Find the Whopper!
From the August 30 edition of MNSBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews - Excerpts from Brian Williams' interview with George Bush - courtesy of Media Matters:
When you take a tour of the world, a lot of Americans email me with their fears that, you know, some days they wake up and it just feels to them like the end of the world is near, and you go from North Korea, to Iran, to Iraq, to Afghanistan and you look at how things have changed. How Americans are viewed overseas, if that is important to you. Do you have any moments of doubt that we fought the wrong war, that there is something wrong with the perception of America overseas?Bush:
Well, those are two different questions. Did we fight the wrong war? And the answer is, I have no doubt. The war came to our shores, remember that. We had a foreign policy that basically said, "Let's hope calm works," and we were attacked.Williams:
But those weren't Iraqis.Bush:
No, I agree. They weren't Iraqis, nor did I ever say that Iraq ordered that attack. But they are part of -- Iraq is part of the struggle against the terrorists. These terrorists have made it clear they want us to leave Iraq prematurely. And why is it? Because they want a safe haven. They'd love to get a hold of oil. They have territorial ambitions. And no, I think fighting this war is the absolute right thing to do.Williams:
Now, in terms of image, of course I worry about American image. We're great at TV, and we're getting crushed in the PR front. And so, we try to work hard and try to work smart about how we get a message out that says we respect Islam. We just reject the ideology of extremists who kill innocent people to achieve political objectives. And we've got to do a harder job.
But somehow people -- if what you're saying is if we retreat for the sake of popularity, is that the smart thing to do? And my answer is absolutely not. It would be a huge mistake to give the battlefield to these extremists. We retreat; they follow us. And I see it as clearly as day. And I understand the challenge, and I understand -- I also understand the frustrations of our citizens.
Let's, if we might, get back to 9-11 for one second. Has there ever been an effort to link the two? How far have you gone?Bush:
No, I really haven't. Because I'm very careful. I understand what happens when you lay something out that people can tear apart. It hurts credibility. And you know, I personally do not believe Saddam Hussein picked up the phone and said to Al Qaeda, "Attack America."Williams:
How close was he associated with Al Qaeda, in your view?Bush:
Well, he was -- he was on our state sponsor of terrorists list. And he was paying families of suiciders. He has -- he also, by the way, had weapons of mass destruction one time and had the capacity to make them. And that's a dangerous mix. We didn't put him on the state sponsor of terrorists list. The previous administrations put him on the state sponsor of terrorists list.Williams:
Do you see that the argument that some on the left make that the war in Iraq has amounted to a colossal recruitment poster in the fundamentalist world?Bush:
No, I don't see that at all. The fundamentalist world attacked the United States and killed 3,000 people before I even thought about removing Saddam Hussein from power. I just don't buy that argument. It is an argument that's not based upon fact.