George W. Bush

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My administration has a job to do and we're going to do it. We will rid the world of the evil-doers.
America felt safe behind two great oceans. But with the spread of technology, distance no longer means security.
The peaceful transfer of authority is rare in history, yet common in our country. With a simple oath, we affirm old traditions and make new beginnings.
Are millions of men and women and children condemned by history or culture to live in despotism? Are they alone never to know freedom, and never even to have a choice in the matter? I, for one, do not believe it. I believe every person has the ability and the right to be free.
America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens.
Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.
I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy.
I want justice. And there's an old poster out West, I recall, that says, "Wanted: Dead or Alive."
We will not waiver, we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail. Peace and freedom will prevail.
States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.

George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) was the 43rd President of the United States, serving from 2001 to 2009. He is a son of George H. W. Bush, the husband of Laura Welch Bush, and a grandson of Prescott Bush.

Quotes[edit]

1980s[edit]

  • You know, I could run for governor and all this but I’m basically a media creation. I’ve never really done anything. I’ve worked for my dad. I worked in the oil industry. But that’s not the kind of profile you have to have to get elected to public office.
    • In an interview with the Midland Reporter Telegram on July 4, 1989, quoted in Bush’s Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential (John Wiley and Sons, 2003) by James Moore and Wayne Slater, p. 161.

1990s[edit]

  • You don't get everything you want. A dictatorship would be a lot easier.
  • I've heard the call. I believe God wants me to run for President.
    • As recalled by minister James Robison in a telephone conversation with Bush, and first reported in the book The Faith of George W. Bush (2004) by Stephen Mansfield.
  • There ought to be limits to freedom. We're aware of the site, and this guy is just a garbage man, that's all he is. Of course I don't appreciate it. And you wouldn't, either.
  • I watched his interview with her, though. He asked her real difficult questions, like 'What would you say to Governor Bush?' 'What was her answer?' I wonder. 'Please,' Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, 'don't kill me.'
    • From: "Devil May Care" by Tucker Carlson, Talk Magazine, September 1999, p. 106 (During the Larry King-Karla Faye Tucker exchange, Tucker never actually asked to be spared)
  • My appointees to the [Texas] board of pardons and paroles reflect my no-nonsense approach to crime and punishment. They believe people who commit crimes against innocent Texans should pay the consequences; they believe sentences imposed by juries should be carried out.

A Period of Consequences (September 23, 1999)[edit]

Speech at the Citadel, Military College of South Carolina

  • The protection of America itself will assume a high priority in a new century. Once a strategic afterthought, homeland defense has become an urgent duty. For most of our history, America felt safe behind two great oceans. But with the spread of technology, distance no longer means security.
  • Let me be clear. Our first line of defense is a simple message: Every group or nation must know, if they sponsor such attacks, our response will be devastating.
  • We will defend the American homeland by strengthening our intelligence community – focusing on human intelligence and the early detection of terrorist operations both here and abroad. And when direct threats to America are discovered, I know that the best defense can be a strong and swift offense – including the use of Special Operations Forces and long-range strike capabilities.
  • I will put a high priority on detecting and responding to terrorism on our soil. The federal government must take this threat seriously – working closely with researchers and industry to increase surveillance and develop treatments for chemical and biological agents.
  • Defending our nation is just the beginning of our challenge. My third goal is to take advantage of a tremendous opportunity – given few nations in history – to extend the current peace into the far realm of the future. A chance to project America’s peaceful influence, not just across the world, but across the years.
  • Yet today our military is still organized more for Cold War threats than for the challenges of a new century -- for industrial age operations, rather than for information age battles. There is almost no relationship between our budget priorities and a strategic vision. The last seven years have been wasted in inertia and idle talk. Now we must shape the future with new concepts, new strategies, new resolve.
  • In the late 1930s, as Britain refused to adapt to the new realities of war, Winston Churchill observed, "The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences."
  • Our military and our nation are entering another period of consequences – a time of rapid change and momentous choices.
  • Now comes our time of testing. Our measure is taken, not only by what we have and use, but what we build and leave behind. And nothing this generation could ever build will matter more than the means to defend our nation and extend our peace.

A Distinctly American Internationalism (November 19, 1999)[edit]

Speech at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California

  • In the defense of our nation, a president must be a clear-eyed realist. There are limits to the smiles and scowls of diplomacy. Armies and missiles are not stopped by stiff notes of condemnation. They are held in check by strength and purpose and the promise of swift punishment.
  • The most powerful force in the world is not a weapon or a nation but a truth: that we are spiritual beings, and that freedom is "the soul's right to breathe."
  • American foreign policy must be more than the management of crisis. It must have a great and guiding goal: to turn this time of American influence into generations of democratic peace.
  • Some have tried to pose a choice between American ideals and American interests — between who we are and how we act. But the choice is false. America, by decision and destiny, promotes political freedom — and gains the most when democracy advances. America believes in free markets and free trade — and benefits most when markets are opened. America is a peaceful power — and gains the greatest dividend from democratic stability. Precisely because we have no territorial objectives, our gains are not measured in the losses of others. They are counted in the conflicts we avert, the prosperity we share and the peace we extend.
  • The case for trade is not just monetary, but moral. Economic freedom creates habits of liberty. And habits of liberty create expectations of democracy.
  • We are no longer fighting a great enemy, we are asserting a great principle: that the talents and dreams of average people — their warm human hopes and loves — should be rewarded by freedom and protected by peace. We are defending the nobility of normal lives, lived in obedience to God and conscience, not to government.
  • America has never been an empire. We may be the only great power in history that had the chance, and refused — preferring greatness to power and justice to glory.

2000[edit]

  • If you're a single mother with two children—which is the toughest job in America, as far as I'm concerned—you're working hard to put food on your family.
    • Speech to the Nashua Chamber of Commerce in New Hampshire (27 January 2000), quoted in Fort Worth Star-Telegram (28 January 2000) "Campaign 2000 Highlights From The Campaign Trail Yesterday" [2]
  • This is Preservation Month. I appreciate preservation. It's what you do when you run for president. You've got to preserve.
  • The state can do what they want to do. Don't try to trap me in this state's issue like you're trying to get me into.
  • I care what 51 percent of the people think about me.
    • On the Oprah Winfrey Show (20 September 2000)[5]
  • We can do better in Washington D.C. We can have new leadership in Washington D.C., leadership that will lift this country's spirits and raise our sights. George P. knows what thousands of other youngsters know, that just because the White House has let us down in the past, that doesn't mean it's going to happen in the future. George P. joins us in a campaign that's going to restore honor and dignity to the White House.
  • More and more of our imports come from overseas.
  • I know the human being and the fish can coexist peacefully.
    • Speech in Saginaw, Michigan (29 September 2000),[8] referring to a widely reported dispute in the Klamath region of Oregon between farmers with irrigation rights and Native Americans with fishing rights.
  • If we're an arrogant nation, they'll resent us; if we're a humble nation, but strong, they'll welcome us.
  • ...they want the federal government controlling Social Security, like it's some kind of federal program.
    • Speaking of "some [people] in Washington", and in support of his campaign plan to allow workers to invest some portion of their Social Security payroll taxes. Campaign stop, November 2, 2000. [12]
  • I told all four [congressional leaders] that I felt like this election happened for a reason; that it pointed out — the delay in the outcome should make it clear to all of us — that we can come together to heal whatever wounds may exist, whatever residuals there may be. And I really look forward to the opportunity. I hope they've got my sense of optimism about the possible, and enthusiasm about the job. I told all four that there are going to be some times where we don't agree with each other, but that's okay. If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier... [Bush laughs out loud, audience laughs out loud] ...just so long as I'm the dictator [more laughter].
    • Online NewsHour interview, Washington, DC, (December 18, 2000)' during his first trip to Washington as President-elect. The last sentence is also included in Fahrenheit 9/11.

2001[edit]

  • My pro-life position is I believe there's life. It's not necessarily based in religion. I think there's a life there, therefore the notion of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
  • My plan reduces the national debt, and fast. So fast, in fact, that economists worry that we're going to run out of debt to retire.
    • Presidential Radio Address (24 February 2001) [13]
  • [T]he facts are that thousands of small businesses - Hispanically [sic] owned or otherwise - pay taxes at the highest marginal rate.
  • I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul; a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country. And I appreciated so very much the frank dialogue.
  • Dealing with Congress is a matter of give and take. The president doesn't get everything he wants, the Congress doesn't get everything they want. But we're finding good common ground. A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it.

Listen to an original recording of this quote:

  • Ladies and gentlemen, this is a difficult moment for America. I, unfortunately, will be going back to Washington after my remarks. Secretary Rod Paige and the Lt. Governor will take the podium and discuss education. I do want to thank the folks here at Booker Elementary School for their hospitality. Today we've had a national tragedy. Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country. I have spoken to the Vice President, to the Governor of New York, to the Director of the FBI, and have ordered that the full resources of the federal government go to help the victims and their families, and to conduct a full-scale investigation to hunt down and to find those folks who committed this act.Terrorism against our nation will not stand. And now if you would join me in a moment of silence. May God bless the victims, their families, and America. Thank you very much.
  • I want to reassure the American people that the full resources of the federal government are working to assist local authorities to save lives and to help the victims of these attacks. Make no mistake: The United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts.
    I've been in regular contact with the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense, the national security team and my Cabinet. We have taken all appropriate security precautions to protect the American people. Our military at home and around the world is on high alert status, and we have taken the necessary security precautions to continue the functions of your government.
    We have been in touch with the leaders of Congress and with world leaders to assure them that we will do whatever is necessary to protect America and Americans.
    I ask the American people to join me in saying a thanks for all the folks who have been fighting hard to rescue our fellow citizens and to join me in saying a prayer for the victims and their families.
  • I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you! And the people! And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!
  • When I take action, I’m not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It’s going to be decisive.
    • Spoken at a September 13, 2001 meeting with the four senators from New York and Virginia. Reported in "A President Finds His True Voice", Newsweek (September 24, 2001)
  • This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while.
  • Our war on terror begins with al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.
  • [O]ne of the great goals of this nation's war is to restore public confidence in the airline industry. It's to tell the traveling public: Get on board. Do your business around the country. Fly and enjoy America's great destination spots. Get down to Disney World in Florida.
  • Now, the American people have got to go about their business. We cannot let the terrorists achieve the objective of frightening our nation to the point where we don't conduct business, where people don't shop.
  • Well, you know, I think the American people are sacrificing now. I think they're waiting in airport lines longer than they've ever had before.
    • Press conference, in response to reporter asking why he hasn't called for any sacrifices from the American people (in the war on terror), and whether he intends to do so. (October 11, 2001)
  • Lucky me, I hit the trifecta.
    • In reference to his prior, oft-repeated promises to run a year-to-year budget surplus, except in the event of war, recession, or national emergency. Statement made to budget director Mitchell Daniels, mid-September; as quoted by him in an address to the OMB Conference Board (October 16, 2001) repeated as a dubious joke through 2002: at Robin Hayes for Congress and Elizabeth Dole for Senate luncheon, Charlotte NC, February 27; [18] at Latham for Congress Luncheon, DesMoines IA, March 1;[19] at Saxby Chambliss for Senate Dinner, Atlanta GA, March 27;[20] at Graham for Senate Luncheon, Greenville SC, March 27;[21] at Cornyn for Senate Luncheon, Dallas TX, March 29;[22] at Fisher for Governor Reception, Philadelphia PA, April 3;[23] at Leaders of the Fiscal Responsibility Coalition, Eisenhower Executive Office Bldg, April 16;[24] at Heather Wilson for Congress Luncheon, Albuquerque NM, April 29;[25] at Simon for Governor Luncheon, Santa Clara CA, May 1;[26] at Taft for Governor Luncheon, Columbus OH, May 10;[27] at 14th Annual World Pork Expo, DesMoines IA, June 7;[28] at 21st Century High Tech Forum, Eisenhower Executive Office Bldg, June 13;[29] at Texans for Rick Perry, Houston TX, June 14.[30]
    • Quoted by Paul Krugman in "Hitting the Trifecta," The New York Times [31]
  • We must speak the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th; malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists, themselves, away from the guilty. To inflame ethnic hatred is to advance the cause of terror.
  • I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower. The TV was obviously on. I used to fly myself and I said, "There's one terrible pilot."
    • Quoted in Elisabeth Bumiller (2001-12-05) "A Nation Challenged: The President" New York Times. Colloquial English allows Bush's remark to be interpreted as "I saw that an airplane had hit the tower."
  • "We're going to get [bin Laden] Dead or alive, it doesn't matter to me." 12/14/2001 [32] Bush's words elsewhere was that he is "determined" to capture Bin Laden dead or alive, and is confident about succeeding [33]

