White House Aide Leaks Transcript of Bush Holiday Call
The Disassociated Press, Washington, D.C., January 18, 2008
A possible transcript of President Bush's holiday call to troops in Iraq has recently surfaced.
The White House had previously refused to disclose contents of the call.
A person claiming to be a White House aide yesterday leaked a transcript of US President George W. Bush's December 24th holiday greeting call to American troops stationed in Iraq. The transcript was leaked to the Disassociated Press, and only the president's side of the conversation was presented in the text.
The Disassociated Press is presently trying to verify the authenticity of the text.
The complete transcript follows:
G.W. BUSH: "Hello? . . . Hello? . . . Yes. Hello. . . . Yes, it's me. Yes, your Commander in Chief. Had some trouble reaching you there. . . . Can you hear me? . . . Good. Well, I just wanted to call to wish you all a Merry Christmas. . . . Yes, we were just sitting here, Laura and I, by the fire, and we thought we should send you a little holiday cheer. Wanted to let you know what a heckuva job we think you've been doing. Keeping the peace between Sunnis and Shias over there . . . . Yep.
"What? . . . . Well, that's true. I know it. . . . Yes, I know at first we said you weren't getting involved in any kind of nation building, so I. . . . What? . . . . Right. . . . Uh-huh . . . Well, sometimes things don't turn out quite as planned . . . . Yes. . . . No, it's true in a way, I mean, in a way you're involved in nation building, just in a way though, building up the new nation of Iraq. . . . Because it's important. . . . No, it's an important job you're doing, the most important there is, I think. . . . Yes, I really believe that. . . . No, not at all. . . . No, I think you've been doing a heckuva job. Laura and I are both proud of you here and we just. . . .
"What?. . . . Yes, that was the plan. . . . Establish democracy, I know it, but . . . No, I wouldn't say that, not at all. . . . No, we're taking this thing one step at a time, that's where the situation is currently. First there's the sectarian thing to deal with, democracy will come later. . . . No. The thing is. . . . No. Look. We've got to put democracy on the back burner awhile, just while we stop them killing each other. You yourselves can see. . . . Yes, I know it. . . . I know that's how it is. . . . But you're managing it pretty well, don't let anyone . . . Yes . . . . Yes, and we think you deserve a little holiday cheer, don't you think so? Laura and I both think so. You should just. . . No, we think you should kick back, enjoy your special hours off duty, enjoy the turkeys we sent you. You got the turkeys, right? . . . Only two? . . . Two turkeys? . . . Well, what the hell, I'm gonna have to talk to someone about this. That's not right. . . . No. I can promise you the plan was to send a lot more than two. . . .
"What? . . . Yes, you'll be coming home as soon as possible, you have my word on that. You'll be coming home as heroes too. . . . Well, sure! Why not? When you get back there will be all the turkeys you can eat! . . . Well, if you're joking or not it doesn't matter, I really mean it--all the turkeys you can eat. I think that's the least . . . . Sorry? . . . Yes, I'm aware of that. And every single day . . . Yes, well, I understand how you feel. . . .
"Well sure I've heard it. They say if Dick and I had planned the first months of the occupation that, well, you know, you might not all still be over there. But the fact of the matter is. . . . No, I want you to know. . . . No, I want you to know we did plan it. . . . Yes, I admit some mistakes have been made, and for any mistakes I'm truly sorry. Dick and I both are sorry. . . . Donald?. . . Well, I don't know about Donald. He's kind of . . . Well, no, I'm speaking for Dick and myself here. You'll have to ask Donald yourself if he's sorry. I haven't spoken to him in awhile. . . .
"No, I just . . . No, I just want you all to know I've done my best to watch over this mission. Every single day I . . . No. Well, yes, that's right. But even down in my ranch in Crawford every day I . . . . What? . . . Well, no, I don't think it's strange. I mean, I'm not just golfing and mountain biking down there. What are you . . . Of course I take this job seriously, I take it very seriously, and you should too. I mean . . . Well, of course Laura takes it seriously too. But. . . . But, no, I mean what does Laura have to do with it? . . . Well, you should. . . . I just don't see . . .
"Yes, I know that. . . . Yes, I can see that maybe you think that back in the beginning, I mean back at the start, well, maybe we didn't look into the problem of sectarian violence enough. . . . Yes. . . . Well, you've heard that. . . . No, I admit I didn't read every single briefing on that. There were. . . . Yes? . . . Well, there were a lot of 'em. What you don't appreciate is. . . . And so what about it? . . . Alright, so sometimes I didn't even read the 2- or 3-page summaries of briefings. And so what? I've got a lot on my plate here. I can't. . . Alright, I know what people have said. I know it. . . . Yes. . . . Well, I'm gonna tell you. I . . . No, just gimme a minute here. . . . No, I said I'm gonna tell you and I will . . . . Well, all this about reading briefings, the truth is, well, some of these things are true and some of 'em aren't. You shouldn't believe everything you hear. I mean. . . . Yes, of course Laura can read. . . . No, she's a busy woman, I don't think there's any need for her to be reading briefings to me. And I don't see what. . . . Well how about this? I mean. . . . No, just gimme a minute here, will ya? . . . How about this? What I want to know is, if all these things need to be so carefully studied ahead of time, then what's the damn meeting for anyway? Huh? . . . Yes. That's what I want to know. . . . Yes, exactly. That's how I see it. . . . Well, you tell me! I mean, if conducting a war is all about studying briefings, then why can't I just study them ahead of time and send in my decisions by email? I mean, why do I even have to attend the meeting if the important part is reading the damn briefings? I mean, the president of the United States isn't just. . . . No, a president isn't. . . No, you listen to me. A president is a busy man, I've got places to be and people to see, and I've got family like all of you . . . And. . . . No, you will be seeing your families soon, I already said that, you have my word on that. . . . Yes, I agree with you there. . . . I know it's gone on longer than World War II. We're not happy about it either. We're working on it every day. . . . No. . . . No, not at all . . . Listen, we've been over this nation building business already. I've done my best on this side of the bargain, that's my point really, and I was just calling. . . . No, I'm calling to let you know we think you're doing a heckuva job over there too. . . . No, it is not just rhetoric. I mean it. . . . No. . . .
