Lets Just Surrender, Arianna
I'm going to answer these questions for you, Arianna, since they have already been answered repeatedly but you choose to ignore the answers. I'm going to pretend I am one of your actor friends playing the role of the president:
As part of his latest PR push on Iraq, President Bush has been giving another round of speeches and -- wonder of wonders -- fielding questions from audience members and reporters alike. Well, as long as he's in a question-answering state of mind I thought I'd offer up a few questions of my own:
1.) Last week, you insisted: "I didn't want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong... it's simply not true." Yet source after source after source suggests otherwise, including your former Treasury Secretary, Paul O'Neil, who has said that invading Iraq was a goal set out at your first National Security Council meeting, just ten days after your inauguration: "It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying 'Go find me a way to do this.'" Mr. President, is Paul O'Neil lying?
Yes, Paul O'Neil has misrepresented the facts. He is what is known as a disgruntled former employee. It is true that regime change in Iraq was of high interest to us from day one. Iraq had thumbed its nose at the rest of the world, ignoring U.N. sanctions and resolutions. They were a conduit for state sponsored terrorism. They fired on our planes in the no-fly zone and had a leader who constantly proclaimed 'death to America'. They attempted to make nuclear weapons but their reactor was bombed by the Israelis. With Saddam in power, they were a lethal threat to the U.S. and if you cant see that, then you have blinders on. I never instructed Paul or anybody to 'go find me a way to do this' and you know that.
2.) Despite the fact that dozens of Iraqis a day are dying in sectarian violence, you continue to insist that Iraq is not in a civil war. How many dead Iraqis per day would it take before you'd be willing to concede that civil war has broken out?
About 200 people were murdered in the U.S. today. Are we at civil war? During our country's civil war, tens of thousands would die in a single day. This went on for years. That was a civil war, Arianna. A few thugs in dirty nightshirts carrying out terrorist acts does not constitute an all out civil war, though you would very much like to see things deteriorate to that. Its quite apparent that you WANT civil war in Iraq, it would make your day. We are not seeing all out fighting in the streets of Iraq. That isnt to say that there arent insurgents intent on destabilizing the nation, there are. But this has not devolved into civil war.
3.) Speaking of civil war, your Iraq-is-not-a-civil-war assessment was directly contradicted by former prime minister Ayad Allawi, a man whose credibility you considered unimpeachable in 2004, saying: "He's a brave, brave man... You can't change the dynamics on the ground if you've criticized the brave leader of Iraq." Has your opinion of him changed now that he's no longer saying what you want to hear?
Ayad Allawi is one man with one opinion. I respect him, but just because I once praised him him does not mean that I agree with everything that comes out of his mouth. You had no use for Ayad before he said this. Now you think he is a pillar of respect. My opinion of him hasnt changed, he is free to disagree with me.
4.) Allawi has said: "We are losing each day, as an average, 50 to 60 people through the country, if not more. If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is." Do you think this is something you might discuss with God next time you speak?
I believe I just answered this question, but I see where you are going with it. I pray to God, like most Americans. I ask God for his blessings and guidance in my daily life. I 'talk' to God in my prayers, but he does not carry on a conversation with me in an audible voice. I know you have little respect for God or religion, but to insinuate that I believe I have private conversations with God is disingenous and insulting.
5.) You have steadfastly supported Secretary Rumsfeld, recently claiming: "He's done a fine job." Just how bad would things have to get before you'd be willing to downgrade that to "a so-so job"? What, in your eyes, would you consider "a really crummy job"?
Losing. Thats how we would define a real crummy job. Do you think our troops are being mowed down in Iraq like ducks in a shooting gallery? Because I have seen nothing to indicate that. We now average less than an American death per day. It was 2-3 at one point. Unfortunately for you, we didnt lose 10,000+ troops in the opening invasion as many on the Left claimed we would. Our troops are kicking ass over there. We didnt fire our generals after D-Day, and yet by todays media standards that was a mission replete with poor planning and many deaths. War is not perfect. It never will be.
6.) You have indicated that you now believe that there will be American troops in Iraq until at least 2009, saying the decision about withdrawing all U.S. forces will be made by "future presidents and future governments of Iraq." Given that, do you now feel that your May 2003 Mission Accomplished moment, during which you claimed "major combat operations in Iraq have ended," was a tad premature?
Major combat operations have ended, Arianna. Are you an idiot? We are no longer dismantling the Elite Guard. We are no longer flying 200 bombing sorties per day. We are in a mop up stage. Flash back to WWII in Germany. A year after the war had ended, we were still fighting pockets of insurgency in Germany. Do you understand the difference between 'major combat operations' and 'combat'? Apparently not. Next question....
7.) Was the flight suit you wore intentionally one size too small?
I dont think so. It seemed a bit snug, but I dont intentionally order my clothes to be one size too small. Your point would be?
8.) Yes or no, are we building permanent military bases in Iraq? If yes, how many?
We are building the infrastructure necessary for us to complete the job. Would you also like me to provide maps of the bases, troop strengths, and other info the enemy would find very useful? Maybe one of the democrat senators will leak that information to you later....