First inaugural address (January 20, 2001)[edit]

Inaugural address, Washington, D.C. (January 20, 2001)
  • The peaceful transfer of authority is rare in history, yet common in our country. With a simple oath, we affirm old traditions and make new beginnings.
  • America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens.
  • We are not this story's author, who fills time and eternity with His purpose. Yet His purpose is achieved in our duty, and our duty is fulfilled in service to one another. Never tiring, never yielding, never finishing, we renew that purpose today; to make our country more just and generous; to affirm the dignity of our lives and every life.
    This work continues. This story goes on. And an Angel still rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm.
    • Bush concluded his address with these lines, paraphrasing a quotation by John Page he had used earlier within it: We know the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong. Do you not think an angel rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm?. Page himself, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson (20 July 1776), was quoting a phrase from Ecclesiastes 9:11: I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to the intelligent, nor yet favour to men of knowledge; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Remark to the September 11 attacks (September 11, 2001)[edit]

Remark to the September 11, 2001 attacks condemning them (September 11, 2001)
  • Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices -- secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers. Moms and dads. Friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror.
  • The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation.
  • Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.
  • America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.
  • Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature, and we responded with the best of America, with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.
  • The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I've directed the full resources for our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.
  • America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world and we stand together to win the war against terrorism. Tonight I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.
  • This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.

Invasion of Afghanistan (October 7, 2001)[edit]

Invasion of Afganistan to remove the Taliban and al-Qaeda from power and capture Bin Laden (October 7, 2001)
  • More than two weeks ago, I gave Taliban leaders a series of clear and specific demands: Close terrorist training camps. Hand over leaders of the Al Qaeda network, and return all foreign nationals, including American citizens unjustly detained in our country. None of these demands were met. And now, the Taliban will pay a price.
  • The United States of America is a friend to the Afghan people, and we are the friends of almost a billion worldwide who practice the Islamic faith. The United States of America is an enemy of those who aid terrorists and of the barbaric criminals who profane a great religion by committing murder in its name. This military action is a part of our campaign against terrorism, another front in a war that has already been joined through diplomacy, intelligence, the freezing of financial assets and the arrests of known terrorists by law enforcement agents in 38 countries.
  • Given the nature and reach of our enemies, we will win this conflict by the patient accumulation of successes, by meeting a series of challenges with determination and will and purpose. Today we focus on Afghanistan, but the battle is broader. Every nation has a choice to make. In this conflict, there is no neutral ground. If any government sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocence, they have become outlaws and murderers themselves. And they will take that lonely path at their own peril.
  • We're a peaceful nation. Yet, as we have learned, so suddenly and so tragically, there can be no peace in a world of sudden terror. In the face of today's new threat, the only way to pursue peace is to pursue those who threaten it.
  • We did not ask for this mission, but we will fulfill it.
  • A commander in chief sends America's sons and daughters into battle in a foreign land only after the greatest care and a lot of prayer. We ask a lot of those who wear our uniform. We ask them to leave their loved ones, to travel great distances, to risk injury, even to be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. They are dedicated. They are honorable. They represent the best of our country, and we are grateful. To all the men and women in our military, every sailor, every soldier, every airman, every Coast Guardsman, every Marine, I say this: Your mission is defined. The objectives are clear. Your goal is just. You have my full confidence, and you will have every tool you need to carry out your duty.
  • I recently received a touching letter that says a lot about the state of America in these difficult times, a letter from a fourth grade girl with a father in the military. As much as I don't want my dad to fight, she wrote, I'm willing to give him to you. This is a precious gift. The greatest she could give. This young girl knows what America is all about.
  • Since September 11, an entire generation of young Americans has gained new understanding of the value of freedom and its cost and duty and its sacrifice. The battle is now joined on many fronts. We will not waiver, we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail. Peace and freedom will prevail.

2002[edit]

  • We are working hard to convince both the Indians and the Pakis there's a way to deal with their problems without going to war.
  • States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic.
    • Bush referring to Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as an "Axis of Evil" in his State of the Union Address (January 29, 2002)
  • Given the goals of rogue states and terrorists, the United States can no longer solely rely on a reactive posture as we have in the past. The inability to deter a potential attacker, the immediacy of today’s threats, and the magnitude of potential harm that could be caused by our adversaries’ choice of weapons, do not permit that option.We cannot let our enemies strike first.
  • I hope the message that we fight not a religion, but a group of fanatics which have hijacked a religion is getting through. I understand the propaganda machines are cranked up in the international community that paints our country in a bad light. We'll do everything we can to remind people that we've never been a nation of conquerors; we're a nation of liberators. And I would ask the skeptics to look at Afghanistan, where not only this country rout the Taliban, which was one of the most barbaric regimes in the history of mankind, but thanks to our strength and our compassion, many young girls now go to school for the first time.
  • Do you have blacks, too?
    • At a meeting of Presidents George W. Bush and Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, 2002. [34]
  • There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - can't get fooled again.
  • "Deep in my heart I know [Osama bin Laden] is on the run, if he's alive at all. Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not; we haven't heard from him in a long time. And the idea of focusing on one person is -- really indicates to me people don't understand the scope of the mission. Terror is bigger than one person. And he's just -- he's a person who's now been marginalized. His network, his host government has been destroyed. He's the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match."

2003[edit]

  • Why don't they ask [Saddam's intelligence chief, Tahir Jalil Habbush] to give us something we can use to help us make our case [to prove he had WMD]?
    • from Ron Suskind, The Way of the World, p. 364, on Bush's frustration at the results of secret meetings between British intelligence and Saddam's intelligence chief, Tahir Jalil Habbush
  • All the decades of deceit and cruelty have now reached an end. Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our choosing.
    • Ultimatum to Iraq (17 March 2003) [36]
  • In any conflict, your fate will depend on your action. Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people. Do not obey any command to use weapons of mass destruction against anyone, including the Iraqi people. War crimes will be prosecuted. War criminals will be punished. And it will be no defense to say, "I was just following orders."
    • Ultimatum to Iraq (17 March 2003) [37]
  • Every Iraqi atrocity has confirmed the justice and the urgency of our cause. (Applause.) Against this enemy we will accept no outcome except complete victory.


  • We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said, Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two. And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them.
  • The United States is committed to the worldwide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example.
  • There are some who feel like that, you know, the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring 'em on.
  • I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it.
  • See, free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don't attack each other. Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction.
  • We're fighting on many fronts, and Iraq is now the central front. Saddam holdouts and foreign terrorists are trying desperately to undermine Iraq's progress and to throw that country into chaos. The terrorists in Iraq believe their attacks on innocent people will weaken our resolve. That's what they believe. They believe that America will run from a challenge. They're mistaken. Americans are not the running kind.
  • Saddam's rape rooms and torture chambers and children's prisons are closed forever. His mass graves will claim no victims.
  • I love freedom of speech.
    • Said in reference to a protest by Greens member Bob Brown during his address to the Australian Parliament as Brown was ordered to leave the parliament. October 23, 2003 [44]
  • The enemy in Iraq believes America will run, that's why they're willing to kill innocent civilians, relief workers, coalition troops. America will never run. America will do what is necessary to make our country more secure.
  • My Geordie is probably just about as bad as my English.
  • The people have given us the duty to defend them, and that duty sometimes requires the violent restraint of violent men.
    • Speech 11/19/2003 Whitehall Palace, London [48]

Remarks after Columbia Space Shuttle Tragedy[edit]

Televised remarks (1 February 2003)
  • My fellow Americans, this day has brought terrible news and great sadness to our country. At 9:00 a.m. this morning, Mission Control in Houston lost contact with our Space Shuttle Columbia. A short time later, debris was seen falling from the skies above Texas. The Columbia is lost; there are no survivors.
    On board was a crew of seven: Colonel Rick Husband; Lt. Colonel Michael Anderson; Commander Laurel Clark; Captain David Brown; Commander William McCool; Dr. Kalpana Chawla; and Ilan Ramon, a Colonel in the Israeli Air Force. These men and women assumed great risk in the service to all humanity.
    In an age when space flight has come to seem almost routine, it is easy to overlook the dangers of travel by rocket, and the difficulties of navigating the fierce outer atmosphere of the Earth. These astronauts knew the dangers, and they faced them willingly, knowing they had a high and noble purpose in life. Because of their courage and daring and idealism, we will miss them all the more.
    All Americans today are thinking, as well, of the families of these men and women who have been given this sudden shock and grief. You're not alone. Our entire nation grieves with you. And those you loved will always have the respect and gratitude of this country.
    The cause in which they died will continue. Mankind is led into the darkness beyond our world by the inspiration of discovery and the longing to understand. Our journey into space will go on.
    In the skies today we saw destruction and tragedy. Yet farther than we can see there is comfort and hope. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Lift your eyes and look to the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out the starry hosts one by one and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
    The same Creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth; yet we can pray that all are safely home.
    May God bless the grieving families, and may God continue to bless America.

