Politico.com entrevista George W. Bush

A entrevista mais interessante que já li com o Bush.

Q Mr. President, we know you’re a man of intense faith. And I wonder, what was a moment in this room over the past eight years when you needed that most?

THE PRESIDENT: Michael, I’d say daily. I mean, part of the faith walk is to understand your weaknesses and is to constantly try to embetter yourself and get closer to the Lord. And that’s a daily occurrence. Obviously there’s been some tough moments in here. When you know that somebody lost their loved one as a result of a decision that I made, that’s a tough moment. If you’re a faithful person you try to empathize with the suffering that that person is going through. On the other hand, there is a knowledge that the good Lord can comfort during these moments of grief. And that’s what I ask for in my prayer.

The Oval Office is a place where there’s been, obviously, a lot of amazing experiences over a seven-and-a-half year period. My presidency is one where I’ve had to make some very tough decisions. I guess some presidencies are kind of — were real smooth, there were no real big issues. Well, that’s not the way mine is.

Q Consequential. That’s what you want —

THE PRESIDENT: Consequential — if that’s how it turns out to be, that’s a good word, because I didn’t want to come to Washington, D.C. and just hold the office for the sake of holding it. I wanted to come to Washington, D.C. and help be a transformative President. And I think history, when they look back, will say this is a fellow who knew how to make decisions, and made some tough ones, stood by them, wasn’t driven by the latest opinion poll, but was driven by some core principles from which he would not deviate.

Negociação? O que é isso? Princípios não se negociam, é isso que Bush parece ter aprendido com a Religião. Mas este trecho tem uma alfinetada sensacional aos anos Clinton (injusta, mas sensacional), e começa a dar o tom da defesa do presidente: joguei para o meu legado, não para a torcida.

Q Mr. President, turning to the biggest issue of all, Iraq. I wonder if you — various people and various candidates talk about pulling out next year. If we were to pull out of Iraq next year, what’s the worst that could happen, what’s the doomsday scenario?

THE PRESIDENT: Doomsday scenario of course is that extremists throughout the Middle East would be emboldened, which would eventually lead to another attack on the United States.

The biggest issue we face is — it’s bigger than Iraq — it’s this ideological struggle against cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives. Iraq just happens to be a part of this global war. Iraq is the place where al Qaeda and other extremists have made their stand — and they will be defeated. They’ll be defeated through military action, but they’ll also be defeated as this young democracy takes hold. They can’t stand to live in a free society, that’s why they try to fight free societies.

The United States pulling out of Iraq or pulling out of the Middle East or not maintaining a forward presence would send all kinds of signals throughout the Middle East. And it would shake everybody’s nerves, and it would embolden the very same people that we’re trying to defeat.

Q Mr. President, I’m going to surprise you — there’s a question from a user, Bruce Becker, and he asks: Do you feel that you were misled on Iraq?

THE PRESIDENT: I feel like — I felt like there were weapons of mass destruction. You know, “mislead” is a strong word, it almost connotes some kind of intentional — I don’t think so, I think there was a — not only our intelligence community, but intelligence communities all across the world shared the same assessment. And so I was disappointed to see how flawed our intelligence was.

Tem um tanto de jogo para a torcida, é claro. Mas é interessante ver o Bush enquanto uma figura multi-dimensional, ou pelo menos se pintando enquanto uma figura multi-dimensional.

Q Mr. President, I know you’re not going to believe this transition, but the Congress and Democrats now have been in charge for the Capitol for 18 months. I wonder if you care to give them a grade.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, one thing is for certain, Michael, that I’ve laid out a very aggressive agenda: a trade agreement with Colombia to help our economy continue to grow; making sure we got the tools necessary to protect our country from attack; supporting our troops in harm’s way. And there hasn’t been much action. And we got a housing crisis, and I proposed a reasonable set of reforms. And so I would call them stalled. I would call them, so far, good at verbiage and not so good at results.

Q Now, Mr. President, President Carter recently told Charlie Rose the next President could change America’s image in 10 minutes. Here’s what he said: “I think the next President could change the image of this country around the world in 10 minutes by making an inaugural speech that would start off and say, ‘As long as I’m President we will never torture another prisoner, as long as I’m President we will never attack or invade another country unless our own security is directly threatened.'”

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, well, what he ought to be saying is, is that America doesn’t torture. If the implication there is that we do now, then he’s wrong. And you bet we’re going to protect ourselves by the use of military force. What he really is implying is — or some imply — you can be popular; if you want to be popular in the Middle East just go blame Israel for every problem. That will make you popular. Or if you want to be popular in Europe, say you’re going to join the International Criminal Court.

Popularity is fleeting, Michael. Principles are forever.

Esta frase define o governo Bush, certamente vai definir o governo Bush para toda uma geração. Claro, ao fazer o jogo de Não jogar para a torcida, o Bush joga para a torcida. E a questão do “inegociável”, parece dar bem o tom de um governo que dialogou muito pouco. No entanto, preciso confessar que a entrevista inteira me deixou meio fora da minha zona de conforto. O homem é uma raposa.

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