Oh, my, this is going to be a long one. Today, in Newport, Rhode Island, at the Naval War College.
Where They’re At
Those who go to school here are at a great place.
In Case You Didn’t Know
Remember, when I mention al Qaeda, they’re the ones who attacked the United States of America and killed nearly 3,000 people on September the 11th, 2001. They’re part of the enemy.
According to a captured document — in other words, according to something that we captured from al Qaeda — they had hoped to set up its — a government in Anbar.
What We Finally Got
We finally got the troops there.
What Americans Have Got
Americans have got to understand it takes a while to mobilize additional troops and move them from the United States to Iraq.
A “Courier” is a “Senior Leader”
Last week our commanders reported the killing of two senior al Qaeda leaders north of Baghdad — one who operated a cell that helped move foreign fighters into Iraq, and another who served as a courier for the same cell.
Proof Of Progress
In the mixed Shia-Sunni neighborhood of Rashid, our foot patrols discovered a wall with two Arabic sentences spray-painted on them. It’s just a small example. It certainly didn’t get any news, but it says, “Yes, yes to the new security plan. No difference between Shia and Sunni.”
There Is Tensions
And so there’s still sectarian tensions.
What The Iraqis Have Got
Have to be making tough decisions — the Iraqis have got to be making tough decisions towards reconciliations.
The Global War On Plurals Begins
I speak to the Prime Minister and I speak to the Presidency Council quite often, and I remind them we expect the government to function, and to pass law.
The Global War On Plurals Continues
We expect them to pass law.
The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations
Our success in Iraq must not be measured by the enemy’s ability to get a car bombing into the evening news. No matter how good the security, terrorists will always be able to explode a bomb on a crowded street.
If The Middle East Know
The extremists under this, that if the Middle East knows — if the Middle East know that the Iraqis succeed, it’s going to be a terrible blow to their ambitions. That’s what they see.
Iraqi Insurgents = Al Qaeda = Hesbollah = Hamas = Iran
But they also feel the same way about Afghanistan, where the Taliban, one-time allies of al Qaeda, is trying to murder its way back into power; or in Lebanon, where extremists are trying to bring down that nation’s democratic government; or in the Palestinian territories, where terrorists have set off a suicidal war; or in Iran, where the government pursues nuclear weapons while its president declares that Israel must be wiped off the map.
Like I’d Just Told You
September the 11th, we saw how a failed state, like I’d just told you, can affect the security at home.
Not Only Great, It’s Good!
Our military is not only great, it’s good, good-hearted people, all volunteers, who said, I want to serve in the face of danger.
Da-Da Da-Da Da-Da Da-Da Mic Man!
Yes, sir. You’re the guy. Are you the mic man, or are you the questioner? Well, you’re the questioner. Mic man, okay. Yes, sir.
Great Britain Have A Fantastic Country
We’re going to have to continually press. This means good intelligence, good special ops, working with allies like Great Britain — who have been a fantastic country to work with, by the way, just got to pressure them.
Tastes Great, Less Filling
It’s amazing how the Navy has been able to accomplish more with less. Perhaps that’s what you’ve been able to — that’s less manpower, more mission, better use of equipment, the capacity to manage manpower better.
The Global War On Plurals Continues
The main thing for militaries, as we head into the 21st century, is constantly adjust to meet threat.
By the way, named a Navy man today, sent his name up to the Senate for confirmation as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mullen; and Vice Chairman is going to be a Marine named “Hoss” Cartwright.
Transformative Events We Have Done
One of the major transformative events we have done is we have begun to reposition our troops in Europe. The Cold War is over, it ended. And therefore the troop posture doesn’t need to be the way it has been throughout the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. That’s transformative.
The Capacity To Base Out Of Home
That also frees up money for capital investment, as well as different places where — let me just say, the capacity to base out of home is going to save us a lot of money and save you a lot of wear and tear.
In Many Times
The volunteer army only works well if we take care of the wives and husbands; the spouses. And one way to do that is to reposition our forces to meet the threats of the 21st century. Well, it turns out, in many times — it means they have to be based here, and be then in a capacity to move quickly to deal with the threats.
There Is More Questions
Surely there’s more questions than that.
What “All The Time” Is
I talk to General Petraeus all the time. I say “all the time” — weekly; that’s all the time — on secure video from Baghdad.
There Is A Lot Of Discussions
There’s a lot of discussions about troop positioning; what will our footprint look like.
David Patreus Wears The 18-Hour Bra
David Petraeus is the commander on the ground and he’ll have the full support.
You Know, The Folks
It’s the way it’s been throughout the — you know, I told you that, and rightly so, that — look, I had a decision to make: more troops to secure Baghdad and Anbar, or pull back and hope for the best? I made a decision to put more troops in. That was in close consultation with the Pentagon and in particular with the — you know, the folks who have been charged with operations in Baghdad.
