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Words of wisdom from America's leaders

"I had other priorities in the '60s than military service. I don't regret the decisions I made. I complied fully with all the requirements of the statutes, registered with the draft when I turned 18. Had I been drafted, I would have been happy to serve. I think those who did in fact serve deserve to be honored for their service.... Was it a noble cause? Yes, indeed, I think it was."
Congressman Dick Cheney in 1989,
describing his five deferments during the Vietnam War

"If you're going to go in and try to topple Saddam Hussein, you have to go to Baghdad. Once you've got Baghdad, it's not clear what you do with it. It's not clear what kind of government you would put in place of the one that's currently there now. Is it going to be a Shia regime, a Sunni regime or a Kurdish regime? Or one that tilts toward the Ba'athists, or one that tilts toward the Islamic fundamentalists? How much credibility is that government going to have if it's set up by the United States military when it's there? How long does the United States military have to stay to protect the people that sign on for that govern-ment, and what happens to it once we leave?"

"There's nothing good about drug use. We know it. It destroys individuals. It destroys families. Drug use destroys societies. Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. And the laws are good because we know what happens to people in societies and neighborhoods, which become consumed by them. And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up."
What about the disparity in sentencing between white drug users and black drug users?
"What this says to me is that too many whites are getting away with drug use. Too many whites are getting away with drug sales. Too many whites are getting away with trafficking in this stuff. The answer to this disparity is not to start letting people out of jail because we're not putting others in jail who are breaking the law. The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river, too."

"It's vile. It's more sad than anything else, to see someone with such potential throw it all down the drain because of a sexual addiction."
Rep. Mark Foley (R-Florida),
commenting on Bill Clinton's sex scandal,
Sept. 12, 1998

Have you ever used drugs? Marijuana, cocaine?
"I'm not going talk about what I did as a child. What I'm going to talk about and I'm going to say this consistently: It is irrelevant what I did 20 to 30 years ago. What's relevant is that I have learned from any mistakes that I made. I do not want to send signals to anybody that what Governor Bush did 30 years ago is cool to try."

"Even though I'm a tranquil guy now at this stage of my life, I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the identity of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors."

"I am someone who is a uniter, not a divider. I don't believe in group thought, pitting one group of people against another."

"The administration I'll bring is a group of men and women who are focused on what's best for America, honest men and women, decent men and women, women who will see service to our country as a great privilege and who will not stain the house."

"When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and you knew exactly who they were. It was us vs them, and it was clear who them was. Today, we are not so sure who the they are, but we know they're there."

"By far, the vast majority of my tax cuts go to the bottom end of the spectrum."

"I worry. I'm very worried about, you know, the kid who just wonders whether America is meant for him. I really worry about that. And uh, so, I'm running for a reason. I'm answering this question here and the answer is, you cannot lead America to a positive tomorrow with revenge on one's mind. Revenge is so incredibly negative."

"This is a world that is much more uncertain than the past. In the past we were certain, we were certain it was us versus the Russians in the past. We were certain, and therefore we had huge nuclear arsenals aimed at each other to keep the peace. That's what we were certain of ... You see, even though it's an uncertain world, we're certain of some things. We're certain that even though the 'evil empire' may have passed, evil still remains. We're certain there are people that can't stand what America stands for ... We're certain there are madmen in this world, and there's terror, and there's missiles and I'm certain of this, too: I'm certain to maintain the peace, we better have a military of high morale, and I'm certain that under this [Clinton-Gore] administration, morale in the military is dangerously low."

"A generation shaped by Vietnam must remember the lessons of Vietnam: When America uses force in the world, the cause must be just, the goal must be clear and the victory must be overwhelming."

"When I put my hand on the Bible that day in January 2001, I will swear — I will swear to uphold the laws of the land. But I will also swear to uphold the honor and the integrity of the office to which I have been elected, so help me God."

"In my administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs will act as an advocate for veterans seeking benefit claims, not as an adversary."

"When you turn your heart and your life over to Christ, when you accept Christ as the savior, it changes your heart, it changes your life, and that's what happened to me."

"Americans are tired of investigations and scandal. And the best way to get rid of them is to elect a new president who will bring a new administration, who will restore honor and dignity to the White House."

"I'm not sure the role of the United States is to go around the world and say 'this is the way it's got to be…' I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders."

"I think credibility is important. It's going to be important to be the — for the president to be credible with Congress, important for the president to be credible with foreign nations. And yes, I think it's something that people need to consider."

"I want to be judicious as to how to use the military. It needs to be in our vital interest, the mission needs to be clear, and the exit strategy obvious."