Columbia Space Shuttle Tragedy[edit]

President Bush at a memorial for the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster crew "Their Mission was Almost Complete" (4 February 2003)
  • The loss was sudden and terrible, and for their families, the grief is heavy. Our nation shares in your sorrow and in your pride. And today we remember not only one moment of tragedy, but seven lives of great purpose and achievement.
  • To leave behind Earth and air and gravity is an ancient dream of humanity. For these seven, it was a dream fulfilled. Each of these astronauts had the daring and discipline required of their calling. Each of them knew that great endeavors are inseparable from great risks. And each of them accepted those risks willingly, even joyfully, in the cause of discovery.
  • Our whole nation was blessed to have such men and women serving in our space program. Their loss is deeply felt, especially in this place, where so many of you called them friends. The people of NASA are being tested once again. In your grief, you are responding as your friends would have wished -- with focus, professionalism, and unbroken faith in the mission of this agency.
  • Captain Brown was correct: America's space program will go on.
  • This cause of exploration and discovery is not an option we choose; it is a desire written in the human heart. We are that part of creation which seeks to understand all creation. We find the best among us, send them forth into unmapped darkness, and pray they will return. They go in peace for all mankind, and all mankind is in their debt.
  • Yet, some explorers do not return. And the loss settles unfairly on a few. The families here today shared in the courage of those they loved. But now they must face life and grief without them. The sorrow is lonely; but you are not alone. In time, you will find comfort and the grace to see you through. And in God's own time, we can pray that the day of your reunion will come.
  • And to the children who miss your Mom or Dad so much today, you need to know, they love you, and that love will always be with you. They were proud of you. And you can be proud of them for the rest of your life.
  • The final days of their own lives were spent looking down upon this Earth. And now, on every continent, in every land they could see, the names of these astronauts are known and remembered. They will always have an honored place in the memory of this country. And today I offer the respect and gratitude of the people of the United States.
  • May God bless you all.

A Vision for Iraq and the Iraqi people (March 6, 2003)[edit]

Speech in Atlantic Summit in Azores, Portugal (March 6, 2003)
  • Iraq's talented people, rich culture, and tremendous potential have been hijacked by Saddam Hussein. His brutal regime has reduced a country with a long and proud history to an international pariah that oppresses its citizens, started two wars of aggression against its neighbors, and still poses a grave threat to the security of its region and the world.
  • Saddam's defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions demanding the disarmament of his nuclear, chemical, biological, and long-range missile capacity has led to sanctions on Iraq and has undermined the authority of the U.N. For 12 years, the international community has tried to persuade him to disarm and thereby avoid military conflict, most recently through the unanimous adoption of UNSCR 1441. The responsibility is his. If Saddam refuses even now to cooperate fully with the United Nations, he brings on himself the serious consequences foreseen in UNSCR 1441 and previous resolutions.
  • In these circumstances, we would undertake a solemn obligation to help the Iraqi people build a new Iraq at peace with itself and its neighbors. The Iraqi people deserve to be lifted from insecurity and tyranny, and freed to determine for themselves the future of their country. We envisage a unified Iraq with its territorial integrity respected. All the Iraqi people — its rich mix of Sunni and Shiite Arabs, Kurds, Turkomen, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and all others — should enjoy freedom, prosperity, and equality in a united country. We will support the Iraqi people's aspirations for a representative government that upholds human rights and the rule of law as cornerstones of democracy.
  • We will work to prevent and repair damage by Saddam Hussein's regime to the natural resources of Iraq and pledge to protect them as a national asset of and for the Iraqi people. All Iraqis should share the wealth generated by their national economy. We will seek a swift end to international sanctions, and support an international reconstruction program to help Iraq achieve real prosperity and reintegrate into the global community.
  • We will fight terrorism in all its forms. Iraq must never again be a haven for terrorists of any kind.
  • In achieving this vision, we plan to work in close partnership with international institutions, including the United Nations; our Allies and partners; and bilateral donors. If conflict occurs, we plan to seek the adoption, on an urgent basis, of new United Nations Security Council resolutions that would affirm Iraq's territorial integrity, ensure rapid delivery of humanitarian relief, and endorse an appropriate post-conflict administration for Iraq. We will also propose that the Secretary General be given authority, on an interim basis, to ensure that the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people continue to be met through the Oil for Food program.
  • Any military presence, should it be necessary, will be temporary and intended to promote security and elimination of weapons of mass destruction; the delivery of humanitarian aid; and the conditions for the reconstruction of Iraq. Our commitment to support the people of Iraq will be for the long term.
  • We call upon the international community to join with us in helping to realize a better future for the Iraqi people.

Invasion of Iraq (March 19, 2003)[edit]

White House Video and Transcript (19 March 2003)
  • My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.
  • On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein's ability to wage war. These are opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign. More than 35 countries are giving crucial support -- from the use of naval and air bases, to help with intelligence and logistics, to the deployment of combat units. Every nation in this coalition has chosen to bear the duty and share the honor of serving in our common defense.
  • To all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces now in the Middle East, the peace of a troubled world and the hopes of an oppressed people now depend on you. That trust is well placed.
  • The enemies you confront will come to know your skill and bravery. The people you liberate will witness the honorable and decent spirit of the American military. In this conflict, America faces an enemy who has no regard for conventions of war or rules of morality. Saddam Hussein has placed Iraqi troops and equipment in civilian areas, attempting to use innocent men, women and children as shields for his own military -- a final atrocity against his people.
  • I want Americans and all the world to know that coalition forces will make every effort to spare innocent civilians from harm. A campaign on the harsh terrain of a nation as large as California could be longer and more difficult than some predict. And helping Iraqis achieve a united, stable and free country will require our sustained commitment.
  • We come to Iraq with respect for its citizens, for their great civilization and for the religious faiths they practice. We have no ambition in Iraq, except to remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people.
  • I know that the families of our military are praying that all those who serve will return safely and soon. Millions of Americans are praying with you for the safety of your loved ones and for the protection of the innocent. For your sacrifice, you have the gratitude and respect of the American people. And you can know that our forces will be coming home as soon as their work is done.
  • Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly -- yet, our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. We will meet that threat now, with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of fire fighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities.
  • Now that conflict has come, the only way to limit its duration is to apply decisive force. And I assure you, this will not be a campaign of half measures, and we will accept no outcome but victory.
  • My fellow citizens, the dangers to our country and the world will be overcome. We will pass through this time of peril and carry on the work of peace. We will defend our freedom. We will bring freedom to others and we will prevail.
  • May God bless our country and all who defend her.

Mission Accomplished (May 1, 2003)[edit]

Speech on board the ship USS Abraham Lincoln on the mission and progress made in Iraq (May 1, 2003)
  • Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans, major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.
  • In this battle, we have fought for the cause of liberty and for the peace of the world. Our nation and our coalition are proud of this accomplishment, yet it is you, the members of the United States military, who achieved it. Your courage, your willingness to face danger for your country and for each other made this day possible. Because of you our nation is more secure. Because of you the tyrant has fallen and Iraq is free.
  • When Iraqi civilians looked into the faces of our service men and women, they saw strength and kindness and good will. When I look at the members of the United States military, I see the best of our country and I am honored to be your commander in chief.
  • No device of man can remove the tragedy from war, yet it is a great advance when the guilty have far more to fear from war than the innocent.
  • In the images of celebrating Iraqis we have also seen the ageless appeal of human freedom. Decades of lies and intimidation could not make the Iraqi people love their oppressors or desire their own enslavement. Men and women in every culture need liberty like they need food and water and air. Everywhere that freedom arrives, humanity rejoices and everywhere that freedom stirs, let tyrants fear.
  • The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11th, 2001 and still goes on. That terrible morning, 19 evil men, the shock troops of a hateful ideology, gave America and the civilized world a glimpse of their ambitions. They imagined, in the words of one terrorist, that September the 11th would be the beginning of the end of America. By seeking to turn our cities into killing fields, terrorists and their allies believed that they could destroy this nation's resolve and force our retreat from the world. They have failed.
  • In these 19 months that changed the world, our actions have been focused and deliberate and proportionate to the offense. We have not forgotten the victims of September the 11th, the last phone calls, the cold murder of children, the searches in the rubble. With those attacks, the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States, and war is what they got.
  • Our war against terror is proceeding according to the principles that I have made clear to all. Any person involved in committing or planning terrorist attacks against the American people becomes an enemy of this country and a target of American justice.
  • The advance of freedom is the surest strategy to undermine the appeal of terror in the world. Where freedom takes hold, hatred gives way to hope. When freedom takes hold, men and women turn to the peaceful pursuit of a better life.
  • No act of the terrorists will change our purpose, or weaken our resolve, or alter their fate. Their cause is lost; free nations will press on to victory.

Address to the National Endowment for Democracy (November 6, 2003)[edit]

United States Chamber of Commerce, Washington, DC [49]

  • The prosperity, and social vitality and technological progress of a people are directly determined by the extent of their liberty. Freedom honors and unleashes human creativity — and creativity determines the strength and wealth of nations. Liberty is both the plan of Heaven for humanity, and the best hope for progress here on Earth.
  • Are the peoples of the Middle East somehow beyond the reach of liberty? Are millions of men and women and children condemned by history or culture to live in despotism? Are they alone never to know freedom, and never even to have a choice in the matter? I, for one, do not believe it. I believe every person has the ability and the right to be free.
  • The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution.
  • The advance of freedom is the calling of our time; it is the calling of our country. From the Fourteen Points to the Four Freedoms, to the Speech at Westminster, America has put our power at the service of principle. We believe that liberty is the design of nature; we believe that liberty is the direction of history. We believe that human fulfillment and excellence come in the responsible exercise of liberty. And we believe that freedom — the freedom we prize — is not for us alone, it is the right and the capacity of all mankind.
  • This is, above all, the age of liberty.

Remarks on U.S.-British relations and foreign policy (November 19, 2003)[edit]

Whitehall Palace, London [50]

  • Americans traveling to England always observe more similarities to our country than differences. I've been here only a short time, but I've noticed the tradition of free speech exercised with enthusiasm is alive and well here in London. We have that at home too. They now have that right in Baghdad as well.
  • The United States and Great Britain share a mission in the world beyond the balance of power or the simple pursuit of interest. We seek the advance of freedom and the peace that freedom brings.
  • We cannot rely exclusively on military power to assure our long-term security. Lasting peace is gained as justice and democracy advance.
  • If the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation and anger and violence for export. And as we saw in the ruins of two towers, no distance on the map will protect our lives and way of life. If the greater Middle East joins the democratic revolution that has reached much of the world, the lives of millions in that region will be bettered, and a trend of conflict and fear will be ended at its source.
  • We did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq and pay a bitter cost of casualties and liberate 25 million people only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins.

