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Bush: War is my last option....

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Get with the times or get buried....To all those who are so convinced that we are going to war just for oil.....i do not agree with you....but anyway....here is an interesting read...

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PRESIDENT AND MRS. BUSH SPEAK TO BARBARA WALTERS IN COMPREHENSIVE INTERVIEW AIRING ON “20/20,†DECEMBER 13, 10 PM ON ABC

“War is my last option, not my first option,†President George W. Bush tells Barbara Walters about the possibility of invading Iraq during an exclusive year-end interview for ABC News’ “20/20.†The President also addresses concerns over the ballistic missiles recently discovered on a ship from North Korea. “I view this as an opportunity for the United States to work not only closely with of course South Korea and Japan to make sure that the Korean Peninsula was nuclear weapons free, but also it’s a unique moment for us to work with the Chinese and to forge a different relationship to solve a common problem, as well as work with the Russians.†The far-reaching interview which also includes First Lady Laura Bush, as well as a private tour of the White House and its Christmas décor, airs on 20/20,†Friday, December 13, 10-11 p.m. ET on ABC.

Regarding the energy policy in relation to terrorism, the President says: “The war on terror has nothing to do with oil. The war on terror is saving innocent lives.â€

The President also says that since September 11, 2001, the “fundamental shift in foreign policy is a result of America now realizing that we’re now a battlefield.â€

Regarding the economy, President Bush says that although “too many people are not working, we do have positive growth, and so therefore, I’m going to propose yet another economic stimulus.â€

This is the second year in a row that “20/20†has the first year-end interview with the President and First Lady, as well as a comprehensive look at the White House at the holidays. The interview took place on Wednesday, December 11.

IRAQ

BARBARA WALTERS

“Mr. President, what is on everyone’s mind, obviously, is Iraq. And the Iraqis of course say they have no weapons of mass destruction. Do you think that Saddam Hussein is lying?â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“Too early to tell. He certainly has deceived the world in the past, and, time will tell.

The issue is, what should be on people’s mind is peace, how to achieve peace in a dangerous world. And what’s interesting for Americans to understand, Barbara is that, our world changed on September 11th, 2001 in this way. It changed a lot of ways for a lot of people, but the fundamental shift in foreign policy is a result of America now realizing that we’re now a battlefield.â€

BARBARA WALTERS

“What is your gut feeling? You’re a man who talks about your instincts and your gut. What’s your gut feeling about this report?â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“I don’t want to prejudge the report. But my gut feeling about Saddam Hussein is that he is a man who deceives, denies. He’s a man who states his power through torture and murder. I have great sympathy for the Iraqi people. I believe in freedom for all, and I am appalled by a regime that mistreats people the way Saddam Hussein has mistreated the Iraqi people.â€

BARBARA WALTERS

“You’ve said that the burden of proof is on Iraq to show that it has no weapons of mass destruction, but isn’t the burden of proof also on us and people are saying, if they have proof, why not share it?

PRESIDENT BUSH

“Iraq’s a big country. He’s got the capacity to hide weapons. He’s got the capacity to continue his deceit and denial. The burden of proof is on him to disarm. This isn’t really about inspectors. The inspectors are simply there to verify that in fact he is disarming, and so we’ll look at his paper that he has submitted and we’ll analyze it completely and we’ll have comments at the appropriate time about what we find in his document. But the question is will Mr. Saddam Hussein disarm in the name of peace? That’s what the world has come together to say. And a 15 to zero UN Security Council vote, as well as an unanimous vote amongst NATO members, for example, the world is saying, Mr. Saddam, you disarm. And therefore, he must disarm.â€

BARBARA WALTERS

“Okay, but if we don’t find the so-called smoking gun in this enormous report, would you then say, here’s our proof?â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“I can tell you that if he does not disarm, he will be disarmed in the name of peace.â€

BARBARA WALTERS

“Well, if you were certain that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, would you go ahead with the war on Iraq without the support of the United Nations?â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“You’re doing a find job of trying to pin me down on the hypothetical... and I will deal with those issues if they come. But let me talk about war in general if you don’t mind. War is my last option, not my first option. See, it’s easy in this town for people to commit troops, the US troops, to combat, through opinion and the noise you hear in Washington. But there’s only one person who is responsible for making that decision, and that’s me. And there’s only one person who hugs the mothers and the widows, the wives and the kids on the death of their loved ones. Others hug, but having committed the troops, I’ve got an additional responsibility to hug, and that’s me, and I know what it’s like. It’s hard to know that you’ve sent a loved one into battle and the loved one doesn’t return. Obviously, therefore, you know, when people talk about war here in Washington, you got to know I think awfully hard about the commitment of troops. And obviously if troops are committed to Iraq, I will have made the decision that we will save more lives by military action than otherwise. In other words the commitment of troops will be to not only enforce doctrine, but more importantly will be to enforce peace so that peace lasts.â€