"The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States unless and until the state legislature chooses a statewide election as the means to implement its power to appoint members of the Electoral College. U.S. Const., Art. II, §1. This is the source for the statement in McPherson v. Blacker, 146 U.S. 1, 35 (1892), that the State legislature's power to select the manner for appointing electors is plenary; it may, if it so chooses, select the electors itself, which indeed was the manner used by State legislatures in several States for many years after the Framing of our Constitution. Id., at 28-33. History has now favored the voter, and in each of the several States the citizens themselves vote for Presidential electors. When the state legislature vests the right to vote for President in its people, the right to vote as the legislature has prescribed is fundamental; and one source of its fundamental nature lies in the equal weight accorded to each vote and the equal dignity owed to each voter. The State, of course, after granting the franchise in the special context of Article II, can take back the power to appoint electors. See id., at 35 ("[T]here is no doubt of the right of the legislature to resume the power at any time, for it can neither be taken away nor abdicated") (quoting S. Rep. No. 395, 43d Cong., 1st Sess.)."

"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."

"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
President George W. Bush
sworn into office, Jan. 20, 2001

"I look forward to doing what is right to make the world more peaceful."

"We must remember the high standards that come with high office. This begins [with] careful adherence to the rules. I expect every member of this administration to stay well within the boundaries that define legal and ethical conduct."

"[Saddam Husssein] has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors."

"Does Saddam now have weapons of mass destruction? Sure, he does. We know he has chemical weapons. We know he has biological weapons. We have been unable to ferret them out and find them. We couldn't do it when we had inspectors on the ground. We won't be able to do it if the inspectors return. How far he's gone on the nuclear weapons side, I don't think we really know. My guess is it's further than we think. It's always further than we think because we limit ourselves, as we think about this, to what we're able to prove and demonstrate. And unless you believe that we have uncovered everything, you have to assume there is more than we're able to report. And that's the history of these things."

"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones you have to concentrate on."

"Tax relief is central to my plan to encourage economic growth, and we can proceed with tax relief without fear of budget deficits, even if the economy softens. Projections for the surplus in my budget are cautious and conservative. They already assume an economic slowdown in the year 2001."

"And there is universal support for the American people, sadness in their voice; but understanding that we have just seen the war of the 21st century. And there is universal approval of the statements I have made, and I am confident there will be universal approval of the actions this government takes."

"We need to counter the shockwave of the evildoer by having individual rate cuts accelerated and by thinking about tax rebates."

"I want Congress to hear loud and clear, it is unacceptable behavior to leak classified information when we have troops at risk."

"We must speak the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th, malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists themselves, away from the guilty."

"Well, this is a process that we set in motion; the president signed the order yesterday. And basically, what it says is it sets up a procedure whereby he will make the decision in each case in terms of whether or not a particular suspect, individual who's come into our custody is transferred, if you will, from the traditional sort of criminal procedural branch of our government through the courts over to the special military tribunals."

... how did you feel when you heard about the terrorist attack?
"... I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower — the TV was obviously on. And I used to fly, myself, and I said, well, there's one terrible pilot. I said, it must have been a horrible accident.

But I was whisked off there, I didn't have much time to think about it. And I was sitting in the classroom, and Andy Card, my Chief of Staff, who is sitting over here, walked in and said, 'A second plane has hit the tower, America is under attack.'"

"To those who pit Americans against immigrants, and citizens against non-citizens; to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty; my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists — for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies, and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil."

"Our efforts have been crafted carefully to avoid infringing on constitutional rights, while saving American lives. ... Charges of kangaroo courts and shredding the Constitution give new meaning to the term 'fog of war.'"

"I've been to war. I've raised twins. If I had a choice, I'd rather go to war."

"Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for Him. Christianity is a faith in which God sends his son to die for you."

"I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk. Let me give simple, responsible reasons: (1) It was a cakewalk last time; (2) they've become much weaker; (3) we've become much stronger; and (4) now we're playing for keeps.

"Civilized people — Muslims, Christians and Jews — all understand that the source of freedom and human dignity is the Creator. ... We are a nation called to defend freedom — a tradition that is not a grant of any government or document, but is an endowment from God."

"Fuck Saddam. We're taking him out."

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile. All of this reporting about hijacking was about traditional hijacking. You take a plane — people were worried they might blow one up, but they were mostly worried that they might try to take a plane and use it for release of the blind Sheikh or some of their own people."

"Based on everything I've seen, I do not believe anyone could have prevented the horror of September the 11th."

"I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace. We want there to be peace. We want people to live in peace all around the world. I mean, our vision for peace extends beyond America. We believe in peace in South Asia. We believe in peace in the Middle East. We're going to be steadfast toward a vision that rejects terror and killing, and honors peace and hope."

"We need common sense judges who understand that our rights are derived from God. Those are the kind of judges I intend to put on the bench."

"I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. Thank you. Now, watch this drive."

"There's no telling how many wars it will take to secure freedom in the homeland."

"Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists. Alliances with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints."

