Iraq II: A Regrettable Slip of the Tong
The following exchange was with the crusty Helen Thomas, octogenarian dean of the White House press corps:
BUSH: No president wants war . . . Everything you may have heard is that, but it's just simply not true . . . But we realized on September the 11th, 2001, that killers could destroy innocent life. And I'm never going to forget the vow I made to the American people that we will do everything in our power to protect our people.
Part of that meant to make sure that we didn't allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy. And that's why I went into Iraq -- hold on for a second --
THOMAS: They didn't do anything to you, or to our country.
BUSH: Look -- excuse me for a second, please. Excuse me for a second. They did. The Taliban provided safe haven for Al Qaeda. That's where Qaeda trained --
THOMAS: I'm talking about Iraq --Whatever the reason, that's pretty sad.
BUSH: Helen, excuse me. That's where -- Afghanistan provided safe haven for Al Qaeda . . . I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. . . .
Here's a link to press conference excerpts. Or, if you're really hard core, the entire press conference here.