Posted by andreas from dtm2-t8-2.mcbone.net (188.8.131.52) on Thursday, January 09, 2003 at 12:37PM :
Why Does President Bush Want to Drop Bombs on Innocent Iraqis?
Transcript of White House Briefing - January 6, 2003
Ari Fleischer: And with that, I'm more than happy to take your questions. Helen.
Helen Thomas: At the earlier briefing, Ari, you said that the President deplored the taking of innocent lives. Does that apply to all innocent lives in the world? And I have a follow-up.
Ari Fleischer: I refer specifically to a horrible terrorist attack on Tel Aviv that killed scores and wounded hundreds. And the President, as he said in his statement yesterday, deplores in the strongest terms the taking of those lives and the wounding of those people, innocents in Israel.
Helen Thomas: My follow-up is, why does he want to drop bombs on innocent Iraqis?
Ari Fleischer: Helen, the question is how to protect Americans, and our allies and friends --
Helen Thomas: They're not attacking you.
Ari Fleischer: -- from a country --
Helen Thomas: Have they laid the glove on you or on the United States, the Iraqis, in 11 years?
Ari Fleischer: I guess you have forgotten about the Americans who were killed in the first Gulf War as a result of Saddam Hussein's aggression then.
Helen Thomas: Is this revenge, 11 years of revenge?
Ari Fleischer: Helen, I think you know very well that the President's position is that he wants to avert war, and that the President has asked the United Nations to go into Iraq to help with the purpose of averting war.
Helen Thomas: Would the President attack innocent Iraqi lives?
Ari Fleischer: The President wants to make certain that he can defend our country, defend our interests, defend the region, and make certain that American lives are not lost.
Helen Thomas: And he thinks they are a threat to us?
Ari Fleischer: There is no question that the President thinks that Iraq is a threat to the United States.
Helen Thomas: The Iraqi people?
Ari Fleischer: The Iraqi people are represented by their government. If there was regime change, the Iraqi --
Helen Thomas: So they will be vulnerable?
Ari Fleischer: Actually, the President has made it very clear that he has not dispute with the people of Iraq. That's why the American policy remains a policy of regime change. There is no question the people of Iraq --
Helen Thomas: That's a decision for them to make, isn't it? It's their country.
Ari Fleischer: Helen, if you think that the people of Iraq are in a position to dictate who their dictator is, I don't think that has been what history has shown.
Helen Thomas: I think many countries don't have -- people don't have the decision -- including us.
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