"Regime change in Iraq would bring about a number of benefits to the region. When the gravest of threats are eliminated, the freedom-loving peoples of the region will have a chance to promote the values that can bring lasting peace. As for the reaction of the Arab "street," the Middle East expert Professor Fouad Ajami predicts that after liberation, the streets in Basra and Baghdad are "sure to erupt in joy in the same way the throngs in Kabul greeted the Americans." Extremists in the region would have to rethink their strategy of Jihad. Moderates throughout the region would take heart. And our ability to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process would be enhanced, just as it was following the liberation of Kuwait in 1991."

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us."

"We do know that he is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon. ... We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons."

"We do know that the Iraqi regime has chemical and biological weapons. His regime has amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons — including VX, sarin, cyclosarin and mustard gas."

"No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq."

"The Senate is more interested in special interests in Washington and not interested in the security of the American people."

"The danger to our country is grave. The danger to our country is growing. The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons. The Iraqi regime is building the facilities necessary to make more biological and chemical weapons. And according to the British government, the Iraqi regime could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order were given."

"The danger to America from the Iraqi regime is grave and growing. ... In defiance of pledges to the United Nations, Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons. Saddam Hussein has used these weapons of death against innocent Iraqi people, and we have every reason to believe he will use them again."

"Some worry that a change of leadership in Iraq could create instability and make the situation worse. The situation could hardly get worse, for world security and for the people of Iraq. ...America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof — the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."

"When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security and that of our allies in the Persian Gulf region. I will vote yes because I believe it is the best way to hold Saddam Hussein accountable. And the administration, I believe, is now committed to a recognition that war must be the last option to address this threat, not the first, and that we must act in concert with allies around the globe to make the world's case against Saddam Hussein. "

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security. "

"I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."

"We have intelligence information about what Saddam Hussein possesses. He has chemical and biological weapons and he has missiles that can reach in excess of 150 kilometers, all three of which are violations of his sworn commitments to the United Nations. ... We believe, and we have said publicly, they continue to have weapons of mass destruction, biological weapons and chemical weapons."

"The President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense would not assert as plainly and bluntly as they have that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction if it was not true, and if they did not have a solid basis for saying it."

"The Iraqi regime is a grave threat to the United States. The Iraqi regime is a threat to any American and to threats who are friends of America."

"We know for a fact there are weapons there."

"[Saddam Hussein]]'s regime has large unaccounted for stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons including VX, sarin, mustard gas, anthrax, botulism and possibly smallpox. And he has an active program to acquire and develop nuclear weapons. His regime has violated some 16 United Nations resolutions, repeatedly defying the will of the international community, without cost or consequence. As the president warned the United Nations last fall, Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and gathering danger. It's a danger to its neighbors, to the United States, to the Middle East and to the international peace and stability. It's a danger we cannot ignore. ... Iraq is unique. No other living dictator has shown the same deadly combination of capability and intent, of aggression against its neighbors, pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, the use of chemical weapons against his own people as well as against his neighbors, oppression of his own people, support of terrorism and the most threatening hostility to its neighbors and to the United States as has Iraq. In both word and deed, Iraq has demonstrated that it is seeking the means to strike the United States and our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction for a reason, so that it can acquire the territory and assert influence over its neighbors."

"The dictator of Iraq has got weapons of mass destruction. He has used weapons of mass destruction. He can't stand America and what we stand for. He can't stand our friends and allies. He's a dangerous, dangerous man with dangerous, dangerous weapons. And that's why the world came together at the United Nations Security Council and said, Mr. Saddam Hussein must disarm. The message was as clear as can possibly be delivered — Mr. Saddam Hussein must disarm. ... [But] Saddam Hussein is not disarming, like the world has told him he must do. He's a dangerous man, with dangerous weapons. He's a danger to America, and our friends and allies. And that's why the world has said, disarm."

"Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent. In such quantities, these chemical agents could also kill untold thousands."

"Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody, reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists including members of al-Qaida."

"Saddam Hussein's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction poses a grave danger — not only to his neighbors, but also to the United States. His regime aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda. He could decide secretly to provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorists for use against us. And as the President said on Tuesday night, it would take just one vial, one canister, one crate to bring a day of horror to our nation unlike any we have ever known. That is why confronting the threat posed by Iraq is not a distraction from the war on terror, it is absolutely crucial to winning the war on terror. America seeks a world of peace, but we will not accept a serious threat to our country, to our friends, and to our allies."

"[Saddam Hussein's] regime has the design for a nuclear weapons, was working on several different methods of enriching uranium, and recently was discovered seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

"My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence. ... Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enough agent to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets. Even the low end of 100 tons of agent would enable Saddam Hussein to cause mass casualties across more than 100 square miles of territory, an area nearly five times the size of Manhattan. ... Saddam Hussein is determined to get his hands on a nuclear bomb. He is so determined that he has made repeated covert attempts to acquire high-specification aluminum tubes from 11 different countries, even after inspections resumed."

