Q Thank you. Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister, the war in Iraq, if we could stay on that subject for just a minute. I mean, it's been going on for almost five years. Is there anything you would have done differently, Mr. President, if you had known back then in 2003 what you know today?If you ask me, the fundamental flaw with Bush's position is that one middle statement: as if any decision to enter war is "easy." I don't think so. That is the chutzpah driven notion that his position was and always has been right, and to make decisions based on faith over fact.
PRESIDENT BUSH: That's an interesting question. One thing I wouldn't do differently is leave Saddam Hussein in power. It was the right decision then; it's the right decision today; and it will be viewed as the right decision when history is finally written.
Look, I mean, there's going to be ample time to second-guess decisions, and I'll let the historians do that. A war is constantly changing, and what appears to have been an easy decision today might have been a lot difficult when you take it -- put it in historical context. And so my focus, sir, is moving forward and making sure this progress that we're watching continues.
And there's been some ups and downs, obviously. I mean, the great moments were, of course, the writing of a modern constitution for the Middle East, and votes for a president and a parliament. And then 2006 came along, and an enemy was able to stir up unbelievable sectarian hatred and violence. And so I had a choice to make, you know -- accept it and allow for failure, or do something about it. And obviously I chose the latter, which was -- I wouldn't call that exactly a popular decision. But if you follow popularity as your guide, then you sacrifice principle and vision.
And so -- look, this is a -- this will be an important chapter of my presidency, and they'll be analyzing these decisions for a long time. And I just got to tell you, I've got great faith in the capacity of democracy to be transformative, not only for the people of Iraq, but for the region. And that's why we're discussing with the Iraqis a long-term security agreement to have a -- have the kind of effect that will enable people to be confident to make hard decisions when it comes to reconciliation and political progress.
But the historians, I'm sure, will find ample -- well, there's some short-term historians already trying to find some ample opportunity to figure out what went right or what went wrong, what we could have done differently. But there's no such thing as accurate short-term history, as far as I'm concerned. There needs to be time for people to be able to see and put things in proper perspective.
We are witnessing the very damaging effect of exactly that. When some one makes decisions based on beliefs and faith over fact, it seems that could be one thing we would expect a president to rectify. It's funny how the president interpreted this question, and even more disturbing was his answer.
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