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   Vol. 68/No. 7           February 23, 2004  
Bush on TV: ‘I am a war president’
(front page)
WASHINGTON, D.C.—“I’m a war president,” declared George W. Bush in a TV interview at the White House aired February 8 on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday morning show. “I make decisions here in the Oval Office on foreign policy matters with war on my mind,” he continued. “And the American people need to know they got a president who sees the world the way it is.”

Bush drew extensively in his remarks on recent testimony by David Kay at the Senate Armed Services Committee. The statements by Kay, a former top U.S. weapons “inspector” in Iraq, have boosted the administration’s case for the U.S.-led war and occupation of that country. Bush’s interview was broadcast a few days after similar public appearances by U.S. secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld and CIA director George Tenet. (See article in this issue, “Kay testimony aids war party in the U.S.”)

Asked by interviewer Tim Russert how he would respond to critics who charge that the president decided to go to war on false pretenses, Bush answered, “But David Kay did report to the American people that Saddam had the capacity to make weapons…. Saddam Hussein was dangerous with the ability to make weapons.”

Bush also emphasized the need for “pre-emptive” action. “It is essential that when we see a threat, we deal with those threats before they become imminent,” he said. “It’s too late if they become imminent. It’s too late in this new kind of war.”

Questioned later whether the lives of 530 U.S. soldiers killed and many more wounded in Iraq so far are justified given that the occupying forces have not uncovered “weapons of mass destruction”—one of the administration’s main rationalizations for launching the assault on Baghdad—Bush said, “For the parents of the soldiers who have fallen who are listening, David Kay, the weapons inspector, came back and said, ‘In many ways Iraq was more dangerous than we thought.’ We are in a war against these terrorists.”

Bush added that when Kay was asked if the president had made the right decision to attack Iraq, he said yes. “In other words,” said Bush, “the evidence we have uncovered thus far says we had no choice.”

When asked about his appointment of a commission to investigate “intelligence flaws” leading up to the Iraq war, Bush acknowledged there were problems. He stated that they will be solved by improving the spying capabilities of the CIA and similar government agencies. The commission, he said, is “really set up to make sure the intelligence services provide as good a product as possible for future presidents as well.”

Bush also stressed the continuity in foreign policy between his administration and that of the previous president, William Clinton. He said that Congress backed the decision to go to war on the “same intelligence I had… The same information, by the way, that my predecessor had. And all of us made this judgment that Saddam Hussein needed to be removed.”
Related articles:
Kay testimony aids war party in the U.S.
Another boost for war party  
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