Good for the Dems. They should really jump on Bush for this remark about the war on terror being unwinnable. There's also reference in here to Bush's interview with the NY Times. It just shows you: take this man out of an unscripted atmosphere and he is uninformed and disengaged.
WASHINGTON (AFP) - President George W. Bush said in an interview that he does not believe the US-led war on terror can be won -- a statement that opposition Democrats exploited with great gusto.
Bush was asked in an interview on NBC television whether the United States can win the war on terror. "I don't think you can win it," he answered.
Despite the explanation that followed, opposition Democrats -- hungry to sink Bush's 2004 re-election aspirations -- immediately pounced on those seven words. Democrat John Kerry's vice presidential candidate, John Edwards, bashed Bush for being defeatist while on the campaign trail in North Carolina.
"After months of listening to the Republicans base their campaign on their singular ability to win the war on terror, the president now says we can't win the war on terrorism," Edwards said in a speech in Wilmington.
"This is no time to declare defeat," he said.
It is the second time in four days that Bush has been taken to task over his own remarks. In an interview published Friday with The New York Times, Bush said he made a "miscalculation of what the conditions would be" in Iraq after the fall of dictator Saddam Hussein.
And the strong anti-US insurgency in Iraq was an unintended byproduct of a "swift victory," he said.
Bush however refused to go into detail on what went wrong, saying that it was a task best left to historians.
The Democrats reacted quickly. "The president has finally abandoned his stubborn refusal to admit his failure to plan," said Rand Beers, Kerry's adviser on national security issues. "Now he must both plan and act."
Retired army general Wesley Clark, a former Democratic presidential candidate, took issue with Bush's Monday statements in an interview with Fox News. "I believe this war is winnable -- we won the Cold War," he said.
Clark, a the former supreme allied commander in Europe, expanded on his views in a joint telephone conference call with Democratic Senator Joe Biden. The chaos in Iraq "was not a miscalculation. It was simply negligence on the part of the president," Clark said. "It's a major mistake."
Clark said that the war on terrorists "motivated by Islamic extremist ideology is winnable, by going after, attacking and defeating the specific groups that attack us, cutting off their ability to recruit, (and) defeating the claims of their ideology."
It was also important to strengthen homeland security and keep militants from accessing weapons of mass destruction, Clark said, adding that the Bush administration's approach to the problem "is fundamentally flawed."
Biden also took a swipe at Bush. "If we do not unite the world in the resolution that the tactics of Islamic terrorists are totally unacceptable, then we will be fulfilling the prophecy of President Bush (news - web sites) which is we can't totally win the war," he said.
In Wilmington, Edwards reminded his audience that the last time the United States "collided with an enemy that wanted to destroy our way of life was at the end of World War II."
"Imagine if President Truman had responded to the Iron Curtain with a wall of indifference? Imagine if he had turned his back on allies that had stood by our side? Imagine if he had refused to lead the effort to rebuild our former enemies, Germany and Japan?" he asked