"It is not knowable if force will be used, but if it is to be used, it is not knowable how long that conflict would last. It could last, you know, six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."

"The Iraqi regime has actively and secretly attempted to obtain equipment needed to produce chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Firsthand witnesses have informed us that Iraq has at least seven mobile factories for the production of biological agents — equipment mounted on trucks and rails to evade discovery. The Iraqi regime has acquired and tested the means to deliver weapons of mass destruction. It has never accounted for thousands of bombs and shells capable of delivering chemical weapons. It is actively pursuing components for prohibited ballistic missiles. And we have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons — the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have."

"This is about imminent threat."

"Peacekeeping requirements in Iraq might be much lower than historical experience in the Balkans suggests. There's been none of the record in Iraq of ethnic militias fighting one another that produced so much bloodshed and permanent scars in Bosnia."

"Saddam Hussein is not disarming. This is a fact. It cannot be denied. Saddam Hussein has a long history of reckless aggression and terrible crimes. He possesses weapons of terror. He provides funding and training and safe haven to terrorists — terrorists who would willingly use weapons of mass destruction against America and other peace-loving countries. Saddam Hussein and his weapons are a direct threat to this country, to our people, and to all free people. If the world fails to confront the threat posed by the Iraqi regime, refusing to use force, even as a last resort, free nations would assume immense and unacceptable risks. The attacks of September the 11th, 2001 showed what the enemies of America did with four airplanes. We will not wait to see what terrorists or terrorist states could do with weapons of mass destruction."

"The President does believe that Iraq is a direct threat to the United States as a result of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction, particularly biological and chemical weapons."

"I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators."

"The dictator of Iraq and his weapons of mass destruction are a threat to the security of free nations."

"We believe [Saddam Hussein] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."

"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. ... The danger is clear: using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons, obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country, or any other. ... Today, no nation can possibly claim that Iraq has disarmed. And it will not disarm so long as Saddam Hussein holds power."

"There is no question we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical."

"Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? It's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"

"The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder."

"The use of armed force against Iraq is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001."

"This new century now challenges the hopes for a new world order in new ways. We will not defeat or even contain fanatical terror unless we can carry the war to the territories from which it is launched. This will sometimes require that we use force against states that harbour terrorists, as we did in destroying the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The most dangerous of these states are those that also possess weapons of mass destruction. Iraq is one, but there are others."

"Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly."

"Our mission is clear, to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people."

"We have seen intelligence over many months that they have chemical and biological weapons, and that they have dispersed them and that they're weaponized and that, in one case at least, the command and control arrangements have been established."

"We're dealing with a country [Iraq] that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon."

"We know where they [Iraq's weapons of mass destruction] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."

"But make no mistake — as I said earlier — we have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction. That is what this war was about and it is about. And we have high confidence it will be found."

"We have no interest in the oil [in Iraq]."

"We are learning more as we interrogate or have discussions with Iraqi scientists and people within the Iraqi structure, that perhaps he destroyed some, perhaps he dispersed some. And so we will find them."

"Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. ... The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11th, 2001 and still goes on. ... The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We have removed an ally of Al Qaida and cut off a source of terrorist funding. And this much is certain: No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the regime is no more."

"Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. ... We'll find them. And it's just going to be a matter of time to do so."

"Well, we have had over the period of time, the intelligence community has, the Central Intelligence Agency, a good deal of intelligence information which, when you put it all together, it makes a very persuasive case. And I'm — we never believed that we'd just tumble over weapons of mass destruction in that country."

"I'm absolutely sure that there are weapons of mass destruction there and the evidence will be forthcoming. We're just getting it just now."

"U.S. officials never expected that we were going to open garages and find weapons of mass destruction."

"And the poverty problem -- listen, this nation is committed to dealing with poverty. First, let me make it very clear, poor people aren't necessarily killers. Just because you happen to be not rich doesn't mean you're willing to kill."

"Given time, given the number of prisoners now that we're interrogating, I'm confident that we're going to find weapons of mass destruction."

"They may have had time to destroy them [WMDs], and I don't know the answer."

"By the way, I've never — you know, apropos of the WMD thing — I can't recall (m)any intelligence assessments that have been as unanimous as the judgment about Iraqi chemical and biological weapons."

"The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason."

"We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories ... and we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, we found them."

"I can assure you that this war was not waged under any false pretext. We believed then and we believe now that the Iraqis have, had chemical weapons, biological weapons and that they had a program to develop nuclear weapons but did not have nuclear weapons."

"We've made sure Iraq is not going to serve as an arsenal for terrorist groups. ... We're on the look. We'll reveal the truth. But one thing is certain: no terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime because the Iraqi regime is no more."