BARBARA WALTERS

“Mr. President, some people have said that the reason that you are so adamant about getting rid of Saddam Hussein was that he wasn't abolished when your father declared war and that a lot of this is your personal feelings about your father…Is it wrong?â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“…Yeah. Well, listen, I have a deep desire to protect America. I see the world the way it really is. I know things changed on September 11th. We're now a battlefield and I will lead this nation and our friends and allies, and defeat terror. And Iraq is part of the terrorist war.â€

BARBARA WALTERS

“But it's not doing what we'd call like a make good for your father.â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“No, It's the task is much greater than anything that might have happened in the past with my family. The task is peace and the security of the United States of America and the defense of freedom.â€

NORTH KOREA

BARBARA WALTERS

“On the subject of defense – the ballistic missiles discovered on a ship from North Korea. Why aren’t they as big a threat to us as Iraq?â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“Well, first of all, I hope the American people are beginning to see we deal with each issue different ways. In other words not every issue requires a potential military response. There’s ways to keep the peace through diplomatic pressure, through alliance and that’s what we’re doing in the Korean Peninsula…

I view this as an opportunity for the United States to work not only closely with of course South Korea and Japan to make sure that the Korean Peninsula was nuclear weapons free, but also it’s a unique moment for us to work with the Chinese and to forge a different relationship to solve a common problem, as well as work with the Russians. And I’m hopeful that the diplomatic pressure and our working together will convince the North Koreans that they should abandon any hopes for the development of a nuclear weapon.â€

BARBARA WALTERS

“Were you upset when you heard about the ballistic missiles on that ship?â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“I don’t think upset is the right word. I was mindful that we have an obligation to make sure that ballistic missiles, for example, aren’t in the hands of world nations.

And we did what I think the American people want us to do, which is to make sure we find out to where that ship was destined.â€

ECONOMIC/DOMESTIC POLICY

BARBARA WALTERS

“Mr. President, we asked the audience of our program called The View to e-mail us questions. And almost all of the questions had to do not with Iraq but with the economy. Last week we learned that unemployment is now six percent ... you fired your treasury secretary, your top economic adviser, a government report showed that the economy is weak, people are still losing jobs, businesses aren’t hiring. Does this mean that your economic policy isn’t working? That’s what people want to know.â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“When people can’t find work, I’m worried about it ... like your viewers are worried about it.

And so I believe that while you painted not a pretty picture there, I can give you some positive news. Inflation is low, interest rates are low, productivity is up and while too many people are not working, we do have positive growth, and so therefore, I’m going to propose yet another economic stimulus. And I say yet another because in the first two year of my administration, we cut taxes, which helped create economic growth and vitality in the face of a recession. We passed a Terrorism Insurance Bill, which will help our hard hats get back to work. We have got positive things with the Congress in order to make sure that the framework for economic vitality is strong. And I will come forward with another plan here for Congress to, to pass, to make sure that the growth we have in place is even stronger.â€

BARBARA WALTERS

“You know that people say that your father was not reelected because he didn’t pay enough attention to the domestic policy. I mean, I’m sure you know, you read that everyday and people then say, ‘well are you giving it enough time?’ Are you going to do something else besides cutting taxes?â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“Well, we have. We’ve got the Terrorism Insurance Bill, for example. I worked very closely with a lot of the union leaders here in Washington, D.C. to get this bill passed through the United States Congress to make sure that large real estate and construction projects, which have been put on hold, will go forward so our hard hats can get back to work. Working with both parties or people in both parties to get something done so people can try and work. There’s also a natural cyclicality to the economy. In other words, we were bottomed out in a recession and now the economy is beginning to grow, and it’s positive but it’s not good enough, and so I’m going to continue to work with members of Congress to get plans in place that encourage economic vitality and growth, particularly with the small business sector.â€

BARBARA WALTERS

“Can we afford the massive cost of protecting the Homeland Security, possible war on Iraq, fighting terrorism? Can we do all that and cut taxes?â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“Well, first of all, you’ve got to understand that the reason why we have a deficit now is not because of a tax cut. It’s because of the recession. And so the first question is how do we stimulate economic growth so that we can get more tax revenues coming into our treasury? And of course we’re going to have to spend what it takes to fight the war on terrorism.â€

OSAMA BIN LADEN AND AL QAEDA

BARBARA WALTERS

“Now that our government has confirmed that that tape of Osama bin Laden was probably authentic, how important do you think it is now that we find him?â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“Well, first of all, the war on terror is larger than any single person of course. What’s important is we continue to disrupt his network, to bring people to justice and to haul ‘em in, as I like to put it. And, you know, he’s holed up somewhere

evidently, and we’ll find him over time. He’s not leading a lot of parades these days, however. He’s got lieutenants scattered around and slowly but surely we’ll, we’ll bring him justice. The massive alliance we put together right after September 11th is still intact. We’ve got great cooperation with our friends and allies around the world. We’re sharing intelligence, we’re cutting off money, and when we find him holed up somewhere we’re going in, either we or our buddies are going in to, to bring him to justice.

