By: E&P Staff
At his meeting with reporters today, President George W. Bush’s comment that, despite recent setbacks, he is pleased with the progress in Iraq, adding “I think the Iraq government will be up to the task of defeating the insurgents,” drew wide play. But another question and answer near the end of gathering drew little notice.
From the official transcript:
Q At the Naval Academy last week you spoke of a midshipman named Edward Slavis, who graduated and has served in Iraq. And you quoted him as saying that the mission will be a success, and 20 or 30 years from now historians will look back on it and consider it America’s golden moment. I’m wondering, sir, if you agree with that assessment, and, if so, why?
THE PRESIDENT: I do, David, because I believe that as a result of the actions we have taken, we have laid — begun to lay the foundation for democratic movement that will outlast this administration; a democratic movement that will bring peace to a troubled part of the world. …
You know, I reminded people that because Japan is a democracy, Japan is now a great friend, we work together on big issues, and yet it wasn’t all that long ago that we warred with Japan. In other words, democracies have the capability of transforming nations. That’s what history has told us. And I have faith in the ability of democracy to transform nations. And that’s why, when I talked about Iraq earlier, that we’ve laid the — begun to lay the foundation for a democratic, peaceful Iraq. Someday an American President is going to be dealing with an Iraqi — elected Iraqi President, saying — or Prime Minister, saying, what we can we do together to bring peace to the region? In other words, it’s a platform for peace. And, yes, I do believe — I agreed with the man.
These are incredibly hopeful times — and very difficult times. And the problem is, is that I not only see the benefits of democracy, but so do the terrorists. And that’s why they want to blow people up, indiscriminately kill, in order to shake the will of the Iraqis, or perhaps create a civil war, or to get us to withdraw early. That’s what they’re trying to do, because they fear democracy. They understand what I just — they understand what I understand, there’s kind of a meeting of minds on that. And that’s why the American people are seeing violent actions on their TV screens, because these people want to — the killers want us to get out. They want us to — they want the Iraqis to quit. They understand what a democracy can mean to their backward way of thinking.
So I do agree with the man. I thought it was a pretty profound statement, and I was pleased to be able to share it with the — with the folks there at Annapolis.