"This nation acted to a threat from the dictator of Iraq. Now, there are some who would like to rewrite history — revisionist historians is what I like to call them. Saddam Hussein was a threat to America and the free world in '91, in '98, in 2003. He continually ignored the demands of the free world, so the United States and friends and allies acted. And one thing is for certain — and this is for certain: Saddam Hussein is no longer a threat to the United States and our friends and allies."

"For more than a decade, Saddam Hussein went to great lengths to hide his weapons from the world. And in the regime's final days, documents and suspected weapons sites were looted and burned. Yet all who know the dictator's history agree that he possessed chemical and biological weapons and that he used chemical weapons in the past."

"There are some who feel like that conditions are such that they can attack us there [in Iraq]. My answer is: Bring them on. We have the force necessary to deal with the situation."

"I am confident that Saddam Hussein had a weapons of mass destruction program."

"I think the intelligence I get is darn good intelligence. And the speeches I have given were backed by good intelligence. And I am absolutely convinced today, like I was convinced when I gave the speeches, that Saddam Hussein developed a program of weapons of mass destruction, and that our country made the right decision. ... The larger point is and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in*. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power ..."

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile."

"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm. But these levees got breached. And as a result, much of New Orleans is flooded. And now we are having to deal with it and will."

"I don't think anybody anticipated the level of violence that we've encountered [in Iraq]."

"The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him."

"I don't know where [Osama bin Laden] is and I really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority."

"Gosh, I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those exaggerations."

"I want Congress to hear loud and clear, it is unacceptable behavior to leak classified information when we have troops at risk."

"Listen, I know of nobody — I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action."

"The President has set high standards, the highest of standards for people in his administration. He's made it very clear to people in his administration that he expects them to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration."

"I'd like to know if somebody in my White House did leak sensitive information."

"I want to know the truth. ... I have no idea whether we'll find out who the leaker is, partially because, in all due respect to your profession, you do a very good job of protecting the leakers."

Given recent developments in the CIA leak case, particularly Vice President Cheney's discussions with the investigators, do you still stand by what you said several months ago, a suggestion that it might be difficult to identify anybody who leaked the agent's name? And, and, do you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found to have done so?

"If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration."

"One of the interesting things people ask me, now that we're asking questions, is, can you ever win the war on terror? Of course, you can."

"I don't think you can win it [the war on terror], but I think you can create conditions so that the, uh, those who use terror as a tool are, uh, less acceptible in parts of the world, let's put it that way."

"We are winning the war against these terrorists. We will win this war against the terrorists."

Mr. President. In the last campaign, you were asked a question about the biggest mistake you'd made in your life, and you used to like to joke that it was trading Sammy Sosa. You've looked back before 9/11 for what mistakes might have been made. After 9/11, what would your biggest mistake be, would you say, and what lessons have you learned from it?
"Hmmm. I wish you would have given me this written question ahead of time, so I could plan for it. Uh [5 second pause] John, I'm sure historians will look back and say, gosh, he could have done it better this way, or that way, uh. [5 second pause] You know, I just — I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hadn't [sic] yet."

"We believe [Saddam Hussein] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."

"I don't believe anyone that I know in the administration ever said that Iraq had nuclear weapons."

"Here's, here's the bottom line on this for every American and everybody in the world, nobody knows for sure, all right? We don't know what [Saddam Hussein] has. We think he has 8,500 liters of anthrax. But let's see. But there's a doubt on both sides. And I said on my program, if, if the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush Administration again, all right? But I'm giving my government the benefit of the doubt ... If he has 8,500 liters of anthrax that he's not going to give up, even though the United Nations demanded that he do that, we are doing the right thing. If he doesn't have any weapons, then we are doing the wrong thing. So, we'll see."

"Well, my analysis was wrong and I'm sorry. Absolutely. You know. And I'm not pleased about it. ... Yeah, I just said it. What do you want me to do? Go over and kiss the camera? All right. I was wrong. I'm not pleased about it at all. And I think all Americans should be concerned about this. ... I am much more skeptical of the Bush administration now than I, I was at that time. Absolutely."

"I take responsibility for putting our troops into action. And I made that decision because Saddam Hussein was a threat to our security and a threat to the security of other nations. ... We won't be proven wrong. I believe that we will find the truth. And the truth is he was developing a program for weapons of mass destruction. We based our decisions on good, sound intelligence ... and the truth will say that this intelligence was good intelligence. There's no doubt in my mind."

"In order to placate the critics and the cynics about intentions of the United States, we need to produce evidence, and I fully understand that. I'm confident that our search will yield that which I strongly believe, that Saddam had a weapons program."

"There's no question that Iraq was a threat to the people of the United States."

"I don't understand how poor people think."

"This is not just about Iraq or just about the difficulties we might encounter in any one part of the country in terms of restoring security and stability. This is about a continuing operation on the war on terror. And it's very, very important we get it right. If we're successful in Iraq, if we can stand up a good representative government in Iraq, that secures the region so that it never again becomes a threat to its neighbors or to the United States, so it's not pursuing weapons of mass destruction, so that it's not a safe haven for terrorists, now we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11."

