Chimpy gave a series of interviews to representatives of the foreign press today in hopes of burnishing his image before he travels to the G8 meeting next week.
We continue with the interview conducted for BNT of, Bulgaria .
But Only Sometimes
You know, I tell people sometimes — in America they always respect the presidency, and sometimes they like the President.
An Inappropriate Question, Apparently
Q Bulgaria is an ally; it’s hosting three joint military bases. What will Bulgaria get in return?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, you’ve got a good friend. And I don’t think friends really kind of measure decision making on a quid pro quo basis.
In other words, sovereign nations say, well, this is in my interests.
One of the great things about a relationship with the United States is we keep our word, or we should keep our word.
These Great Defensive Alliance
And I would hope that the citizens would get a sense of comfort through the relationship with the United States, and other nations that are involved with these great defensive alliance.
Q Mr. President, on Iraq. Bulgarian civilians and soldiers died there, so it may be right and just to ask you, do you admit any mistakes in Iraq?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the first thing I want to say is, to the Bulgarian mother or father or wife or husband, my deepest sympathies go to your loved one. I deal with the pain of death here in America. One of my jobs as the person who made the decision to put our troops there, of course, is to try to comfort those who have lost a loved one. And it’s, frankly, the most painful aspect of the job, knowing my decision caused a child to be lost to a family.
And so what I tell those parents, and I’d like to share the same thing with the Bulgarian families, is, one, the cause was necessary and noble for peace; two, that I’m committed to helping this Iraqi government succeed, and I think the people will look back 50 years from now and say, oh, I understand now why they were doing what they were doing, because democracies and liberties help yield peace; thirdly, that I won’t let politics get in the way of making important decisions to help achieve the mission. In other words, we won’t let their loved one die in vain. You can look back on any war, and determine whether or not certain tactics could be changed, but the strategic decision, removing Saddam Hussein, was the right decision.
No Mistakes, I Told You That Already!
Q Mr. President, if we conclude, once again, could you say to the citizens of Bulgaria, summing up, what kind of face will you present to them? And we know you value convictions and values, but can you admit also making mistakes?
THE PRESIDENT: I mean, if you’re trying to say, did I make a mistake routing al Qaeda out of Afghanistan, the answer is, absolutely not. Getting rid of Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do. You’ve got to understand, my decision making is based, of course, first and foremost on the best interests of the United States. And we got attacked. Nearly 3,000 of our citizens died, and it affected my thinking. I will continue to make decisions to help secure our country.
But you’ll see a guy come to Bulgaria who is grateful for the hospitality, grateful for the friendship, someone who brings the great spirit of America. Listen, I represent a great country because our people are great. Our people are hard working, decent, honorable, compassionate people, who care deeply about freedom and liberty. I’m really proud to be their President.