Remarks on on the Capture of Saddam Hussein (December 14, 2003)[edit]

President Bush on Sunday delivered a television address on the capture of Saddam Hussein, saying that the toppled Iraqi leader would not threaten Iraqis ever again and congratulating U.S. forces. (December 14 2003)
  • Good afternoon. Yesterday, December the 13th, at around 8:30 p.m. Baghdad time, United States military forces captured Saddam Hussein alive. He was found near a farmhouse outside the city of Tikrit, in a swift raid conducted without casualties. And now the former dictator of Iraq will face the justice he denied to millions.
  • The capture of this man was crucial to the rise of a free Iraq. It marks the end of the road for him, and for all who bullied and killed in his name. For the Baathist holdouts largely responsible for the current violence, there will be no return to the corrupt power and privilege they once held. For the vast majority of Iraqi citizens who wish to live as free men and women, this event brings further assurance that the torture chambers and the secret police are gone forever.
  • And this afternoon, I have a message for the Iraqi people: You will not have to fear the rule of Saddam Hussein ever again. All Iraqis who take the side of freedom have taken the winning side. The goals of our coalition are the same as your goals — sovereignty for your country, dignity for your great culture, and for every Iraqi citizen, the opportunity for a better life.
  • In the history of Iraq, a dark and painful era is over. A hopeful day has arrived. All Iraqis can now come together and reject violence and build a new Iraq.
  • The success of yesterday's mission is a tribute to our men and women now serving in Iraq. The operation was based on the superb work of intelligence analysts who found the dictator's footprints in a vast country. The operation was carried out with skill and precision by a brave fighting force. Our servicemen and women and our coalition allies have faced many dangers in the hunt for members of the fallen regime, and in their effort to bring hope and freedom to the Iraqi people. Their work continues, and so do the risks. Today, on behalf of the nation, I thank the members of our Armed Forces and I congratulate 'em.
  • I also have a message for all Americans: The capture of Saddam Hussein does not mean the end of violence in Iraq. We still face terrorists who would rather go on killing the innocent than accept the rise of liberty in the heart of the Middle East. Such men are a direct threat to the American people, and they will be defeated.
  • We've come to this moment through patience and resolve and focused action. And that is our strategy moving forward. The war on terror is a different kind of war, waged capture by capture, cell by cell, and victory by victory. Our security is assured by our perseverance and by our sure belief in the success of liberty. And the United States of America will not relent until this war is won.
  • May God bless the people of Iraq, and may God bless America.
  • Thank you.

2004[edit]

  • Well, no... He is the wrong father to appeal to for advice. The wrong father to go to, to appeal to in terms of strength. There's a higher Father that I appeal to.
    • Response to reporter Bob Woodward's inquiring as to whether, prior to the 2003 Iraq invasion, he had sought any advice from his father, George H. W. Bush. (The latter, during his own presidency, had led a successful invasion of Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War.) Words quoted are as recalled by Woodward during his one-on-one White House interview with Bush in 2003 or early 2004, and later recounted by Woodward in a 2004 interview with 60 Minutes. [51]
  • Returning to the moon is an important step for our space program. Establishing an extended human presence on the moon could vastly reduce the costs of further space exploration, making possible ever more ambitious missions. Lifting heavy spacecraft and fuel out of the Earth's gravity is expensive. Spacecraft assembled and provisioned on the moon could escape its far lower gravity using far less energy, and thus, far less cost. Also, the moon is home to abundant resources. Its soil contains raw materials that might be harvested and processed into rocket fuel or breathable air. We can use our time on the moon to develop and test new approaches and technologies and systems that will allow us to function in other, more challenging environments. The moon is a logical step toward further progress and achievement.
  • No President has ever done more for human rights than I have.
  • This is my chance to help this lady put some money in her pocket. Let me explain how the economy works. When you spend money to buy food it helps this lady's business. It makes it more likely somebody is going to find work. So instead of asking questions, answer mine: are you going to buy some food?
    • Remarks by the President to the Press Pool, Nothin' Fancy Cafe, Roswell, New Mexico — Whitehouse Transcript[52], Office of the Press Secretary, January 22, 2004.
  • Right here in the Oval Office I sat down with Mr. Pachachi and Chalabi and al-Hakim, people from different parts of the country that have made the firm commitment, that they want a constitution eventually written that recognizes minority rights and freedom of religion.
  • I fully understand it takes time for free societies, truly free societies to evolve. I don't expect instant success.
  • Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere... Nope, no weapons over there... Maybe under here.
  • ...because the 9/11 Commission wants to ask us questions, that's why we're meeting. And I look forward to meeting with them and answering their questions. [...] Because it's a good chance for both of us to answer questions that the 9/11 Commission is looking forward to asking us, and I'm looking forward to answering them.
  • Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.
  • My meetings with [Ahmed Chalabi] were very brief. I mean, I think I met with him at the State of the Union and just kind of working through the rope line, and he might have come with a group of leaders. But I haven't had any extensive conversations with him.
  • Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.
  • Tribal sovereignty means that; it's sovereign. I mean, you're a — you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity. And therefore the relationship between the federal government and tribes is one between sovereign entities.
  • That's why I cut the taxes on everybody. I didn't cut them. The Congress cut them. I asked them to cut them.
  • This young century will be liberty's century. By promoting liberty abroad, we will build a safer world. By encouraging liberty at home, we will build a more hopeful America. Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom. This is the everlasting dream of America.
  • I don't think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world.
    • In response to the question of whether we can win the war on terror (August 30, 2004) [59]
  • In this different kind of war, we may never sit down at a peace table. But make no mistake about it, we are winning, and we will win.
    • Speech at the national convention of the American Legion, in Nashville, Tennessee (August 31, 2004) [60]
  • I believe it is the job of a President to confront problems, not pass them on to future Presidents and future generations.
  • [W]e're creating... an ownership society in this country, where more Americans than ever will be able to open up their door where they live and say, welcome to my house, welcome to my piece of property.
    • Remarks to the National Association of Home Builders, Columbus, Ohio, October 2, 2004 [63]
  • I'm asking Congress to pass my Zero Down Payment Initiative. We should remove the 3 percent down payment rule for first time home buyers with FHA-insured mortgages.
    • Remarks to the National Association of Home Builders, Columbus, Ohio, October 2, 2004 [64]
  • I hear there's rumors on the internets [pause] that we're going to have a draft. We're not going to have a draft, period.
  • I wasn't happy when we found out there wasn't weapons [of mass destruction in Iraq]
  • Our health care system is the envy of the world.
  • I made it very plain: We will not have an all-volunteer army. [Crowd boos] Let me restate that. We will not have a draft. [Crowd Cheers]
  • A political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your commander in chief.
  • Now that I've got the will of the people at my back, I'm going to start enforcing the one-question rule. That was three questions.
  • Again, he violated the one-question rule right off the bat. Obviously, you didn't listen to the will of the people.
  • America would do it again for our friends.
    • at July 6th 2004, Normandy, France [71]
  • And as a result of the United States military, Taliban no longer is in existence.
    • Speech in Springfield, Ohio, September 27, 2004 [72]

Speech to United Nations General Assembly (September 21, 2004)[edit]

UN Headquarters, New York, NY [73]

  • For decades, the circle of liberty and security and development has been expanding in our world. This progress has brought unity to Europe, self-government to Latin America and Asia, and new hope to Africa. Now we have the historic chance to widen the circle even further, to fight radicalism and terror with justice and dignity, to achieve a true peace, founded on human freedom.
  • We know that dictators are quick to choose aggression, while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace. We know that oppressive governments support terror, while free governments fight the terrorists in their midst. We know that free peoples embrace progress and life, instead of becoming the recruits for murderous ideologies.
  • Every nation that wants peace will share the benefits of a freer world. And every nation that seeks peace has an obligation to help build that world.
  • The security of our world is found in the advancing rights of mankind.
  • Peaceful nations must stand for the advance of democracy. No other system of government has done more to protect minorities, to secure the rights of labor, to raise the status of women, or to channel human energy to the pursuits of peace.
  • When it comes to the desire for liberty and justice, there is no clash of civilizations. People everywhere are capable of freedom, and worthy of freedom.
  • The desire for freedom resides in every human heart. And that desire cannot be contained forever by prison walls, or martial laws, or secret police. Over time, and across the Earth, freedom will find a way.
  • For too long, many nations, including my own, tolerated, even excused, oppression in the Middle East in the name of stability. Oppression became common, but stability never arrived. We must take a different approach. We must help the reformers of the Middle East as they work for freedom, and strive to build a community of peaceful, democratic nations.
  • The advance of liberty is the path to both a safer and better world.

2005[edit]

  • We had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 elections.
  • Because the — all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those — changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be — or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the — like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate — the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those — if that growth is affected, it will help on the red. (4 February 2005)[75]
  • I think people attack me because they are fearful that I will then say that you're not equally as patriotic if you're not a religious person. ... I've never said that. I've never acted like that. I think that's just the way it is. (Washington Times, 12 January 2005)
  • Because he's hiding.
    • Asked why his administration had been unable to locate and arrest Osama Bin Laden. (16 January 2005) [77]
  • This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. (Short pause) And having said that, all options are on the table. (Laughter) (25 February 2005) [79]
  • "Hello, what's your name?"
    "My name is Mr. Fischer, what's your name?"
    "Bush. I'm Mr. Bush."
    • Dialogue with German foreign minister and Vice Chancellor Joschka Fischer during his visit in Germany, 24. February 2005 [80]
  • I made it very clear to the Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayers' money to promote science which destroys life in order to save life is — I'm against that. And therefore, if the bill does that, I will veto it. (emphasis added) AP, 21 May 2005
  • See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda. — May 24, 2005 [82]
  • I was going to say he's a piece of work, but that might not translate too well. Is that all right, if I call you a 'piece of work'?
    • to Jean-Claude Juncker, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg (June 20, 2005) [83]
  • On United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the United States reaffirms its commitment to the worldwide elimination of torture. Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right, and we are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law…Throughout the world, there are many who have been seeking to have their voices heard, to stand up for their right to freedom, and to break the chains of tyranny. Too many of those courageous women and men are paying a terrible price for their brave acts of dissent. Many have been detained, arrested, thrown in prison, and subjected to torture by regimes that fail to understand that their habits of control will not serve them well in the long-term. — June 26 [84]
  • I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm. But these levees got breached. And as a result, much of New Orleans is flooded. And now we are having to deal with it and will. — September 1, 2005. [85]
  • What I intend to do is lead an investigation to find out what went right and what went wrong.... I think one of the things that people want us to do here is to play a blame game. We've got to solve problems. We're problem-solvers. There will be ample time for people to figure out what went right and what went wrong. What I'm interested in is helping save lives. That's what I want to do.
    • Answering a question regarding Katrina aftermath and what went wrong with government response — September 6, 2005. [86]
  • I understand not everybody agrees with the decisions I've made, but that's not unique to Central or South America. Truth of the matter is, there's people who disagree with the decisions I've made all over the world. But that's what happens when you make decisions.
  • Thank you. God told me to wear it.
    That's a joke.
    • Responding to a compliment on his suit from European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso (November 2005) [88]
  • As Iraqi forces gain experience and the political process advances, we will be able to decrease our troop level in Iraq without losing our capability to defeat the terrorists. These decisions about troop levels will be driven by the conditions on the ground in Iraq and the good judgment of our commanders, not by artificial timetables set by politicians in Washington.
  • There was no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the attack of 9/11, I've never said that and never made that case prior to going into Iraq.
    • Reuters, December 2005, quoted in Steve Coffman, Founders v. Bush (2007)