"No-one believes in our First Amendment civil liberties more than this administration."

"A year from now I'd be surprised if there's not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush."

"I glance at [newspaper] headlines just to kind of [get] a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are [sic] probably read the news themselves. But like Condoleezza [Rice], in her case, the national security adviser is getting her news directly from the participants on the world stage. ... I have great respect for the media. I mean, our society is a good, solid democracy because of a good, solid media. But I also understand that a lot of times there's opinions mixed in with news. ... I appreciate people's opinions, but I'm more interested in news. And the best way to get the news is from objective sources. And the most objective sources I have are people on my staff who tell me what's happening in the world."

"And listen, we're making good progress in Iraq. Sometimes it's hard to tell it when you listen to the filter [of critics]. We're making good progress."

"Why is this man in the White House? The majority of Americans did not vote for him. Why is he there? And I tell you this morning that he's in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this."

"Working with a fine coalition, our military went to Afghanistan, destroyed the training camps of al Qaeda, and put the Taliban out of business forever."

"I came to this office to solve problems and not pass them on to future presidents and future generations."

"A hopeful day has arrived. All Iraqis can now come together and reject violence and build a new Iraq."

"A hopeful day has arrived. All Iraqis can now come together and reject violence and build a new Iraq."

"I think [Saddam Hussein] ought to receive the ultimate penalty ... for what he has done to his people. I mean, he is a torturer, a murderer. They had rape rooms. This is a disgusting tyrant who deserves justice, the ultimate justice."

"But, in regards to Saddam Hussein, if in fact he didn't have them, why on earth didn't he let the U.N. inspectors in* and avoid the war? That is a real puzzlement to me."

"I said in the run-up to the war against Iraq that — first of all, I hoped the international community would take care of him. I was hoping the United Nations would enforce its resolutions, one of many. And then we went to the United Nations, of course, and got an overwhelming resolution — 1441 — unanimous resolution, that said to Saddam, you must disclose and destroy your weapons programs, which obviously meant the world felt he had such programs. He chose defiance. It was his choice to make, and he did not let us in*."

"There is no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was a grave and gathering threat to America and the world."

"I think some in the media have chosen to use the word 'imminent'. Those were not words we used. We used 'grave and gathering' threat."

"If you cannot rely on good, accurate intelligence that is credible to the American people and to others abroad, you certainly can't have a policy of preemption. Pristine intelligence — good, accurate intelligence — is a fundamental benchstone of any sort of policy of preemption to even be thought about."

"Because we acted, nations of the Middle East no longer need to fear reckless aggression from a ruthless dictator who had the intent and capability to inflict great harm on his people and people around the world."

"I am carrying out divine commands."

"He [Saddam Hussein] had the capacity to have a weapon, make a weapon. We thought he had weapons. The international community thought he had weapons. But he had the capacity to make a weapon and then let that weapon fall into the hands of a shadowy terrorist network."

"Had I known that the enemy was going to use airplanes to strike America, to attack us, I would have used every resource, every asset, every power of this government to protect the American people."

"I step back and I've asked myself a lot, is there anything we could have done to stop the attacks. Of course, I've asked that question — as have many people of my government. Nobody wants this to happen to America. And the answer is that had I had any inkling whatsoever that the people were going to fly airplanes into buildings, we would have moved heaven and earth to save the country — just like we're working hard to prevent a further attack."

"I think [the war in Iraq is] a total nightmare and disaster, and I'm ashamed that I went against my own instincts in supporting it. It's something I'll never do again. Never. I got convinced by a friend of mine who's smarter than I am, and I shouldn't have done that. No. I want things to work out, but I'm enraged by it, actually."

"He [Saddam Hussein] was a patron of terrorism. He had long established ties with al Qaida."

"I think we have said, and it is clear, that there is a connection, and we have seen these connections between al-Qaeda and the regime of Saddam Hussein, and we stick with that. We have not said it was related to 9/11."

"There clearly was a relationship [between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein]. It's been testified to. The evidence is overwhelming. It goes back to the early '90s. It involves a whole series of contacts, high-level contacts with Osama bin Laden and Iraqi intelligence officials."

"The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda [is] because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda."

"First of all, nobody likes war. You just got to know that about me. I love peace. I long for peace. But I also understand the nature of this enemy. And I told the American people that sometimes you'll see action and it will look like things are normal, but beneath the surface will lurk this enemy. And that's just the way it is. And I want the American people to live a normal life. It's my job to worry about it. It's your job to go about your business. If you see something strange, of course, let the local authorities know."

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful — and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people — and neither do we."

"We actually misnamed the war on terror. It ought to be the struggle against ideological extremists who do not believe in free societies who happen to use terror as a weapon to try to shake the conscience of the free world."