9.) Total U.S. expenditures on the Iraq war have now been pegged at $320 billion. Assuming the war had never happened, what would we have done with that money?
I probably would have given it back to the people. $1500 to each American. Unfortunately, we have a WAR going on and we are fighting the ENEMY. War is expensive. Freedom doesnt have a price tag. Are you saying that when the price tag reaches a certain figure its time to pull up stakes and cut and run? It sure does sound like it.
10.) No one died as a result of Watergate, but thousands have died to rid the world of an imminent threat that wasn't. Will history declare your administration's actions in the lead-up to the war in Iraq a greater scandal than Watergate?
Are you an expert on foreign policy, Arianna? We still maintain that he was a threat. Furthermore, I have NEVER said he was an imminent threat. In fact, I said, "though he is not at this time an imminent threat, we cant wait until he is".
No, history will not judge my administration poorly. Quite the contrary.
11.) You and several members of your administration have repeatedly said members of Congress saw "the same intelligence" as you did before the invasion. But in the Sept. 21, 2001 PDB, you were told that there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the September 11th attacks. And yet you never gave this information to Congress. Do you still believe they saw "the same intelligence" you did?
I have NEVER said there was a direct link between Saddam and 911. Never. There are links between Saddam and Al Qaeda, this is proven and we are finding more evidence each day. There are links between Saddam and state sponsored terror and you know this. Dont pretend otherwise.
12.) In your opinion (as opposed to Halliburton's), has there been war profiteering in the Iraq war? Do you know how many billions have gone unaccounted for? Are you even curious?
There will always be somebody who will profit during war. People dont work for free, even during wartime. Those who cheat us should be prosecuted, nobody can argue that.
13.) Do you agree with Harry Truman that war profiteering is treason?
Hard to say what his definition was. The only link you provide is not a direct quote from Truman. I think there is a difference between profiteering and profiting.
14.) You have said America has no choice but to remain in Iraq to prevent Al Qaeda from using the country as a terrorist base. Would you say Al Qaeda's presence in Iraq has increased or decreased since we invaded?
Increased. They are coming to fight the Americans. And as they do, they decrease, cuz we are KILLING them. And there sure seem to be plenty of them there for a country with no connection to Al Qaeda. But they are no longer using it as a 'training base'. Now it is the front line of death for them.
15.) You claimed, in September 2002, that "you can't distinguish between Al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror." Did you really mean this?
Yes, Saddam sponsored state terrorism. He sent money to the families of Palestinian terrorists. There is evidence that personnel from his govt met with various Al Qaeda operatives. He said on a daily basis, "Death to America". They have the same agenda as each other: Death to America.
16.) Can you not differentiate between a group of evil ultraradical Islamic fundamentalists who carried out the September 11 attacks and an evil secular nationalist who, despite the frantic efforts of your administration, has in no way been directly linked to 9/11?
This is the 3rd time you've asked this question. Please refer to questions #11 and #15.
17.) Given that you claim intelligence about Iraq was not manipulated, was intelligence that suggested Iraq didn't have WMD as welcome as intelligence that suggested it did? Could an intelligence official who brought you the former expect to advance as quickly as one who brought you the latter?
Are you suggesting that disagreeing with our assessment of Iraq was a career limiting move? No intelligence was manipulated. No evidence has shown that intelligence was manipulated. How many times do you need to hear this?
18.) You've said it is "preposterous" to claim that the diversion of troops and equipment to Iraq had anything to do with the government's delayed response to Hurricane Katrina, but a secret Pentagon report and the head of the National Guard say otherwise. Were people suffering and dying in Louisiana and Mississippi because so many of our National Guard members and so many billions of tax-payer dollars were diverted to Iraq?
No, most of them were suffering because they were too STUPID to heed warnings that this was a major major deadly storm and that New Orleans was below sea level. Katrina was the perfect example of the clusterfuck bureaucracy that has always existed at the federal and state levels of govt. It was the perfect example of the welfare state thinking everything will be taken care of for them and that they could just sit there and hope for the best. It certainly could have been better coordinated, mistakes were made, but it would not have made a bit of difference if every single Natl Guard member was here or not. Keep in mind that this was the worst natural disaster in our countrys' history.
19.) Given that you've made the Iraq war a top priority of your administration, have you ever discussed military service with your daughters? How would you feel if they enlisted?
Their choice. They are adults and we have a voluntary military. I've also made Social Security reform a top priority but I havent urged my daughters to work for the Social Security Admin. I want lower taxes for Americans but that doesnt mean I have asked my girls to work for the IRS. Whats the point of this question? Regardless, I'm sure if they enlisted I would be as proud of them as any parent would.
20.) More than 2,300 American soldiers have been killed and over 17,000 wounded since the Iraq war began. Care to predict what these numbers will be at the end of the "long, hard slog"?
Would you? Because so far, you guys in the media have been doing a piss poor job of predicting or reporting anything with any degree of accuracy. We are averaging less than 2 combat deaths per day. There hasnt been a war in our country's history that has had a lower casualty rate than this conflict.