Second Inaugural Address (January 20, 2005)[edit]

  • The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.
  • From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth. Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave.
  • We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation — the moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right.
  • As hope kindles hope, millions more will find it. By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well — a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world.
  • In America's ideal of freedom, the public interest depends on private character — on integrity and tolerance toward others and the rule of conscience in our own lives. Self-government relies, in the end, on the governing of the self.
    That edifice of character is built in families, supported by communities with standards,and sustained in our national life by the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount, the words of the Koran and the varied faiths of our people. Americans move forward in every generation by reaffirming all that is good and true that came before — ideals of justice and conduct that are the same yesterday, today and forever.
  • The exercise of rights is ennobled by service and mercy and a heart for the weak. Liberty for all does not mean independence from one another. Our nation relies on men and women who look after a neighbor and surround the lost with love. Americans, at our best, value the life we see in one another and must always remember that even the unwanted have worth. And our country must abandon all the habits of racism because we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time.
  • From the perspective of a single day, including this day of dedication, the issues and questions before our country are many. From the viewpoint of centuries, the questions that come to us are narrowed and few. Did our generation advance the cause of freedom? And did our character bring credit to that cause?
  • We have known divisions, which must be healed to move forward in great purposes — and I will strive in good faith to heal them. Yet those divisions do not define America. We felt the unity and fellowship of our nation when freedom came under attack, and our response came like a single hand over a single heart. And we can feel that same unity and pride whenever America acts for good, and the victims of disaster are given hope, and the unjust encounter justice, and the captives are set free.
  • We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as he wills. We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul. When our Founders declared a new order of the ages, when soldiers died in wave upon wave for a union based on liberty, when citizens marched in peaceful outrage under the banner "Freedom Now" — they were acting on an ancient hope that is meant to be fulfilled.
  • History has an ebb and flow of justice, but history also has a visible direction set by liberty and the author of liberty. When the Declaration of Independence was first read in public and the Liberty Bell was sounded in celebration, a witness said, "It rang as if it meant something." In our time it means something still. America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength — tested, but not weary — we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom.

Address to the National Endowment for Democracy (October 6, 2005)[edit]

Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington, DC [92]

  • Our nation stood guard on tense borders; we spoke for the rights of dissidents and the hopes of exile; we aided the rise of new democracies on the ruins of tyranny. And all the cost and sacrifice of that struggle has been worth it, because, from Latin America to Europe to Asia, we've gained the peace that freedom brings.
  • We're facing a radical ideology with inalterable objectives: to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world. No act of ours invited the rage of the killers — and no concession, bribe, or act of appeasement would change or limit their plans for murder.
  • Because free peoples believe in the future, free peoples will own the future.
  • Any government that chooses to be an ally of terror has also chosen to be an enemy of civilization.
  • There's always a temptation, in the middle of a long struggle, to seek the quiet life, to escape the duties and problems of the world, and to hope the enemy grows weary of fanaticism and tired of murder. This would be a pleasant world, but it's not the world we live in. The enemy is never tired, never sated, never content with yesterday's brutality. This enemy considers every retreat of the civilized world as an invitation to greater violence.
  • In Iraq, there is no peace without victory. We will keep our nerve and we will win that victory.

Address to the Nation on Iraqi Elections (December 18, 2005)[edit]

  • My conviction comes down to this: we do not create terrorism by fighting the terrorists. We invite terrorism by ignoring them.
  • If you think the terrorists would become peaceful if only America would stop provoking them, then it might make sense to leave them alone. This is not the threat I see. I see a global terrorist movement that exploits Islam in the service of radical political aims — a vision in which books are burned, and women are oppressed, and all dissent is crushed.
  • To retreat before victory would be an act of recklessness and dishonor and I will not allow it.

2006[edit]

  • One of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq with the war on terror.
    • September 7, 2006 interview with Katie Couric [YouTube]
  • I believe that a prosperous, democratic Pakistan will be a steadfast partner for America, a peaceful neighbor for India and a force for freedom and moderation in the Arab world.
    • Televised speech in India, March 3, 2006; According to one news report, "White House spokesman Scott McClellan later had to explain aboard Air Force One en route to Pakistan that Bush meant to say 'Muslim world' — uncomfortably noting that Pakistan is not an Arab nation."
    • "Bush's Pakistan visit not 'risk-free'" Chicago Tribune, March 3, 2006
  • I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound largemouth bass in my lake.
    • Revealing his "best moment since he took office in 2001" to a German newspaper reporter, Bild am Sonntag. [93] (May 7, 2006)
  • Eventually, these people will have trials and they will have counsel and they will be represented in a court of law.
  • I traveled to Baghdad to personally show our nation's commitment to a free Iraq, because it is vital for the Iraqi people to know with certainty that America will not abandon them after we have come this far. The challenges that remain in Iraq are serious. We face determined enemies who remain intent on killing the innocent, and defeating these enemies will require more sacrifice and the continued patience of our country. But our efforts in Iraq are well worth it, the mission is necessary for the security of our country, and we will succeed.
  • Liberty can be delayed, but it cannot be denied.
  • Too many doctors are going out of business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their...their love with women all across this country.
  • In the long term, we’ve got to defeat an ideology of hate with an ideology of hope. There’s a reason why people like (al-Qaida leader Osama) bin Laden are able to recruit suiciders, because if you don’t have hope, you’re attracted to an ideology which says, it’s OK to kill people and kill yourself.
  • If there’s any comparison between the compassion and decency of the American people and the terrorist tactics of extremists, it’s flawed logic. It’s just — I simply can’t accept that. It’s unacceptable to think that there’s any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective.
  • I know the American people understand the stakes in Iraq. They want to win. They will support the war as long as they see a path to victory. Americans can have confidence that we will prevail because thousands of smart, dedicated military and civilian personnel are risking their lives and are working around the clock to ensure our success.
  • So if you happen to bump into a Democrat candidate, you might want to ask this simple question: What's your plan? If they say they want to protect the homeland, but oppose the Patriot Act, ask them this question: What's your plan? If they say they want to uncover terrorist plots, but oppose listening in on terrorist conversations, ask them this question: What's your plan? If they say they want to stop new attacks on our country, but oppose letting the CIA detain and question the terrorists who might know what those plots are, ask them this question: What's your plan? If they say they want to win the war on terror, but call for America to pull out from what al Qaeda says is the central front in this war, ask them this question: What's your plan?...The truth is, the Democrats can't answer that question. Harsh criticism is not a plan for victory. Second-guessing is not a strategy.
  • ...Hunt asked me the question one week before the campaign, and basically it was, are you going to do something about Rumsfeld and the Vice President? And my answer was, they're going to stay on. And the reason why is I didn't want to inject a major decision about this war in the final days of a campaign. And so the only way to answer that question and to get you on to another question was to give you that answer.
    • The President's reasoning for telling reporters in the Oval Office that the current Defense Secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld, would be staying on, although Bush had already selected potential replacements. Given at a news conference (November 8, 2006)
  • You know, I think an interesting construct that General [Peter] Pace uses is, "We're not winning, we're not losing."
  • ...I believe that we're going to win; I believe that -- and by the way, if I didn't think that, I wouldn't have our troops there. That's what you got to know. We're going to succeed.
    • In response to a question concerning Bush stating two months prior "Absolutely we're winning" in Iraq and then saying in the Washington Post "We're not winning, we're not losing." Press Conference from the White House Indian Treaty Room (December 20, 2006)
  • ...The battle against the Sunnis - Sunni extremists - some of them Saddamists, some of there are al Qaeda, but all of them aiming to try to drive the United States out of Iraq before the job is done.

State of the Union (January 31, 2006)[edit]

[96]

Listen to an original recording of these quotes:

  • In a complex and challenging time, the road of isolationism and protectionism may seem broad and inviting — yet it ends in danger and decline. The only way to protect our people ... the only way to secure the peace ... the only way to control our destiny is by our leadership — so the United States of America will continue to lead.
  • Abroad, our nation is committed to an historic, long-term goal — we seek the end of tyranny in our world. Some dismiss that goal as misguided idealism. In reality, the future security of America depends on it.
  • No one can deny the success of freedom, but some men rage and fight against it. And one of the main sources of reaction and opposition is radical Islam — the perversion by a few of a noble faith into an ideology of terror and death.
  • Lacking the military strength to challenge us directly, the terrorists have chosen the weapon of fear. When they murder children at a school in Beslan or blow up commuters in London or behead a bound captive the terrorists hope these horrors will break our will, allowing the violent to inherit the earth. But they have miscalculated: We love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it.
  • In a time of testing, we cannot find security by abandoning our commitments and retreating within our borders. If we were to leave these vicious attackers alone, they would not leave us alone. They would simply move the battlefield to our own shores. There is no peace in retreat. And there is no honor in retreat.
  • But our enemies and our friends can be certain: The United States will not retreat from the world, and we will never surrender to evil. America rejects the false comfort of isolationism. We are the nation that saved liberty in Europe, and liberated death camps, and helped raise up democracies, and faced down an evil empire. Once again, we accept the call of history to deliver the oppressed, and move this world toward peace. We remain on the offensive against terror networks. We have killed or captured many of their leaders — and for the others, their day will come.
  • Members of Congress: however we feel about the decisions and debates of the past, our nation has only one option: We must keep our word, defeat our enemies, and stand behind the American military in its vital mission.
  • This terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people inside our country who are talking with al Qaeda, we want to know about it — because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again.
  • Our own generation is in a long war against a determined enemy — a war that will be fought by presidents of both parties, who will need steady bipartisan support from the Congress. And tonight I ask for yours. Together, let us protect our country, support the men and women who defend us, and lead this world toward freedom.
  • Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.
  • America is a great force for freedom and prosperity. Yet our greatness is not measured in power or luxuries, but by who we are and how we treat one another. So we strive to be a compassionate, decent, hopeful society.
  • As we look at these challenges, we must never give in to the belief that America is in decline, or that our culture is doomed to unravel. The American people know better than that. We have proven the pessimists wrong before — and we will do it again.
  • Fellow citizens, we have been called to leadership in a period of consequence. We have entered a great ideological conflict we did nothing to invite. We see great changes in science and commerce that will influence all our lives. And sometimes it can seem that history is turning in a wide arc, toward an unknown shore. Yet the destination of history is determined by human action, and every great movement of history comes to a point of choosing.
  • Today, having come far in our own historical journey, we must decide: Will we turn back, or finish well? Before history is written down in books, it is written in courage. Like Americans before us, we will show that courage and we will finish well. We will lead freedom's advance. We will compete and excel in the global economy. We will renew the defining moral commitments of this land. And so we move forward — optimistic about our country, faithful to its cause, and confident of victories to come.

