/Message/75.htm “Specific Issues” Jul 23, 1999

Other candidates on War & Peace: George W. Bush on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

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David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

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Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
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Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts