September 28, 2004

Bush on O'Reilly

I don't know what to make of this exchange. I'm terrified I might become shrill:
O'REILLY: "The Wall Street Journal" says — and that's a conservative paper — that the Defense Department and the Pentagon wasn't aggressive enough in getting al-Sadr and then crushing Fallujah.

BUSH: Yes.

O'REILLY: Is the "Journal" wrong?

BUSH: I think that the government of Iraq, Allawi, did a good job in Najaf with Sadr. In other words, they now control the shrines, and they did so in a way that he, Allawi, thought would be best for the political process. In other words, there's a dual track here. There's a political process going forward and a security operation going forward. And the two must be parallel. And Allawi made the decision that the best operation in Najaf would be the way we handled it. And if they're saying that maybe last fall we should have moved on Sadr, it's a judgment call that history will have to look back on.

O'REILLY: Fallujah: Should we have crushed it when we could have?

BUSH: Well, there again, there was a dual track with a political process going forward. A lot of people on the ground there thought that if we'd have gone into Fallujah at the time, the interim government would not have been established. And if the government would not have been established, we wouldn't have been able to transfer sovereignty.

I happen to think the transfer of sovereignty is a key moment in the history of a free Iraq. The reason I believe that is that the Iraq people are going to follow Iraqi leadership, not U.S. leadership. And Prime Minister Allawi's been there for about two and a half months, nearly three months. He's getting his feet on the ground. He's establishing a government, they're training police, they're training army, they're beginning to move out in, in places like Samarra and Najaf in order to make the place a more peaceful country.
"But Allawi didn't— But Sistani— But you went— But Fallujah— Bu-B-B-AAAAAIIIIII!!!!"
-- Brad Plumer 4:19 PM || ||