United Nations General Assembly in September 2006[edit]

[97]

  • Imagine what it's like to be a young person living in a country that is not moving toward reform...While your peers in other parts of the world have received educations that prepare them for the opportunities of a global economy, you have been fed propaganda and conspiracy theories that blame others for your country's shortcomings.
  • Extremists in your midst spread propaganda claiming that the West is engaged in a war against Islam. This propaganda is false, and its purpose is to confuse you and justify acts of terror. This propaganda is false, and its purpose is to confuse you and justify acts of terror. We respect Islam, but we will protect our people from those who pervert Islam to sow death and destruction. Our goal is to help you build a more tolerant and hopeful society that honors people of all faiths and promotes the peace.

2007[edit]

  • Some say our approach is really just more troops for the same strategy. In fact, we have a new strategy with a new mission: helping secure the population, especially in Baghdad. Our plan puts Iraqis in the lead.... Members of Congress have a right to express their views, and express them forcefully. But those who refuse to give this plan a chance to work have an obligation to offer an alternative that has a better chance for success. To oppose everything while proposing nothing is irresponsible.
  • Well, no question decisions have made things unstable. But the question is can we succeed. And I believe we can. Listen, I'd like to see stability and a unified Iraq. A young democracy will provide the stability we look for. I will tell you that if we just isolate ourselves from the Middle East and hope for the best, we will not address the conditions that had led young suiciders to get on airplanes to come and attack us in the first place.
  • Well, you know, I think a lot of people are in this fight. I mean, they sacrifice peace of mind when they see the terrible images of violence on TV every night.
    • NewsHour interview with Jim Lehrer in response to the question “Why have you not asked more Americans to sacrifice something?” regarding the Iraq War (January 16, 2007)
  • ...One of the things I have discovered is, in Washington, D.C. most people understand the consequences of failure. And if failure is not an option, then it's up to the president to come up with a plan that is more likely to succeed.
  • One of the things I've found in Congress is that most people recognize that failure would be a disaster for the United States. And in that I'm the decision maker, I had to come up with a way forward that precluded disaster. In other words, I had to think about what's likely to work. And so I worked with our military and I worked with Secretary Gates to come up with a plan that is likely to succeed. And the implementor of that plan is going to be General Petraeus. And my call to the Congress is, is that I know there is skepticism and pessimism, and that they are -- some are condemning a plan before it's even had a chance to work. And they have an obligation and a serious responsibility, therefore, to put up their own plan as to what would work. I've listened a lot to members of Congress. I've listened carefully to their suggestions. I have picked the plan that I think is most likely to succeed, because I understand, like many in Congress understand, success is very important for the security of the country.
  • I think that the vice president is a person reflecting a half-glass-full mentality, and that is he's been able to look at – as have I, and I hope other Americans have – the fact that the tyrant was removed, 12 million people voted, there is an Iraqi constitution in place that is a model for – and unique for the Middle East.
  • What we're trying to do with this reinforcement of our troops is to provide enough space so that the Iraqi government can meet certain benchmarks or certain requirements for a unity government to survive and for the country to be strong.
  • George Washington's long struggle for freedom has also inspired generations of Americans to stand for freedom in their own time. Today, we're fighting a new war to defend our liberty and our people and our way of life. And as we work to advance the cause of freedom around the world, we remember that the father of our country believed that the freedoms we secured in our revolution were not meant for Americans alone. He once wrote, "My best wishes are irresistibly excited whensoever in any country I see an oppressed nation unfurl the banners of freedom." President Washington believed that the success of our democracy would also depend on the virtue of our citizens. In his farewell address to the American people, he said, "Morality is a necessary spring of popular government." Over the centuries, America has succeeded because we have always tried to maintain the decency and the honor of our first President. His example guided us in his time; it guides us in our time, and it will guide us for all time.
  • It can be tempting to look at the challenges in Iraq and conclude our best option is to pack up and go home. That may be satisfying in the short run, but I believe the consequences for American security would be devastating. If American forces were to step back from Baghdad before it is more secure, a contagion of violence could spill out across the entire country. In time, this violence could engulf the region. The terrorists could emerge from the chaos with a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they had in Afghanistan, which they used to plan the attacks of September the 11th, 2001. For the safety of the American people, we cannot allow this to happen.
  • Our nation is shocked and saddened by the news of the shootings at Virginia Tech today...Schools should be places of safety, and sanctuary, and learning. When that sanctuary is violated, the impact is felt in every American classroom and every American community. Today our nation grieves with those who have lost loved ones at Virginia Tech. We hold the victims in our hearts; we lift them up in our prayers; and we ask a loving God to comfort those who are suffering today.
    • Statement on the massacre at Virginia Tech University from the Diplomatic Room of the White House (April 16, 2007) [citation needed]
  • Laura and I have come to Blacksburg today with hearts full of sorrow. This is a day of mourning for the Virginia Tech community -- and it is a day of sadness for our entire nation. We've come to express our sympathy. In this time of anguish, I hope you know that people all over this country are thinking about you, and asking God to provide comfort for all who have been affected.

    Yesterday began like any other day. Students woke up, and they grabbed their backpacks and they headed for class. And soon the day took a dark turn, with students and faculty barricading themselves in classrooms and dormitories -- confused, terrified, and deeply worried. By the end of the morning, it was the worst day of violence on a college campus in American history -- and for many of you here today, it was the worst day of your lives.

    It's impossible to make sense of such violence and suffering. Those whose lives were taken did nothing to deserve their fate. They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now they're gone -- and they leave behind grieving families, and grieving classmates, and a grieving nation.

  • It makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing. All the terrorists would have to do is mark their calendars and gather their strength -- and begin plotting how to overthrow the government and take control of the country of Iraq. I believe setting a deadline for withdrawal would demoralize the Iraqi people, would encourage killers across the broader Middle East, and send a signal that America will not keep its commitments. Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure -- and that would be irresponsible.
  • As you watch the developments in Baghdad, it's important to understand that we will not be able to prevent every al Qaeda attack. When a terrorist is willing to kill himself to kill others, it's really hard to stop him. Yet, over time, the security operation in Baghdad is designed to shrink the areas where al Qaeda can operate, it's designed to bring out more intelligence about their presence, and designed to allow American and Iraqi forces to dismantle their network.

    We have a strategy to deal with al Qaeda in Iraq. But any time you say to a bunch of cold-blooded killers, success depends on no violence, all that does is hand them the opportunity to be successful. And it's hard. I know it's hard for the American people to turn on their TV screens and see the horrific violence. It speaks volumes about the American desire to protect lives of innocent people, America's deep concern about human rights and human dignity. It also speaks volumes about al Qaeda, that they're willing to take innocent life to achieve political objectives.

    The terrorists will continue to fight back. In other words, they understand what they're doing. And casualties are likely to stay high. Yet, day by day, block by block, we are steadfast in helping Iraqi leaders counter the terrorists, protect their people, and reclaim the capital. And if I didn't think it was necessary for the security of the country, I wouldn't put our kids in harm's way.

    ...Either we'll succeed, or we won't succeed. And the definition of success as I described is sectarian violence down. Success is not, no violence. There are parts of our own country that have got a certain level of violence to it. But success is a level of violence where the people feel comfortable about living their daily lives. And that's what we're trying to achieve.

  • You helped our nation celebrate its Bicentennial in 17- [hastily corrects himself] in 1976. [Queen gives him a sharp look and mutters inaudibly] She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child.
  • If you want to kill the bill, if you don't want to do what's right for America, you can pick one little aspect out of it, you can use it to frighten people. Or you can show leadership and solve this problem once and for all, so the people who wear the uniform in this crowd can do the job we expect them to do.
  • I respect the jury’s verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.
  • It's more of a theological perspective. I do believe there is an Almighty, and I believe a gift of that Almighty to all is freedom. And I will tell you that is a principle that no one can convince me that doesn't exist.
  • (He) ... said he'd like to be there but "One, I'm too old to be out there, and two, they would notice me."
  • I thought an interesting comment was made when somebody said to me, I heard somebody say, where's Mandela? Well, Mandela is dead, because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas.
  • United States can't impose peace. We can encourage the development of a state.... We can facilitate that. But we can't force people to make hard decisions. They're gonna have to do that themselves.... Gotta ask yourselves, why don't they want there to be a democracy. The answer is, because it doesn't fit in with their ideological vision.
    • Oct. 17, 2007 press conference, talking about the Palestinians (not the Iraqis) [citation needed]
  • We got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel. So I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.
  • Sometimes we must fight terror with tyranny. Press Conference (November 7, 2007 press conference, talking about Pakistan)

Address to Nation (January 10, 2007)[edit]

Address to the Nation (January 10, 2007)

  • The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people -- and it is unacceptable to me. Our troops in Iraq have fought bravely. They have done everything we have asked them to do. Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me.
  • I've made it clear to the Prime Minister and Iraq's other leaders that America's commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people -- and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people. Now is the time to act.
  • Fellow citizens: The year ahead will demand more patience, sacrifice, and resolve. It can be tempting to think that America can put aside the burdens of freedom. Yet times of testing reveal the character of a nation. And throughout our history, Americans have always defied the pessimists and seen our faith in freedom redeemed. Now America is engaged in a new struggle that will set the course for a new century. We can, and we will, prevail.
  • Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenges. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We'll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.