"Let me put it to you bluntly: In a changing world, we want more people to have control over your own life."

"A lot of airline companies, a lot of manufacturers in the past got shut down because of all kinds of lawsuits. And these lawsuits, we want good justice in America, but when the trial bar converts the law into a legal lottery, it begins to affect jobs. You just got to know that. It's one thing to have justice; it's another thing to go overboard with justice, because people start to lose work."

"Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think PATRIOT Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution."

"Our nation has the best health care in the world and President Bush is making it more affordable and accessible to all Americans."

"I believe the most solemn duty of the American President is to protect the American people. If America shows uncertainty or weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. This will not happen on my watch."

"It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November second, we make the right choice. Because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again, that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States."

"The CIA laid out several scenarios [about Iraq's future]. It said that life could be lousy, life could be OK, life could be better. And they were just guessing as to what the conditions might be like."

"I don't see how you can lead this country to succeed in Iraq if you say "wrong war, wrong time, wrong place." What message does that send our troops? What message does that send our allies? What message does that send the Iraqis?"

"I'm not so sure it's credible to quote leading news organizations about — oh, never mind."

"Over the past four years, I have brought a straightforward approach to the presidency. I tell you what I am going to do, and I keep my word."

"A political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as Commander-In-Chief."

"The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved."

"The essential constitutional understanding is that courts are not equipped to execute the law. They are not accountable to the people. And they lack the knowledge and expertise essential for the effective administration of government. ... The danger I see here is that intrusive judicial oversight and second-guessing of presidential determinations in these critical areas can put at risk the very security of our nation in a time of war. These encroachments include some of the most fundamental aspects of the president's conduct of the war on terrorism. ... The latitude and discretion reserved for the president under our Constitution must, of course, be greatest in the areas of national security and foreign relations, especially during times of war and national crisis."

How is it the new [Social Security] plan is going to fix that problem?
"Because the — all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculated, for example, is on the table. Whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those — changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be — or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the — like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate — the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those — if that growth is affected, it will help on the red."

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. (Short pause) And having said that, all options are on the table." (Laughter)

"Pervasive fear is the foundation of every dictatorial regime — the prop that holds up all power not based on consent. And when the regime of fear is broken, and the people find their courage and find their voice, democracy is their goal, and tyrants, themselves, have reason to fear."

"I believe in open government. I've always believed in open government. ... You know, I don't email, however. And there's a reason. I don't want you reading my personal stuff. There has got to be a certain sense of privacy. You know, you're entitled to how I make decisions. And you're entitled to ask questions, which I answer. I don't think you're entitled to be able to read my mail between my daughters and me."

"This war came to us, not the other way around."

"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."

"The United States is leading the way when it comes to protecting human rights and promoting human dignity. We have liberated 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have worked to advance freedom and democracy in the world so that people are governed under a rule of law and that there are protection — that there are protections in place for minority rights, that women's rights are advanced so that women can fully participate in societies where now they cannot."

"The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."

"One of the main jobs we have here in Washington is to protect our country. You see, not only did the attacks [of 9/11/2001] help accelerate a recession, the attacks reminded us that we are at war."

"I don't want to alarm everybody that, you know, New Orleans is filling up like a bowl. That's just not happening."

"I don't make judgments about why people chose not to leave but, you know, there was a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans. And to find people still there is just heart-wrenching to me because, you know, the mayor did everything he could to get them out of there. So, we've got to figure out some way to convince people that whenever warnings go out it's for their own good. Now, I don't want to second guess why they did that. My job now is to get relief to them."

"I have not heard a report of thousands of people in the convention center who don't have food and water."

"Considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans — virtually a city that has been destroyed — things are going relatively well."

"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."

"The good news is — and it's hard for some to see it now — that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house — he's lost his entire house — there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch."

"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."

"I mean, you have people who don't heed those warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings. There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving."

"We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."

"I think we are in fact on our way to getting on top of the whole Katrina exercise."

"Chang is a mystical warrior. Chang is some-body who believes in conservative principles, believes in entrepreneurial capitalism, believes in moral values that underpin a free society. I rely on Chang with great regularity in my public life. He has been by my side and sometimes I let him down. But Chang, this mystical warrior, has never let me down."

"In Washington you can ordinarily rely on some basic measure of truthfulness and good faith in the conduct of political debate. But in the last several weeks we have seen a wild departure from that tradition.

"And the suggestion that's been made by some US senators that the president of the United States or any member of this administration purposely misled the American people on pre-war intelligence is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city."

"My fellow citizens: Not only can we win the war in Iraq, we are winning the war in Iraq."

