MARCH 12 President George W. Bush met today with soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who were about to depart for the Middle East. Here is a transcript of his remarks:
“In one week the United States and Great Britain? which I think I’ll call a coalition will attack Iraq from bases in Kuwait. The operation will be called ‘Iraqi Freedom,’ though the purpose of the attack will be to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Remember he is an evildoer who once threatened my dad!
“But there are other reasons for this attack as well. The evildoer has weapons of mass destruction, which as you all know means nuclear, chemical and biological stuff. What? Such weapons have never been found? That is merely because the evildoer is so good at hiding them. Trust me when I tell you that he has such weapons and that he intends to use them against Israel, Saudi Arabia and North Dakota. The CIA told me so.
“The evildoer also has imported 82mm aluminum tubes that look harmless enough but which could be used in centrifuges in a nuclear weapons plant. Further, I have CIA documents that show the evildoer has tried to import enriched uranium from countries in Africa. The documents are full of errors and the signatures on them look childlike, but our top spies have assured me they are authentic.
“The war’s objectives have been articulated in detail by Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, all of whom are really smart guys. What? Did Cheney and Wolfowitz ever serve in the military? Well, no but you must keep in mind that they graduated from college at the height of the Vietnam War. They felt they could serve the country better in graduate school than in uniform and I respect their decision. Remember, President Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat, lied to the American people about the need for that war something about ‘domino theory.’
“All of you assembled here will bear the burden of this war, not only now, but in the future as well. This is because the United States will have to borrow $78 billion for immediate war costs and more later. You and your children will pay additional taxes for many years to come to retire that debt. You see, the United States budget has been sliding deeper and deeper into red ink ever since I took office and the end is nowhere in sight.
“Also, keep in mind that the wealthiest Americans need $729 billion in additional tax breaks over the next 10 years. So you see the problem: There isn’t enough money in the federal treasury to pay all the bills, and the condition will get worse, not better.
“Have no doubt that war is dangerous, not only to troops, but also to innocent civilians. I cannot tell you what the final casualty figures will be, but I know they will be high. Iraqi women and children will be especially vulnerable. Even if they survive our bombing and artillery attacks, they will be reduced to begging for water and small amounts of food. Also, chaos will prevail throughout Iraq as people loot schools, libraries, hospitals, museums and small businesses. Thousands will participate in pillaging and mindless destruction of property. The strong will dominate and exploit the weak.
“Your job during the next few years that you will be in Iraq will be to impose American-style democratic principles and values you know, free elections, free speech, gun ownership, a ban on reproductive choice and stuff like that. Then, after you have finished in Iraq, you may have to deal with evildoers in Syria, Iran, Libya and North Korea. Never doubt that your country needs you to do all this or, more precisely, that Dick, Don, Paul and I need you to do this. So good bye and good luck.”
Gary Jacobsen lives in Woodbridge.