The full transcript is worth a read, as it highlights not only how terrible a speaker Bush is (I've read a fair few transcripts in my day, and this one is downright painful to read) but also the level of cognitive dissonance he maintains. He dodges questions, squirms for answers, and contradicts himself with frightening regularity.
Some choice excerpts (emphasis mine):
And you have committed troops - American troops around the world in other cases throughout... Afghanistan. Why not in this case?.
Mr Bush: Well, that's a good question. I mean, we're committing equipment, you know? Training, help, movement. I think a lot of the folks who are concerned about America into another Muslim country. Some of the relief groups here just didn't think the strategy would be as effective as it was. I mean, actually, believe it or not, listen to people's opinions. And chose to make this decision. It's a decision that I'm now living with. And it's a decision that requires us to continue to rally the conscience of the world and get people to focus on the issue. You know, you're right. I mean, we sent marines into Liberia, for example, to help stabilise the country there. And Liberia's on my itinerary where I'll meet with the first woman, you know, elected president in Africa - history. And - but, I just made the decision I made.
Lot of conviction in that response.
See, I happen to believe we're in an ideological struggle. And, those who murder the innocent to achieve political objectives are evil people.
Ooh, the irony.
Religious beliefs are... you know, the only religious belief you can hold is the one we tell you. And, oh, by the way, it's great. You can be a suicider. Well, hopeless people are the ones who get attracted by that point of view. And, therefore, it's in the world's interest from a national security perspective to deal with hopelessness.
Which is why he created a black hole of hopelessness in Iraq.
I think... when history marches on, there will be a little more objective look about the totality of this administration.
And he expects this to make his administration look BETTER in the future?
And I'm happy with Iraq. The... decision to move Saddam Hussein was right. And this democracy is now taking root. And I'm confident that if America does not become isolationist - you know, and allow the terrorists to take back over - Iraq will succeed.
To take back over? Amusing, seeing as how they only got in there after the invasion.
The Senate yesterday passed a bill outlawing water-boarding. You, I believe, have said that you will veto that bill.
Mr Bush: No, look... that's not the reason I'm vetoing the bill. The reason I'm vetoing the bill - first of all, we have said that whatever we do... will be legal. Secondly, they are imposing a set of standards on our intelligence communities in terms of interrogating prisoners that our people will think will be ineffective. And, you know, to the critics, I ask them this: when we, within the law, interrogate and get information that protects ourselves and possibly others in other nations to prevent attacks, which attack would they have hoped that we wouldn't have prevented?
My head is spinning. Huh? Also amusing is how the question is about how Bush is trying to prevent a law from being put into place, but he goes on about how they will act within the law. Of course you will, when the law is shaped the way you want it!
We're having a debate in America on whether or not we ought to be listening' to terrorists making' phone calls in the United States. And the answer is darn right we ought to be.
Yeah, way to tear down a strawman. Or maybe the real debate was about warrantless surveillance and providing telcos immunity for illegally handing over information to the government. Maybe it was about judicial oversight and checks and balances? MMMKAAAY?
Frei: But, given Guantanamo Bay, given also Abu Ghraib, given renditions, does this not send the wrong signal to the world?
Mr Bush: It should send a signal that America is going to respect law.
We're a nation of law. Take Guantanamo.
Frei: Can you honestly say, Mr President, that today America still occupies the moral high ground?
Mr Bush: Absolutely - absolutely. We believe in human rights and human dignity. We believe in the human condition.
Yeah. Take Guantanamo. Rendition. Iraq.
I happen to believe free societies provide hope.
Which is why you're busy taking away freedoms from your own people?
Could Monty Python have provided a more ludicrous scripted interview? I doubt it. Reading this seriously pissed me off. Reading some of the associated comments from readers where so many people defend the man makes me think mankind deserves him.