Virginia Tech Prayer Vigil (April 17, 2007)[edit]

President Bush at Prayer Vigil for Virginia Shooting Victims: "Yesterday began like any other day" (17 April 2007)
  • Yesterday began like any other day. Students woke up, and they grabbed their backpacks and they headed for class. And soon the day took a dark turn, with students and faculty barricading themselves in classrooms and dormitories -- confused, terrified, and deeply worried. By the end of the morning, it was the worst day of violence on a college campus in American history -- and for many of you here today, it was the worst day of your lives.
  • It's impossible to make sense of such violence and suffering. Those whose lives were taken did nothing to deserve their fate. They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now they're gone -- and they leave behind grieving families, and grieving classmates, and a grieving nation.
  • In such times as this, we look for sources of strength to sustain us. And in this moment of loss, you're finding these sources everywhere around you. These sources of strength are in this community, this college community. You have a compassionate and resilient community here at Virginia Tech. Even as yesterday's events were still unfolding, members of this community found each other; you came together in dorm rooms and dining halls and on blogs. One recent graduate wrote this: "I don't know most of you guys, but we're all Hokies, which means we're family. To all of you who are okay, I'm happy for that. For those of you who are in pain or have lost someone close to you, I'm sure you can call on anyone of us and have help any time you need it."
  • These sources of strength are with your loved ones. For many of you, your first instinct was to call home and let your moms and dads know that you were okay. Others took on the terrible duty of calling the relatives of a classmate or a colleague who had been wounded or lost. I know many of you feel awfully far away from people you lean on and people you count on during difficult times. But as a dad, I can assure you, a parent's love is never far from their child's heart. And as you draw closer to your own families in the coming days, I ask you to reach out to those who ache for sons and daughters who will never come home.
  • These sources of strength are also in the faith that sustains so many of us. Across the town of Blacksburg and in towns all across America, houses of worship from every faith have opened their doors and have lifted you up in prayer. People who have never met you are praying for you; they're praying for your friends who have fallen and who are injured. There's a power in these prayers, real power. In times like this, we can find comfort in the grace and guidance of a loving God. As the Scriptures tell us, "Don't be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
  • And on this terrible day of mourning, it's hard to imagine that a time will come when life at Virginia Tech will return to normal. But such a day will come. And when it does, you will always remember the friends and teachers who were lost yesterday, and the time you shared with them, and the lives they hoped to lead. May God bless you. May God bless and keep the souls of the lost. And may His love touch all those who suffer and grieve.

2008[edit]

  • ...a clear lesson I learned in the museum was that outside forces that tend to divide people up inside their country are unbelievably counterproductive. In other words, people came from other countries — I guess you’d call them colonialists — and they pitted one group of people against another.
    • Press Availability with President Kagame of Rwanda (February 19, 2008) [98] [99]
  • Wait, what did you just say? You're predicting $4 a gallon gasoline?. . . That's interesting. I hadn't heard that.
    • Whitehouse Press Conference, after being asked about the prospect of Americans facing $4 for a gallon of gasoline (February 28, 2008)
  • I hadn’t heard that.... I, frankly, have been focused elsewhere, like on gasoline prices.
    • Explaining, first, that he hadn't heard gas prices were climbing to $4, then explaining he was focused on gas prices in response to a question of what groups fund his library; press conference, February 28, 2008 Watch video
  • The bill Congress sent me would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror -- the CIA program to detain and question key terrorist leaders and operatives.
    • President's Radio Address, regarding the President's veto of a bill that would have banned waterboarding as an interrogation technique (March 8, 2008)
  • I must say, I'm a little envious. If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed. It must be exciting for you ... in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You're really making history, and thanks.
  • And yes, I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved.... I told the country we did that. And I also told them it was legal. We had legal opinions that enabled us to do it.
    • In an interview regarding his awareness that his top national security advisors had discussed the details of harsh interrogation tactics to be used on detainees (April 11, 2008)
  • Goodbye, from the world's biggest polluter.
    • Concluding a private address at the Tokyo G8 summit; July 12, 2008; [100]
  • If money isn't loosened up, this sucker could go down.
    • Summing up the risk to the global economy if Congressional leaders failed to approve Treasury Secretary Paulson's $700 billion financial bailout plan, at a bipartisan meeting hosted by the White House (September 26, 2008); [101]

2009[edit]

  • I'm going to put people in my place, so when the history of this administration is written at least there's an authoritarian voice saying exactly what happened.

Farewell speech to the nation (January 15, 2009)[edit]

George W Bush farewell speech to the nation in the white House (January 15, 2009)
  • Fellow citizens: For eight years, it has been my honor to serve as your President. The first decade of this new century has been a period of consequence – a time set apart. Tonight, with a thankful heart, I have asked for a final opportunity to share some thoughts on the journey we have traveled together and the future of our Nation.
  • Five days from now, the world will witness the vitality of American democracy. In a tradition dating back to our founding, the presidency will pass to a successor chosen by you, the American people. Standing on the steps of the Capitol will be a man whose story reflects the enduring promise of our land. This is a moment of hope and pride for our whole Nation. And I join all Americans in offering best wishes to President-elect Obama, his wife Michelle, and their two beautiful girls.
  • This evening, my thoughts return to the first night I addressed you from this house – September 11, 2001. That morning, terrorists took nearly 3,000 lives in the worst attack on America since Pearl Harbor. I remember standing in the rubble of the World Trade Center three days later, surrounded by rescuers who had been working around the clock. I remember talking to brave souls who charged through smoke-filled corridors at the Pentagon and to husbands and wives whose loved ones became heroes aboard Flight 93. I remember Arlene Howard, who gave me her fallen son's police shield as a reminder of all that was lost. And I still carry his badge.
  • As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before Nine-Eleven. But I never did. Every morning, I received a briefing on the threats to our Nation. And I vowed to do everything in my power to keep us safe.
  • There is legitimate debate about many of these decisions. But there can be little debate about the results. America has gone more than seven years without another terrorist attack on our soil. This is a tribute to those who toil day and night to keep us safe – law enforcement officers, intelligence analysts, homeland security and diplomatic personnel, and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. Our Nation is blessed to have citizens who volunteer to defend us in this time of danger. I have cherished meeting these selfless patriots and their families. America owes you a debt of gratitude. And to all our men and women in uniform listening tonight: There has been no higher honor than serving as your Commander in Chief.
  • The battles waged by our troops are part of a broader struggle between two dramatically different systems. Under one, a small band of fanatics demands total obedience to an oppressive ideology, condemns women to subservience, and marks unbelievers for murder. The other system is based on the conviction that freedom is the universal gift of Almighty God and that liberty and justice light the path to peace.
  • This is the belief that gave birth to our Nation. And in the long run, advancing this belief is the only practical way to protect our citizens. When people live in freedom, they do not willingly choose leaders who pursue campaigns of terror. When people have hope in the future, they will not cede their lives to violence and extremism. So around the world, America is promoting human liberty, human rights, and human dignity. We are standing with dissidents and young democracies, providing AIDS medicine to bring dying patients back to life, and sparing mothers and babies from malaria. And this great republic born alone in liberty is leading the world toward a new age when freedom belongs to all nations.
  • Like all who have held this office before me, I have experienced setbacks. There are things I would do differently if given the chance. Yet I have always acted with the best interests of our country in mind. I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right. You may not agree with some tough decisions I have made. But I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions.
  • While our Nation is safer than it was seven years ago, the gravest threat to our people remains another terrorist attack. Our enemies are patient and determined to strike again. America did nothing to seek or deserve this conflict. But we have been given solemn responsibilities, and we must meet them. We must resist complacency. We must keep our resolve. And we must never let down our guard. At the same time, we must continue to engage the world with confidence and clear purpose. In the face of threats from abroad, it can be tempting to seek comfort by turning inward. But we must reject isolationism and its companion, protectionism. Retreating behind our borders would only invite danger. In the 21st century, security and prosperity at home depend on the expansion of liberty abroad. If America does not lead the cause of freedom, that cause will not be led.
  • As we address these challenges – and others we cannot foresee tonight – America must maintain our moral clarity. I have often spoken to you about good and evil. This has made some uncomfortable. But good and evil are present in this world, and between the two there can be no compromise. Murdering the innocent to advance an ideology is wrong every time, everywhere. Freeing people from oppression and despair is eternally right. This nation must continue to speak out for justice and truth. We must always be willing to act in their defense and to advance the cause of peace.
  • President Thomas Jefferson once wrote, "I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past." As I leave the house he occupied two centuries ago, I share that optimism. America is a young country, full of vitality, constantly growing and renewing itself. And even in the toughest times, we lift our eyes to the broad horizon ahead.
  • In citizens like these, we see the best of our country – resilient and hopeful, caring and strong. These virtues give me an unshakable faith in America. We have faced danger and trial, and there is more ahead. But with the courage of our people and confidence in our ideals, this great Nation will never tire … never falter … and never fail.
  • It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as your President. There have been good days and tough days. But every day I have been inspired by the greatness of our country and uplifted by the goodness of our people. I have been blessed to represent this Nation we love. And I will always be honored to carry a title that means more to me than any other: citizen of the United States of America. And so, my fellow Americans, for the final time: Good night. May God bless this house and our next President. And may God bless you and our wonderful country.

2011[edit]

  • Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me that American forces killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al Qaeda network that attacked America on September 11, 2001. I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude. This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.

Attributed[edit]

Misquotations[edit]

  • I don't know where he [Osama Bin Laden] is. I have no idea and I really don't care.
    • This misquotation is frequently attributed to a White House press conference, March 13, 2002 [102]
    • Correct quote should read: "And, again, I don't know where he [Osama Bin Laden] is. I — I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."
    • The relevant parts of the White House transcript reads:
      THE PRESIDENT: Deep in my heart I know the man is on the run, if he's alive at all. Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not; we haven't heard from him in a long time. And the idea of focusing on one person is — really indicates to me people don't understand the scope of the mission. Terror is bigger than one person. And he's just — he's a person who's now been marginalized. His network, his host government has been destroyed. He's the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match. He is — as I mentioned in my speech, I do mention the fact that this is a fellow who is willing to commit youngsters to their death and he, himself, tries to hide — if, in fact, he's hiding at all. So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you. I'm more worried about making sure that our soldiers are well-supplied; that the strategy is clear; that the coalition is strong; that when we find enemy bunched up like we did in Shahikot Mountains, that the military has all the support it needs to go in and do the job, which they did.
      Q: But don't you believe that the threat that bin Laden posed won't truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?
      THE PRESIDENT: Well, as I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I — I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run. I was concerned about him, when he had taken over a country. I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban.
  • The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him.
    • Alleged to have been made in a September 13, 2001 press conference. This wording has not been confirmed.
  • If we don't stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road.
    • Quotation is from the October 3, 2000 Presidential debate with Al Gore, but is taken out of context. Bush was paraphrasing Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf:
      • The other day, I was honored to be flanked by Colin Powell and General Norman Schwarzkopf, who stood by my side and agreed with me. They said we could, even though we're the strongest military, that if we don't do something quickly, we don't have a clearer vision of the military, if we don't stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road. And I'm going to prevent that. I'm going to rebuild our military power. It's one of the major priorities of my administration.[103]

Private[edit]

These remarks were allegedly made by Bush outside the presence of reporters, and have not been confirmed by Bush's representatives nor denied by representatives of anyone present.
  • I will screw him in the ass.
    • Ariel Sharon, speaking to Israeli reporter Uri Dan, claimed that Bush said this when asked what he would do if he caught Osama bin Laden. See Uri Dan (2007), Ariel Sharon: An Intimate Portrait
  • I thought the Iraqis were Muslims.
    • Meeting with three Iraqi-Americans before the invasion of Iraq, regarding a potential conflict between followers of Shia and Sunni Islam. See Peter Galbraith (2006), The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created A War Without End.
  • Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East. The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled. This confrontation is willed by God who wants this conflict to erase his people's enemies before a new age begins.
    • Former French president Jacques Chirac claimed in late 2009 that Bush made these statements to him at some point prior the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 while "appealing to him as a Christian" and attempting to convince him to have France join the invasion. The Independent, 2 January 2010
  • Haven't we already given money to rich people? This second tax cut's gonna do it again. Didn't we already, why are we doing it again?… shouldn’t we be giving money to the middle?


