Transcript: The President's Interview with Print Media Columnists
One of the stories interesting stories I tell is about the fellow that came here. He got kidnaped and he was rescued pretty early by our Delta team. I said, what's it like to be kidnaped, man? It must have been weird Baghdad, to be kidnaped. And he said, yes he said, I was in there with, like I forgot the number nine other people from different nationalities. He said, at one time I said, I'm going to get out and you're you're going to get out and I'm not. And all thesepeople said, well, that's a pretty pessimistic thing to say. He said, well, my government won't ransom me; yours will. And he was right. We weren't going to.
And sure enough, the Norwegian went for I don't know what the numbers are but they made a nice little living, because there was no no push-back. There was no kind of structure. And so these weren't necessarily political people. These were people that just found a pretty good niche for a while. Made a couple of million dollars, nobody got hurt. And fortunately, our Delta teams found the guy, and got him out of there. But it was just an interesting story.
Q: Just to follow up on what Tony was saying, if the as you say, you need to be on the offense all the time and stay on the offense. Isn't the problem that the American people were behind solidly behind this when you went in and you toppled the Taliban, when you go in and you topple Saddam. But when it just seems to be a kind of thankless semi-colonial policing defensive operation with no end I mean, where is the offense in this? Instead of talking to Syria can't Syria get some payback for sending all these guys over the border to subvert Iraq? Can't shouldn't Syria be getting subverted in return, in some way?
THE PRESIDENT: Now you're thinking. (Laughter. )First of all, we are on the offense and we had made a conscience effort not to be a body count team. And you're right, and it's frustrating for me. So like I asked Pete Pace, how we doing. Every day, by the way, so you know, I see who dies on our team. I don't see who dies on their team. And so it gives you the impression that they're just there, they're kind of moving around, directing traffic, and somebody takes a shot at them and they're down. That's not exactly what's happening.
What's happening is they're pressing hard. Al qaeda has got special operation teams on them every day, and the death squad leaders have got well, they had two operations today that created a little news. And these boys are after giving actionable intelligence. They're moving hard and they're pressing hard. And I don't want to give you numbers. It's frustrating however, because you're right, it's the perception that this great military power full of decent people is just getting picked off and nothing is happening. And I share the same frustration you share. And the American people, most of them out there are saying, how are you doing; get after them.