Bush: The Guy Making History
Drudge has a preview of TIME’s cover story on President Bush.
Bush thinks the war on terrorism, Ã¢€œis a long-lasting ideological struggleÃ¢€ and that Ã¢€œit ought to be called the struggle of a totalitarian point of view that uses terror as a tool to intimidate the free.Ã¢€ He reflects on his role in the war on terrorism, Ã¢€œIÃ¢€™m not the historian. IÃ¢€™m the guy making history.Ã¢€ Ã¢€œIÃ¢€™m a two-month man right now. [Laughter.] I donÃ¢€™t know. WeÃ¢€™re dealing in a part of the world where our policy was, O.K., weÃ¢€™ll kind of tolerate the lack of liberty for other reasons and just hope it gets better. And sure enough, it didnÃ¢€™t.Ã¢€
TIME’s exclusive interview with the President at his Prairie Chapel Ranch in Texas with TIMEÃ¢€™s John F. Dickerson and Nancy Gibbs is featured in this week’s Republican Convention preview issue. The coverline is “The World According to George Bush.” The lead story, “Inside the Mind of George Bush,” concludes his task is to show “his strength comes from not a six-gun temperament but from judgment that has matured through three years of hard testing.Ã¢€ TIME assesses BushÃ¢€™s character and presidency Ã¢€œBy BushÃ¢€™s math, you can change your tactics, but you pay a price for changing your principles, and can gain capital by toughing out a fight even if you lose,Ã¢€ Dickerson and Gibbs write.
At a press conference last April, Dickerson asked Bush what he thought was his biggest mistake and the President didnÃ¢€™t have an answer then. Bush responds to the same question in this TIME interview, Ã¢€œWhen you asked that question, I was convinced you were trying to force me to say it was a mistake to go into Iraq, which I wasnÃ¢€™t going to do. As sure as IÃ¢€™m sitting here, the right decision was to remove Saddam Hussein from power. The tactics going into Iraq were based upon a certain set of assumptions, like refugee flows, hunger, oil destruction. Had we had to do it over again, we would look at the consequences of catastrophic successÃ¢€”being so successful so fast that an enemy that should have surrendered or been done in escaped and lived to fight another day. I couldnÃ¢€™t have sat down and said to you, By the way, weÃ¢€™re going to be so victorious so quickly that weÃ¢€™ll end up having to fight another third of the Baathists over the next year in order to bring liberty to the country. ThereÃ¢€™s an idea that you can chew on. Ã¢€œ
Ã¢€œMaybe I will [pray for Saddam], now that youÃ¢€™ve asked the question,Ã¢€ President George W. Bush tells TIME, Ã¢€œDo I pray for him? No, I havenÃ¢€™t.Ã¢€ And on his thoughts on IraqÃ¢€™s progress toward democracy, Bush tells TIME, Ã¢€œIf the United States is willing to lead and never waver in our belief that liberty can change the habits of people, never blink, be kind and compassionate, generous with our moneyÃ¢€”which we areÃ¢€”but resolute in our belief in liberty, Iraq will end up being a free country. It doesnÃ¢€™t have to look like America, by the way. ThatÃ¢€™s one of the great mythsÃ¢€”that all of a sudden, these countries must look like America. Quite the contrary.Ã¢€
Interesting. This is the case that the GOP convention needs to make this week.