Disputed[edit]

  • The problem with the French is that they don't have a word for "entrepreneur."
    • Shirley Williams, Baroness Williams of Crosby, described this as a remark to Tony Blair in a discussion of the French economy during the G8 Summit, according to Jack Malvern (9 July 2002), "Bush and Blair, The Times . Alastair Campbell, Blair's director of communications, later said that Blair never heard Bush say this and never told Baroness Williams that he said it. See Lloyd Grove (2002-07-10) "The Reliable Source," Washington Post.
  • We're not going to have any casualties.
    • Pat Robertson claims that Bush said this to him in Nashville, Tennessee before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. Bush campaign advisor Karen Hughes, who was not working in Washington at the time of the invasion, claimed in 2004 that Bush did not say this. See John King (2004-10-21), "No casualties? White House disputes Robertson comment," CNN.com.
  • I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan. And I did, and then God would tell me, George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq… And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East. And by God I'm gonna do it.
    • According to Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath, said by Bush to him, apparently in the same June 2003 meeting, as reported by BBC News [104]. Shaath later clarified this with "We understood that he was illustrating [in his comments] his strong faith and his belief that this is what God wanted." [105], i.e. Shaath didn't take Bush's statement literally.
    • Denied by White House spokesperson Scott McClellan, October 6, 2005. Denied also by Mahmoud Abbas, who attended the meeting in question. Abbas said "This report is not true. I have never heard President Bush talking about religion as a reason behind the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Bush has never mentioned that in front of me on any occasion and specifically not during my visit in 2003." [106].


Misattributed[edit]

  • We will export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defense of our great nation.
    • The quote is from Bush at War by Bob Woodward, but it was not said by Bush. Woodward attributes the quote to one among "about 25 men representing three different Special Forces units and three CIA paramilitary teams" during the dedication of a September 11th memorial in the mountains of Afghanistan on February 5, 2002.
  • Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It's just a goddamned piece of paper!
    • Remarks during an oval office meeting (November 2005), attributed in Doug Thompson (2000-12-10), The Rant: Bush on the Constitution: 'It's just a goddamned piece of paper'," Capitol Hill Blue. Thompson has since retracted this claim, explaining: "When some White House sources came to me with a story that claimed George W. Bush called the Constitution a “god damned piece of paper, I believed it without question because of my personal prejudices against Bush. I now believe I was wrong and that the incident never happened. The story in our database was modified to reflect my belief that I was lied to about the statement and I was wrong to print it." "Judge us now to see if we have learned from the past" (1 January 2011)

Quotes about Bush[edit]

Alphabetized by author
  • [President George W. Bush] has a vision which can be described with two other words: Manichaean paranoia ... the notion that he is leading the forces of good against the empire of evil, that in that setting, the fact that we are morally superior justifies us committing immoral acts. And that is a very dangerous posture for the country that is the number one global power. ... The fact is he squandered our credibility, our legitimacy, and even respect for our power."
  • He does not believe that God told him to run for president. He does not believe that God told him he would win, and he certainly does not believe that God told him to drop bombs anywhere in the world.
    • Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, friend of Bush; quoted in Ann Rodgers (2004-09-11) "Pastor says Bush is no zealot." Pittsburg Post-Gazette
  • I hate the way [President Bush] walks--shoulders flexed, elbows splayed out from his sides like a teenage boy feigning machismo.
  • You messed up with me, birdie. No? You don't know much about history. You don't know much about anything, you know? A great ignorance is what you've got. You are ignorant, Mr. Danger. You are an ignorant. You are a donkey, Mr. Danger ... By that I mean, you know, to say it with all its letters, to Mr. George W. Bush. You are a donkey, Mr. Bush. I'm going to tell you something, Mr. Danger. You are a coward, you know? You are a coward. Why don't you go to Iraq and command your army? It's so easy to command an army from afar. If you ever come up with the crazy idea of invading Venezuela, I'll be waiting for you in this savanna, Mr. Danger. Come on here, Mr. Danger. Come on here. Come on here, Mr. Danger. Coward, assassin, genocidal... Genocidal, you are a genocidal. You are an alcoholic, a drunk.. A drunk, Mr. Danger. You are immoral, Mr. Danger... You are the worst ever, Mr. Danger ... The worst of this planet, the very worst is called George W. Bush. God save the world from this menace. Because he is an assassin. A sick man, a psychologically ill man, I know it. Personally, he is a coward. But he has a lot of power. He has a lot of power. And look at what's happening in Iraq. Yesterday the world marched against the war... 70%, according to the surveys I've seen, of your own people, Mr. Danger, are against you, against the war. You are a liar, Mr. Danger. You are killing children, Mr. Danger, who aren't responsible for your illnesses, of your complexes. Your soldiers in Iraq are bombing cities. Just yesterday we were watching images of five children who were murdered by you soldiers. They're not the murderers. You are the murderer, coward!
  • El diablo está en casa. Ayer estuvo el diablo aquí, en este mismo lugar. Huele a azufre todavía.
    • The devil is at home. The devil was here yesterday, in this very place. It still smells like sulfur.
    • Hugo Chavez, addressing the United Nations General Assembly (20 September 2006)[108]
  • I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound — with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.
    • Stephen Colbert, White House Press Association Dinner (2006-04-29), quoted in New York Times (17 September 2006) "My Satirical Self" by Wyatt Mason
  • The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday — no matter what happened Tuesday.
  • I know that's hard for you to accept, but George kind of knocked it out of the park. I can tell you, and I'm actually here to tell you that America now has five million people being kept alive by these drugs. That's something that everyone should know.
  • Economy is on the rise, kicking into overdrive / Angry liberals can't believe it's cause of W's policies / Unemployment's staying down, Democrats are wondering how / revenue is going up, can you say "tax cuts" / Bush was right! / Bush was right! / Bush was right!
  • He knows I have nothing, no mass weapons. He knows he'll never find them.
    • Saddam Hussein, remark to Pennsylvania National Guard Spc. Jesse Dawson quoted GQ (June 2005) "Tuesdays with Saddam" by Lisa DePaulo
  • That international criminal, I mean George Bush... If there is any justice in the world, undoubtedly, this man and his ilk, without a doubt, should be sentenced to 100 deaths. There is no doubt about it.
  • I said that a solution to the problems right now, I told Bush, is a Marshall Plan. He got angry. He said the Marshall Plan is a crazy idea of the Democrats. He said the best way to revitalize the economy is war and that the United States has grown stronger with war.… Those were his exact words.… The Democrats had been wrong. All of the economic growth of the United States has been encouraged by wars. He said it very clearly.
    • Argentinian President Néstor Kirchner in the film South of the Border, referring to a meeting in Monterrey, Mexico (January 2004)
  • George W. Bush has inadvertently destroyed only Baghdad, not Washington, and the costs of the Iraq war in blood and treasure are far less than those of Korea and Vietnam. Yet he will be remembered for the Iraq conflict for generations, long after tax-cut-driven deficits, No Child Left Behind and comprehensive immigration reform are forgotten. The fact that Bush followed the invasion of Afghanistan, which had sheltered al-Qaeda, with the toppling of Saddam Hussein, will puzzle historians for centuries. It is as though, after Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor, FDR had asked Congress to declare war on Argentina.
  • I heard Bush say, "You know, the truth is I honestly don't remember whether I tried it or not. We had some pretty wild parties back in the day, and I just don't remember.' I remember thinking to myself, How can that be? How can someone simply not remember whether or not they used an illegal substance like cocaine? It didn't make a lot of sense.
    • Bush press secretary Scott McClellan, on the cocaine rumors that surfaced during the 2000 campaign, What Happened, pp. 48-49
  • As I have heard Bush say, only a wartime president is likely to achieve greatness, in part because the epochal upheavals of war provide the opportunity for transformative change of the kind Bush hoped to achieve. In Iraq, Bush saw his opportunity to create a legacy of greatness.
    • Bush press secretary Scott McClellan, on Bush's need to be a wartime president to improve the chance of a "great" legacy, What Happened, pp. 131
  • As a Texas loyalist who followed Bush to Washington with great hope and personal affection and as a proud member of his administration, I was all too ready to give him and his highly experienced foreign policy advisers the benefit of the doubt on Iraq. Unfortunately, subsequent events have showed that our willingness to trust the judgment of Bush and his team was misplaced.
    • Bush press secretary Scott McClellan, What Happened [109]
  • I do not believe that the President was in any way directly involved in the leaking of her identity, but that was a very disillusioning moment for me when I found out when it initially hit the press, and I was in North Carolina, if I remember correctly, and a reporter shouted out to the President, "Is it true that you authorized the secret leaking of this classified information?" We walked onto Air Force One, and the President asks, "What was the reporter asking?", and I said, "He asserted that you were the one who authorized Scooter Libby leaking this information," and he said, "Yeah, I did."
    • Bush press secretary Scott McClellan, on illegal leaking of counter-terrorist CIA agent identity; May 29, 2008; Countdown
  • This is the dysfunctions and motivations of the Bush administration laid bare.
    • U.S. Congressman Ed Markey, on former EPA advisor Jason Burnett's claim that the Bush administration ordered portions of Congressional testimony regarding the public health effects of global warming deleted.[110] [111]
  • In a 2003 poll, most Indonesians had a higher opinion of Osama bin Laden than they did of George W. Bush.
  • US President Bush is a great leader, great friend of Israel and a source of inspiration.
  • Who will demand accountability for the failure of our national political leadership involved in the management of this war? They have unquestionably been derelict in the performance of their duty. In my profession, these types of leaders would immediately be relieved or court martialed.
    • Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, 10-12-07, [113]
  • President Bush inadvertently played right into the hands of bin Laden. The invasion of Afghanistan was justified: that was where bin Laden lived and al Qaeda had its training camps. The invasion of Iraq was not similarly justified. It was President Bush's unintended gift to bin Laden.
  • This is the worst president ever. He is the worst president in all of American history.
    • Helen Thomas, as quoted in The Torrance Daily Breeze (19 January 2003).
  • Whether you love or loathe George W. Bush, you can not deny that he has learned how to read a teleprompter.

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