Transcript: The President's Interview with Print Media Columnists
Again, I told you a predicate of my thinking is, is that I've got to give diplomacy a chance. And it's painful, and it irritates guys like Krauthammer because it's not nearly as it just doesn't work very quickly. And, look, I understand the frustrations of it. I'm a 1441 guy, I've been through this. But it's in our interest, at least that's the decision I have made, that we pursue the diplomatic route on these difficult issues.
Q: Mr. President, a couple of scenarios that I've seen recently the Rand Corporation has a study of what would happen if a ten kiloton nuclear weapon was exploded in Los Angeles Harbor: 60,000 dead, 6 million leaving the Los Angeles base with a trillion dollars in damage. Popular Mechanics has an article of North Korea developing chemical and biological weapons antrax, botulism, the plague. You're trying to get diplomacy to work, but what else are we doing to protect ourselves? Again, this is a
THE PRESIDENT: Got the Proliferation Security Initiative, which is a 90-nation let me get the number 70? Anyway, it's 70 a lot of nations that have agreed to inspect cargo ships. But more than that, the guy is the largest counterfeiter of U. S. dollars, or one of the largest; drug runner. I mean, he's got a lot of problems over there. And we've got others now beginning to work on it.
Most people view this as he's isolated, he's out there in the middle of nowhere, don't worry about him, let him starve his people to death which he is doing. And we have now got a 70-nation coalition that is focused on him. As you probably are aware, there's been some financial measures that he keeps talking about.
[Off-the-record comments redacted.]
We'll go back on the record.
Q: Can I just circle back, sir, to the
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Kuds.
Q: going to win in Iraq? I personally think most of the discouragement in Iraq with respect to polls and whatever else is not from people on the left, it's from people on the right. They want to win.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, sir that's his answer. He said they're being picked off. What are you doing about it.
Q: It's a funny thing and I count myself as one of those, very frustrated, I get discouraged sometimes. I think you're dead right in your strategy, your thinking, and I continue to support it. But if I buy a stock and the price goes up, I know I'm winning. If I buy a stock and the price goes down, I know I've got to get out. So my question is, how can we measure victories? How can you measure winning? The last couple of years there just doesn't seem to be any signals or signs that we're winning.
THE PRESIDENT: That is the significant disadvantage we have in this war because the enemy gets to define victory by killing people. And I am both these questions, I fully understand where you're coming from, because I live it every day. Look, I'm not looking for sympathy it's a volunteer job.