What Our Military Is Undergoing Through
And I think people recognize that obviously — you know, our military is undergoing through a lot of hard work and pressure.
It’s Like, Wow
I know the focus is on the military; it’s, like, on TV everyday, I understand that.
An Ungrateful World
You bring up the Navy ships, Comfort, for example, is just — saving lives in South America and Central America. I remember going to see — Laura and I went to Guatemala. We went to this remote region and ran into some military docs and nurses that were just providing essential health care. It’s really effective diplomacy to help a mom deal with a child’s sickness. And we do a lot of it. We get no credit for it, but we do a lot of it.
I Worry About The Struggle Will Cause
I worry about the struggle — which is going to take a while — will cause us to lose our confidence in the ability to help others realize the blessings of liberty.
I marvel at the fact — or I used to marvel at the fact that my dad fought the Japanese as a United States Navy fighter pilot, and his son sits down at the table to work to keep the peace. It’s an amazing — to me it’s an amazing irony, I guess is the best way to describe that — that a fellow’s father fought him, and I’m working to keep peace.
What Liberty Has Got
Liberty has got the capacity to change enemies to allies.
Hopeless Idealist Commander Guy
Some say that’s — you know, he’s a hopeless idealist guy.
Slapping Down The Rabble At The Naval War College
That’s not a seersucker suit, is it? It’s coming back, yes. They’re coming back.
What We Are
I think more markets — listen, we’re 5 percent of the people, that means 95 percent of the market should be available to our goods and services.
When you’re good at something, you ought to make it easier to sell it.
He Meant “Traitor”
So I’m a big trader — a free-trader.
Now the Congress is going to have an opportunity to determine whether or not they’re going to be protectionist in nature and whether or not they’ll turn — this country will turn its back on our friend or not.
Ode To Mr. Rogers
The free trade vote has a lot of strategic implications because in the neighborhood there is a person who is undermining a democracy, and therefore we need to be concerned about the loss of democracies in our neighborhood.
That Initiative Is All Done
And we’re working very closely with Brazil, for example, on a lot of initiatives, starting with the biodiesel initiative. It’s an interesting initiative, by the way. That has got — that initiative is all done because of national security interests and economic interests as well as environmental concerns.
In A Flight Suit
And Brazil makes a lot of ethanol and we’re beginning to make a lot of ethanol; it’s in our interests to share technologies to promote others so we become less dependent on oil — skipping around here.
There’s only one non-democracy in our neighborhood: that’s Cuba.
Or The CIA
One day, the good Lord will take Fidel Castro away — no, no, no — then, the question is, what will be the approach of the U.S. government?
There Is Not Any Issues
We’re working, by the way — back to your question, can we do more than one thing at one time — we’re working very closely with the Navy and Coast Guard to make sure that there is not any issues when it comes between the United States and Cuba, should there be a — when there is a transition.
Ode To Joseph Goebbels
Now, we’re not doing a very good job with the propaganda battle around the world. We created it, and we’re losing.
Q Mr. President, it was my great privilege to be a representative of the Royal Navy here at the Naval Command College class of 1994. It’s a huge privilege, clearly, to be here today, as well. We support and admire your country’s commitment and sacrifice in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world in the war on terror. But it strikes me that what you described today is very much a land-orientated campaign. What, if any, impact is that land campaign focus likely to have on your propensity to invest in a maritime strategy in the future, please?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, thanks. Yes. Now who exactly invited you here? Thank you, sir. Never mind, just kidding. It is a land-based campaign, because that’s where the enemy is. They hide in caves, and they hide in remote regions, and they try to destabilize countries. They try to create chaos. You’ve got to understand, chaos is the friend of these radicals. The more chaos there is, the more likely it is they’ll be able to find a place to roost.
Q Mr. President, I just returned from a week at the United States Army War College in Pennsylvania on national security. I walked away with so much more pride in our military. I would follow them anywhere. My question is: At the beginning of your speech — that you said that you consult with the military. With all due respect, sir, how much do you really listen and follow them?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, a lot.
Q Thank you very much. Our family was touched by 9/11, and I want to thank you very much for the support of the 9/11 families. Peter Dutton is my name. I’m from the Naval War College faculty. I wanted to ask you about your thoughts concerning strategic culmination. Are we —
THE PRESIDENT: Strategic —
Q Strategic culmination. In other words, are we getting to the point where we’re unable to continue to affect world events in other areas other than the Middle East because of our huge commitment there to the Middle East?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I appreciate that. Obviously, we’re constantly balancing — the first mission is, succeed in Iraq; let me just put it to you that way. And — yes, I think we are. I think we’re capable of dealing with more than one event at a time; witness the fact that we’ve got a lot of troops in Afghanistan.