Wednesday, March 22, 2006
At the press conference yesterday, George finally recognised her after snubbing her for three years. I guess that she had caught him a bit off guard, when she asked how he could stand on a platform that was based on both religious and political beliefs, so he simply didn't answer the question, and discontinued a tradition of many years, that always let Helen ask the first question at the White House press conferences...
So...Acting like this whole thing is a game, George says...
Helen. After that brilliant performance at the Grid Iron, I am -- (laughter.
And Helen says...
Q You're going to be sorry. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Well, then, let me take it back. (Laughter.)
Anyhoo...Helen Thomas, the "Grand Old Lady" of White House conferences since the Kennedy administrations,
has fielded a question, which should be addressed. In case you didn't hear the entire question...it was...
Q I'd like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your Cabinet -- your Cabinet officers, intelligence people, and so forth -- what was your real reason? You have said it wasn't oil - quest for oil, it hasn't been Israel, or anything else. What was it?
Well...George did it again. He didn't answer the question. his reply was that ...No president wants war. The truth is that the Neoconservatives were planning on going into Iraq before 911. Helen who is 85 years old knows that, and George W Bush knows that.
Bush also tried to say that Iraq provided safe haven for Al Qaeda, and Helen had to correct him...
Part of that meant to make sure that we didn't allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy. And that's why I went into Iraq -- hold on for a second --
Q They didn't do anything to you, or to our country.
THE PRESIDENT: Look -- excuse me for a second, please. Excuse me for a second. They did. The Taliban provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That's where al Qaeda trained --
Q I'm talking about Iraq --
THE PRESIDENT: Helen, excuse me. That's where -- Afghanistan provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That's where they trained. That's where they plotted. That's where they planned the attacks that killed thousands of innocent Americans.
George also said that we worked with the world, when in truth ...we went in unilaterally, on what George Galloway so aptly described it, on a lie.
I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. That's why I went to the Security Council; that's why it was important to pass 1441, which was unanimously passed. And the world said, disarm, disclose, or face serious consequences --
Q -- go to war --
THE PRESIDENT: -- and therefore, we worked with the world, we worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did, and the world is safer for it.
Q Thank you, sir. Secretary Rumsfeld -- (laughter.)
Q Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: You're welcome. (Laughter.) I didn't really regret it. I kind of semi-regretted it. (Laughter.)
Q -- have a debate.
THE PRESIDENT: That's right. Anyway, your performance at the Grid Iron was just brilliant -- unlike Holland's, was a little weak, but -- (laughter.)
I stand in defence of Helen Thomas. An 85 year old senior reporter, who fielded questions that weren't answered by a long shot....