"Sure, I see it. But you. . . . No. The doubters who've come forward, of course. . . . Doubters asking why it is that keeping peace between ethnic groups on such a distant piece of turf is so important to us Americans. Of course I've heard it. . . . No, not at all. When they come forward with their doubting, what I always say is, Support the troops! You know? . . . Yes, that's what I say and that's how I really feel too. . . .
"Well, we've got to be on the ball about many things around here. For one, by taking out Saddam like we did, we've given the Iranians an opening for expanding their influence in the Shia parts of Iraq--the southern parts where the British used to help us. So . . . Yes, I know. So that's why you've been seeing the Iranian influence. . . . And it wasn't just. . . . No, I don't think you should use that kind of language. . . . I don't think you should call it a fuck up. . . . That's alright. . . . No, Laura's in the other room. . . . Yes, I know. . . . One thing you're busy on now, and I'm aware of it, one thing that's crucial I mean, is that you're not just keeping the Shia from killing the Sunnis and the Sunnis from killing the Shia, but you've got to keep the Shia from befriending the Iranians, their Iranian friends in Iran. It's a problem, I know it. So you see I have been studying these things, it's just that. . . .
"What? . . . Well, that's what I'm talking about here. Our goal now is to ensure the Shia in Iraq love us more than they love the Iranian Shia. We want them to love us Americans even. . . . What? . . . No, I mean it. . . . No, stop laughing. . . . Now stop fooling here, this is your Commander in Chief on the line . . . . No, I mean what I'm saying, so listen up. . . . They ought to love us over there, I mean really love us, because look what we're doing for them, I mean would they ever . . . Listen here. I thought I already told you about using language like that. . . . It is not a big fuck up. . . . No, it's not. . . . Of course I know that. . . . . Alright, it's a can of worms maybe, I'll give you that. . . . Of course. Because the same time we're trying to make them love us, we don't want them to love us too much because then the other Iraqis, the Sunnis I mean, will hate us because the Shia are killing them and vice versa. So you see I understand what you mean. . . .
"What? . . . . No, you shouldn't talk like that. . . . Well, because it just isn't true. We're making progress in this mission every day. Real progress. . . . Oh, c'mon. From what I'm told, they're just itching for us to leave so they can all dice it up to their hearts' content. Isn't that how it is? The Sunnis and Shia both, and the Iranians in the south, they can't wait for us to get outa there so they can. . . . No, it is a kind of progress. It is. Because you know what? . . . No, you know what we'll do? We won't leave, that's what. . . . Ah-hah! How you like them apples? . . . What? . . . No, I mean it. We'll wait 'em out, at least till my term is over. We'll wait 'em out, you'll see. . . . Yes. We'll make 'em sit on their asses, or on their AK-47s, or whatever they're sitting on. . . . No, I think that would send the wrong message. . . . No, the strategy here is clear, and I am. . . . No, listen, I am your Commander in Chief here. . . . And the. . . . Will ya listen to me a minute? . . . The strategy we have now is to wait 'em out, because . . . . No, this doesn't affect your coming home, I already told you you'd be home as soon as possible. This has nothing to do with that. . . . No, we'll manage it, don't worry. And I think it's unfortunate that. . . . Well, we're working on it. Things are coming around. You'll see. . . .
"Because that's the strategy here, that's the course we're taking, and what it will do is it will delay them, make them wait longer, and nobody likes delays, you see my point? . . . No, the point is pretty clear I think. . . . No. The plan is to get their goat, see? That's the new strategy, we're gonna really start to get their goat . . . . No. By making them wait a while longer, we'll wear them out with all the waiting, and eventually. . . No. Because, and you can see it yourself, because here they're all jockeying for power and storing up weapons, while here we're just sitting there making them twiddle their thumbs. It really must be getting them, don't ya think? Sooner or later they'll just have to bog down with the annoyace of it. . . No, I think it's working just fine. . . .
"Listen here. People have differences on this, I'm aware of that. . . . No, we still think you're doing a heckuva job, making them wait this out while I'm in office. . . . But listen, I think we should finish this up. This is getting long here. . . . No, I mean I've got to think of this long distance bill, this is pricey you now. . . . No, I'll catch hell when Laura opens the bill. . . . No, we actually do get a long distance bill here. . . . No, that's not how it works. . . . Yes, we do. . . . Listen. I don't have to talk to you about my phone bill here, alright? I just. . . . No, I'm just proud of you keeping this thing at a standstill like you are, these Sunnis and Shias. I'm grateful for your sacrifice, keeping this thing on ice till. . . . I think. . . Yes, that is my point . . . No. Why? . . . . No, I'm not making a joke. I've told you several times here. . . . No . . . Well, yes, you can quote me if you like, I don't really give a damn. . . .
"Fine. . . . So we have our differences. But even so, I'm not a man who holds a grudge, and . . . Laura and I . . . . Laura and I wish you a Merry Christmas. America wishes you a Merry Christmas. The whole free world does. You're doing a heckuva job. Goodbye."
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