Q Thank you, Mr. President. The Senate is considering a vote of no confidence in your Attorney General, and some Republican senators have joined Democrats in calling for his resignation. Is it your intention to keep Alberto Gonzales as your Attorney General for the rest of your administration, regardless of what the Senate does?Interesting question. Let's see what the President does this go-around.
And, Mr. Secretary General, if I may, you mentioned the deaths of civilians in Afghanistan. Is it your concern that those deaths are eroding the ability of NATO forces to do their work?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Let me comment on that real quick. The Taliban likes to surround themselves with innocent civilians. That's their -- part of their modus operandi. They don't mind using human shields because they devalue human life. That's why they're willing to kill innocent people to achieve political objectives.Innocent people killed IS the modus operandi for the Taliban and the OBL style terrorists. The tactic is really reprehensible and the President is right here. We should harbor no sympathy for such tactics.
And, obviously, to the extent that the United States is working with our NATO allies in combat, we care deeply about protecting innocent life. And to those who -- Afghans who have lost innocent civilians, we grieve with you. To the Afghan families that have been affected by the Taliban using them as shields, we have great sympathy. We do not have sympathy, however, for the tactics of the Taliban.
Unfortunately, those who would wish us harm can point to places where innocent Arabs and others were killed by US forces and contractors. Moreover, couldn't the whole green zone be construed as a similar civilian shield strategy? There are more Iraqi civilians working on and around military bases in Baghdad, no? What's the difference? I know folks that regularly comment here may disagree and suggest there is a moral difference between the civilians we kill and the civilians they kill, but really is that an debate worth having?
But what about Alberto?
Now, you asked about Alberto Gonzales. He has got my confidence. He has done nothing wrong. There's been enormous amount of attention on him -- that there's been no wrongdoing on his part. He has testified in front of Congress. And I, frankly, view what's taking place in Washington today as pure political theater. And it is this kind of political theater that has caused the American people to lose confidence in how Washington operates.Really, W may be correct in suggesting that AG Gonzales didn't do anything wrong. It's the people who were pulling the strings to get the judges fired that did, no? It's an ethically slippery slope, and the W, Rove and Co has been sloshing through that mud to the bottom of the moral pit for a great long while.
I stand by Al Gonzales and I would hope that people would be more sober in how they address these important issues. And they ought to get the job done of passing legislation, as opposed to figuring out how to be actors on the political theater stage.
I love the line, "actors on the political theater stage." Isn't that why they call them politicians, of which he is one?
But I digress...what's the term gezellig mean? Look to the visiting SG for the answer:
Q I've just got one question. Mr. de Hoop Scheffer, how gezellig was it yesterday?Sounds like a lovely weekend. I sure wish I got paid to ride mountain bikes with foreign dignitaries, don't you?
SECRETARY GENERAL DE HOOP SCHEFFER: It was very gezellig. I'll try to translate "gezellig" in American.
PRESIDENT BUSH: That's not in my vocabulary.
SECRETARY GENERAL DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Very friendly, cozy atmosphere. We had a very, very nice move around the ranch with Mrs. Bush and the President, my wife and I. We had a splendid dinner in the house here at the ranch. This morning, I can tell you that the President and I had a mountain bike ride together. We had our conversations. So you can speak about a very nice weekend, and we had good talks on top of it. So what can one wish more? It was very gezellig.