“And, the head of the whole operation in Yemen no longer, no longer exists. One of the top generals in the Gulf region for al Qaeda was apprehended the other day, and we’re making great progress. But the thing that the American people must understand is we’ve got a lot more work to do. This is a war, Barbara, the likes of which we have never seen before in our history. And I promised the people right after September the 11th that we would not ... we would not tire in our effort to make sure that not only people were brought to justice, but that our children could grow up in a peaceful society, and I will continue to uphold that promise and continue to do everything in our power to bring people to justice.â€

BARBARA WALTERS

“Mrs. Bush, is it true that your husband has the scorecard on terrorists that he looks at and crosses off names? We’ve read that.â€

MRS. BUSH

“No. I’ve never heard that before.â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“Well she was not there when I started crossing off names. Look, I…â€

MRS. BUSH

“He doesn’t tell me everything.â€

BARBARA WALTERS

“Maybe he doesn’t want to scare you.â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“Thanks a lot for bringing it up. Of course I want to know whether or not the top al Qaeda generals have been brought to justice. I think it’s very important for people to be held to account, and therefore when I talk to our senior operators, senior officials, I on occasion ask for a summary of where we are. We must do everything we can to find these people, and I need to know myself whether or not we’re making progress, and we are. We’re slowly but surely dismantling an army, which is much different than the previous armies our nation has had to fight. These are people that hide in caves, they hide in kind of the dark corners of society, and they use suiciders as their forward army. And we will stay on the hunt. This is an international manhunt… They’re cold blooded killers.â€

BARBARA WALTERS

“Are they in this country?â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“If they are, we’re going to do everything we can to find them. They were in this country and caused massive deaths.â€

BARBARA WALTERS

“Are they now?â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“Well I mean, I think we have to assume they are. And we’re doing everything we can to share intelligence, to run ‘em down, to find them, to disrupt, to deny. It’s a great country based upon freedoms and, inherent in a free country is the capacity for killers to come and hide out, but we’re on alert. We fully understand the stakes.â€

SAUDI ARABIA

BARBARA WALTERS

“After 9/11 you said nations are either with us or against us, and things seem not so black and white now. And of course we read about Saudi Arabia which continues to be accused of financially aiding terrorists and of their schools still teaching hate. So how is Saudi Arabia with us?â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“Well, first, perhaps it will help you know that I’ve got a very good relationship with the Crown Prince Abdullah. And I admire Crown Prince Abdullah. I believe he is as we say ‘the genuine article.’ He is a good, honest man. And my discussions with the Crown Prince, he has assured me that the Saudi government will do everything they can to disrupt finances headed towards terrorists. I explained to the Crown Prince that obviously there is an issue in America when, you know, 16 I guess of the 19 highjackers were Saudis, and therefore the American people are skeptical.

And so we’re continuing to work with the Saudis to do everything we can to cut off money. They are on occasion, like other friends in the area, arresting people that we have highlighted as al Qaeda type menace. They themselves are worried about al Qaeda. I mean, the government itself is worried about bin Laden that could try to harm the Saudi people through terrorist attacks. We’re making progress in the relationship to join together to fight off the terrorist activities.â€

GAS MASKS

BARBARA WALTERS

“I have heard that everyone in the White House has been issued a gas mask.â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“Really?

Well, first of all, if that’s true, I’m certainly not going to tell the enemy. And secondly, I don’t know where mine is.â€

MRS. BUSH

“I don’t know where mine is.â€

OIL – TERRORISM

BARBARA WALTERS

“Do you think there’s… so much of it about oil, shouldn’t we be changing our energy policy?â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“Yeah, we ought to be changing our energy policy, but the war on terror has nothing to do about oil. The war on terror is saving innocent life.â€

BARBARA WALTERS

“But Saudi Arabia, hasn’t that got to do with oil? Our relationship with them?â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“You know, Venezuela has got things to do with oil, Russia’s got things to do. When you’re dependent upon oil like we are in America, we must have an energy policy that diversifies away from dependency, and that’s why I think we need to have the development of safe nuclear power, clean coal technologies. You bet we’ve got to diversify our energy supply. As I like to tell people, I say, you know, ‘We’re dependent upon foreign sources of oil, and sometimes those foreign sources don’t like America.’â€

IF THERE IS A WAR…

BARBARA WALTERS

“Mrs. Bush, you have comforted so many people in this country in the last few years. If there should be a war, and your husband talks how about the decision is his, what would you say to the, the mothers, the fathers the husbands, the wives? “

