Transcript: The President's Interview with Print Media Columnists
Other parts of the world, and some here and I'm not casting dispersion, I'm just giving you a sense I'm telling you what's on my mind. I am in disbelief that people don't take these people seriously, as if they're some kind of incompetent, and/or isolated people. They're plenty competent, they're plenty tough, and they're plenty ambitious.
The good news is, is that we've severely hurt them. My strategy, from day one, was to go on the offense, stay on the offense, and keep the pressure on them until we are able to bring as many to justice as possible. They morph. You know, they kind of there is al Qaeda central, there is al Qaeda look-alikes, there is al Qaeda want-to-bes. They're dangerous. Some are more dangerous than others. And we have got special teams and special operating teams, as well as intelligence teams, pressuring them a lot.
And we're pretty successful. We have upheld doctrine. And we take threats the doctrine is "if you harbor" and we upheld that doctrine, of course, in Afghanistan. And then we're taking these we're dealing with threats. I made the right decision on Saddam Hussein. Now the question is, can we help this government succeed? And the answer is not only can we help them, we must help them, and they will succeed.
I know it looks grim right now, but it has looked grim before in this war on terror. It looked grim right after September the 11th. It looked grim when we were so-called bogged down in Afghanistan. It looked grim in parts of the Iraq fight, and it looks grim right now, because murder is the tool of some, revenge is the tool of others. And in this different kind of war, the propaganda of the enemy is brutal and effective, and it upsets Americans because we value life.
My responsibility is to speak as often as I can to the American people and explain the stakes and how we're going to succeed. We will succeed, based upon a security strategy and a political strategy that runs concurrent. And the two feed off each other.
The first question that you must ask a President you can put this any way you want I'm not asking myself questions, but you should be asking me is, do you trust Maliki? Is he the right guy to show the courage necessary to achieve the objective? And the answer is, I think he is. Witness the fact that he is working hard to bring Shia and Sunni clerics together, working hard to bring the political parties together; understands that he's going to have to deal with these militias; more than willing to work to bring these death squad leaders to justice, which we're doing now.
Today, at the press conference, they asked about, well, he got concerned that we were making decisions in certain neighborhoods. Look, our agreement with him is, we'll keep you posted. We didn't keep him posted. But he understands that he's going to have to we're going to have to go after these guys. This is a sovereign government. This was elected by the people. As fragile as it is, it is a government of the Iraqi people, which we've got to honor.