"[S]uccessful free societies protect the rights of a minority against the tyranny of the majority. The promise of democracy begins with free elections and majority rule — but it is fulfilled by minority rights, and equal justice, and an inclusive society in which every person belongs. A country that divides into factions and dwells on old grievances cannot move forward — and risks sliding back into tyranny. Compromise and consensus and power-sharing are the only path to national unity and lasting democracy."

"I listen to all voices, but mine is the final decision. And Don Rumsfeld is doing a fine job. He's not only transforming the military, he's fighting a war on terror. He's helping us fight a war on terror. I have strong confidence in Don Rumsfeld. I hear the voices, and I read the front page, and I know the speculation. But I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the Secretary of Defense."

"We are proud of the countries we have come from, but we are prouder to be Americans. That is why our national motto is 'E Pluribus Unum', [Latin for] 'one from many'. That is why the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag, the Oath of Allegiance for new citizens, and the National Anthem, all important symbols of our national unity — were written in, and should be said or sung in, our common language, English."

"Sometimes leaders show up who do a great disservice to the traditions and people of a country."

"I think arguably over the last several years, no single person on this planet has had the blood of more innocent men, women and children on his hands than Zarqawi."

"I don't think anybody anticipated the level of violence that we've encountered [in Iraq]."

"I just the other day got — an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially. So you want to talk about the consumer? Let's talk about you and me. We use this internet to communicate and we aren't using it for commercial purposes. We aren't earning anything by going on that internet. Now I'm not saying you have to or you want to discrimnate against those people. The regulatory approach is wrong. Your approach is regulatory in the sense that it says 'No one can charge anyone for massively invading this world of the internet.' No, I'm not finished. I want people to understand my position, I'm not going to take a lot of time. They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck. It's a series of tubes."

"All diplomatic options were exhausted, as far as I was concerned, with Saddam Hussein. Remember that the U.N. Security Council resolution that we passed when I was the President was one of 16, I think — 16, 17? Give me a hand here. More than 15. (Laughter.) Resolution after resolution after resolution saying the same thing, and he ignored them. And we tried diplomacy. We went to the U.N. Security Council — 15-to-nothing vote that said, disarm, disclose or face serious consequences. I happen to believe that when you say something you better mean it. And so when we signed on to that resolution that said, disclose, disarm or face serious consequences, I meant what we said. That's one way you keep the peace: You speak clearly and you mean what you say. And so the choice was Saddam Hussein's choice. He could have not fooled the inspectors. He could have welcomed the world in. He could have told us what was going on. But he didn't. And so we moved."

"One of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror."

"It's unacceptable to think that there's any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective."

"I don't believe religious people kill innocent people. I don't believe that. I believe these are totalitarians who want to impose their vision on others. And they use murder as a weapon to achieve it."

"The way I feel is this: I feel liberated, and I'm going to tell you as plainly as I can why. I no longer am going to have to carry the water for people who I don't think deserve having their water carried.

"Now, you might say, 'Well, why have you been doing it?' Because the stakes are high. Even though the Republican Party let us down, to me they represent a far better future for my beliefs and therefore the country's than the Democrat Party and liberalism does. I believe my side is worthy of victory, and I believe it's much easier to reform things that are going wrong on my side from a position of strength.

"Now I'm liberated from having to constantly come in here every day and try to buck up a bunch of people who don't deserve it, to try to carry the water and make excuses for people who don't deserve it. I did not want to sit here and participate, willingly, in the victory of the libs, in the victory of the Democrat Party by sabotaging my own. But now with what has happened yesterday and today, it is an entirely liberating thing. ...

"There have been a bunch of things going on in Congress, some of this legislation coming out of there that I have just cringed at, and it has been difficult coming in here, trying to make the case for it when the people who are supposedly in favor of it can't even make the case themselves -- and to have to come in here and try to do their jobs. I'm a radio guy! I understand what this program has become in America and I understand the leadership position it has. I was doing what I thought best, but at this point, people who don't deserve to have their water carried, or have themselves explained as they would like to say things but somehow aren't able to, I'm not under that kind of pressure.

"Am I making myself clear on this, Mr. Snerdley?  ... No, I'm not lying. Snerdley's concerned. I've not lied about anything I've said. Let me try this a different way.  (sigh)

"I'm going to have to think about this."

"Money trumps peace, sometimes. In other words, commercial interests are very powerful interests throughout the world. And part of the issue in convincing people to put sanctions on a specific country is to convince them that it's in the world's interest that they forgo their own financial interest."

"I emphasize, that is the priority for me as the President. It's [1] my faith, [2] my family, and [3] my country. And I am pleased to report that our family is doing great, particularly since my wife is such a fantastic person. And she sends her very best."

"In places like Israel, terrorists have taken innocent human life for years in suicide attacks. The difference is that Israel is a functioning democracy and it's not prevented from carrying out its responsibilities. And that's a good indicator of success that we're looking for in Iraq."

"This is an investment, not an expenditure, and there is no reason to expect this program will cost taxpayers anything."

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