>> Tuesday, August 31, 2004
I have been volunteering for the Bush/Cheney campaign here in Des Moines and helped earlier today with the President's visit. I and 3 others helped chaperone the press corps around, but we didn't get to meet with the President. Before going out to Alleman, he had a telephone interview with Rush Limbaugh.
THE PRESIDENT: Now, Iraq. You see, one of the lessons of September the 11th is that we gotta deal with threats before they fully materialize, and we saw a threat in Iraq. I say "we." The Congress saw a threat, I saw a threat and the United Nations Security Council saw a threat. In other words, the world took a look and said, "Saddam is a threat," and here's why they thought he was a threat. One, he used weapons of mass destruction, and one of the most dangerous parts of this new war is that if the enemy were ever to acquire the capacity to use a weapon of mass destruction it would make September 11th, you know, pale in comparison, and so we saw that threat.
Secondly, he had ties to terrorists. Abu Nidal was housed in Iraq, his organization. He was the guy that killed Leon Klinghoffer. He was a known terrorist. Zarqawi -- who's now, you know, the person beheading people in Iraq today -- was in and out of Baghdad and Iraq, as were members of his organization. So he had terrorist ties. As a matter of fact, not only did he have terrorist ties, he used to subsidize families of these suicide bombers, which is a terrorist act.
Thirdly, he invaded his neighbors. Fourthly, he was an enemy of this country, and we had been to war with him once. He had invaded others in the neighborhood. He was a source of great instability. So I saw a threat, and given the lessons of September the 11th, we decided to remove him from power, having tried diplomacy. See, I think it's very important for your listeners to know, Rush, that the commander-in-chief ought to try all avenues of diplomacy prior to committing troops and we did that. And so I'm sitting in the Oval Office, and I've seen a threat. I now see that he's ignoring the demands of the free world, he had no intention of disarming, as a matter of fact was systematically deceiving inspectors, and so I made the decision, a very difficult decision.
The way forward, which was to remove him from power -- and, by the way, we weren't "alone" going in. As a matter of fact, I talked to Tony Blair this morning, which I do on a regular basis, and Tony Blair saw the same threat. And so now the way ahead is this. We will work with Prime Minister Allawi to enable a political process to develop. In other words, we'll provide as much security as we can to help a political process forward which means elections in January, but more importantly we will train Iraqis so that they are capable of providing their own security, and that's an important ingredient about enabling me to say that troops will be there as long as necessary, but not a day longer -- and by that I mean when the Iraqis are capable of defending themselves and as the political process emerges, we will then be in a position to say the mission has been completed, which is a democratic Iraq, an ally in the war on terror and a source of stability in a part of the world that needs stability and freedom.
More of this and Kerry is toast. Kerry cannot compete in this league.