Transcript: The President's Interview with Print Media Columnists
And so we explain we are, but and I think the judgment is right in the Pentagon not to be talking about the number we kill and capture on a weekly basis because it then begins to they're just fearful. There's a culture over there. And I believe they're right. Maybe we're wrong. I'd be interested in your opinion.
Syria: My belief is that if what you're suggesting is we use the military, my attitude is, is that that ought to be the last option, not the middle option, or the first option. I believe I know the President must be able to convince those whose loved ones will be in harm's way that we tried alternatives prior to military action.
Krauthammer came in here in the midst of resolution one-and-a-half remember you came in here? he wondered whether or not we were going to get mired in diplomacy. I think that's what you were wondering.
Q: I usually do. (Laughter. )
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Well, diplomacy is I think through all consequences of all options. Syria needs to know that there are other people who are interested in isolating them economically than the United States, and we're working toward that end, for example.
Q: Can I ask you, Mr. President, about Iran?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. We'll go off the record in a minute.
Q: Oh, I'm sorry.
THE PRESIDENT: Not on Iran.
Q: Were you going to continue on that question?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I wasn't. I was thinking about it, then I decided not to.
Q: Sorry, guys, we're about to break news. (Laughter. )
THE PRESIDENT: No, this is not a news look, here's what I want you to do. I want you to go away with here's what the guy's thinking. You either like it or don't like it, but at least it gives you a sense for how I'm strategizing.
The President must think strategically in order to achieve objectives, and you just have to. Anyway, you're going to get
out of this, I hope you come away with, these are the strategic thoughts about how to solve problems; how he sees the world, where it's headed, where it could head, and what he's doing to do something about it.
No question that Syria has got to understand that she's got choices to make, the country does. I said today, and I've said often, that our interests in Syria, one, do not destabilize Seniora. The Seniora bolstering, helping the Seniora government is in this country's interests and it's a priority. Why? Because we want young democracies that are fragile to take root in the Middle East.
Ultimately, the forms of government matter as to whether or not we have peace. I understand that stands in contrast to previous policy where people said forms of government didn't matter. I think form of government does matter. Witness Zimbabwe for example. I called Sala of Yemen to congratulate him on open elections. Look at the elections in Yemen as to whether or not they were fair or not, and did the people have access to state it's an interesting moment.