Your President Speaks!

From Holden:

Chimpy consented to a few questions today at the end of a photo-op with the World Health Organization Director-General.

Interestingly, both the Chimpster and the White House staffer(s) who prepared the transcript for the web never referred to the World Health Organization Director-General by his full name, he is only identified as Dr. Lee. His full name is Lee Jong-wook. I suppose that was too difficult a name for Chimpy to pronounce, but why wasn’t Dr. Lee identified in full in the transcript? Is Lee Jong-wook too furrin-sounding for the White House?

Anyway, on with the questions.

Gaze in shock and awe at Your President’s discomfort with a simple question about whether or not the war in Iraq is similar to the war in Vietnam.

Q Howard Dean says the idea that the U.S. will win in Iraq is just plain wrong, and he’s comparing the war to Vietnam. Is that a fair comparison, and what do you think about his comments?

THE PRESIDENT: I know we’re going to win, and our troops need to hear, not only are they supportive, but that we have got a strategy that will win. Oh, there’s pessimists, you know, and politicians who try to score points. But our strategy is one that is — will lead us to victory. The only thing that the enemy has got going for them is the capacity to take innocent life and to get on our TV screens with this devastation that they cause. These people cannot stand free societies. They have no regard for the human condition. They’ll kill women and children at the drop of a hat, all aimed at frightening the American people and trying to get us to withdraw. And if we were to withdraw, the likes of Zarqawi, who is a sworn ally of bin Laden, would have a safe haven from which to plot and plan.

The lessons of September the 11th are lessons this country must never forget. We’ve got to take each threat seriously; we’ve got to stay on the offense. In the long run, a democracy will help eradicate the conditions that allow these people to find any kind of support.

And so our strategy is two-fold. On the one-hand, we’ll stay on the offense, we’ll train Iraqi soldiers so they can take the fight to the enemy. And on the other hand, we’ll continue to work with the Iraqi people to spread democracy.

Really, two-fold? The National Strategy for Victory in Iraq released with such fanfare last week outlines a three-fold strategy, with a Political Track, a Strategic Track, and an Economic Track. Did Chimpy forget the Economic Track, or is a track not a fold?

Bakc to the Chimp.

And the American people must take notice of the fact that the people of Iraq are showing incredible courage in the face of this violence. After all, there was an election last January to put a transitional national government in place, then they voted on a constitution. And in a short period of time, they’re going to be voting for a new government. They vote by the millions, which stands in stark contrast to the society in which they lived under the tyrant, Saddam Hussein, who, by the way, is now on trial, as he should be on trial.

I think his trial is indicative of the change that has taken place in the Iraqi society. In the old days, if Saddam and his cronies didn’t like you, you didn’t get a trail. You were just put to death or tortured. Today, there is a system, a judicial system in place that will give Saddam Hussein a chance to make his case in court, as well as giving those who have been tortured by Saddam Hussein a chance to step forth and provide witness to the brutality of this man.

I — our troops need to know that the American people stand with them, and we have a strategy for victory. And of course there will be debate, and of course there will be some pessimists and some people playing politics with the issue. But by far, the vast majority of people in this country stand squarely with the men and women who wear the nation’s uniform.


Q Thank you, Mr. President. Does your administration have any plans to change the policy of renditioning and/or the detention centers alleged to be taking place in Europe?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Carl, first of all, I don’t talk about secret programs, covert programs, covert activities. Part of a successful war on terror is for the United States of America to be able to conduct operations, all aimed to protect the American people, covertly.

However, I can tell you two things: one, that we abide by the law of the United States; we do not torture. And two, we will try to do everything we can to protect us within the law. We’re facing an enemy that would like to hit America again, and the American people expect us to, within our laws, do everything we can to protect them. And that’s exactly what the United States is doing. We do not render to countries that torture. That has been our policy, and that policy will remain the same.

That all sounds very nice, but in fact we do have secret detention centers throughout Europe, Africa and Asia, we do torture, and we do render to countries that torture.