MRS. BUSH

“Well, I see military men and women everywhere all the time. I see the parents whose children have enlisted or serving already. I visited military bases in Aviano, Italy and in Bosnia and here across the United States to talk about a Troops to Teachers program, about retiring military teaching. And every single military person I see around the country is very devoted to their job. And they know that when they signed up, that they are taking the chance that they’ll sacrifice, and their family members are very, very proud of them. What I say to those people is that I’m so proud of them. They make me really proud to be an American.â€

SEPTEMBER 11th

BARBARA WALTERS

“You have recently assigned Henry Kissinger to look into what conditions led to 9/11. And I had read that at one point you said to your wife ‘was I responsible for any of this? Should I have known more?’â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“I don’t think whoever wrote that obviously hadn’t talked to Laura and me, but look, first of all, I’m honored that Henry Kissinger, one of the great public servants of our country, has agreed to take on this assignment, which is to analyze, what was known, why other evidence wasn’t known on the roughly decade leading up to September 11th, so that we can learn lessons from the past and better prepare for the future. That’s what the Commissioner is meant to do.â€

BARBARA WALTERS

“You didn’t feel that maybe there was more you could have done...â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“Listen, if I’d have known al Qaeda was going to use an airplane to murder Americans, you can bet I’d have acted. And I would have done everything in my power, used every asset available to me to have prevented the attacks. Book it.â€

BARBARA WALTERS

“Is that the way he talks to you?â€

MRS. BUSH

“Every once in a while.â€

RELYING ON HIS INSTINCT

BARBARA WALTERS

“You know you’ve talked in the Bob Woodward book, you said, ‘I’m not a text book player. I’m a gut player. I rely on my instincts.’ Can you give us an example of where your insights were right or where they were wrong?â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“My instincts are that ... here’s my instincts ... and they’re consistent. If people, if a person does not respect freedom, if somebody is repressive, if somebody doesn’t understand the value of freedom, that person is a failed leader right off the bat. That’s an instinct. And so I make judgments based upon, many times based upon on a value system that I believe is true and universal.â€

BARBARA WALTERS

“Are you a gut player, an instinct player?â€

MRS. BUSH

“Sort of, I guess. Slightly. Maybe not as much as he is, but you know, I think he has really good judgment, and nearly every time in our whole 25 years of marriage, when he’s made a decision it’s been right, and I know it. When you talk about instincts or that judgment, what you’re really talking about is somebody who knows people and who understands people and who can really read people when he’s with them, and he certainly can do that.â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“Let me clarify the decision making process here. It might help answer your question as well. First of all, a president has got to have really good people around, and I do.â€

BARBARA WALTERS

“Even if they disagree.â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“Absolutely. I want them to disagree. And, you know, there would be nothing worse than to have everybody think the same thing about every issue. As a matter of fact, I’m the kind of person that stirs it up a little bit to try to get discourse. But I think the best decisions are those in which everybody feels very comfortable about expressing their opinions. So, I mean, when you say gut instincts, it is very important, though, when decisions are made that there be input from very capable people who are, who are encouraged to speak freely, and that’s what happens in this White House. But a president is a decision maker, and once I receive input, I make up my mind. And I am not afraid to decide. And I listen carefully to facts, but as Bob Woodward reflected, if you’d asked I do have, I mean, I’ve got basic instincts that I trust, trust my judgment.â€

THE PRESIDENT’S TRUSTED ADVISOR

BARBARA WALTERS

“Are you one of his most trusted advisors?â€

MRS. BUSH

“Well, certainly not in foreign affairs or domestic adviser. I mean, that’s not my expertise.â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“Yes, she is one of my most trusted advisers.â€

MRS. BUSH

“But of course we talk you know, our relationship is such that we are each other’s advisers. Although I will have to say, neither one of us really wants to get a lot of advice from the other one.â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“Laura is a trusted adviser. She’s got fantastic instincts. She’s got great judgment. And she’s not afraid to express her opinion, which I value. We’ve got a great marriage, and one of the reasons it’s great is because we both can speak our mind in a way that’s not offensive to the other.â€

COMFORTING EACH OTHER

BARBARA WALTERS

“Do you still have worries? Do you still have fears?â€

MRS. BUSH

“Sure. I mean, you know, we have a lot of challenges in our country. We're facing something we've never faced before, something very different from anything Americans have faced. I have a lot of confidence. I have a lot of confidence in my husband, I have a lot of confidence in the American people; but, you know, there are moments when you wake up at night and say a little prayer.â€

BARBARA WALTERS

“You comfort each other?â€

PRESIDENT BUSH

“You bet.â€

BARBARA WALTERS

“Do you feel that your husband needs you now more than ever?â€

MRS. BUSH

“Sure. And we need each other. I mean I need him a lot to comfort me.â€

END;)

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