Bush Restates “Bush Doctrine” at Press Conference

by Laurence on 11/4/2004

From Whitehouse.gov:

I laid out a doctrine, David, that said if you harbor terrorists, you’re equally as guilty as the terrorists, and that doctrine was ignored by the Taliban, and we removed the Taliban. And I fully understand some people didn’t agree with that decision. But I believe that when the American President speaks, he’d better mean what he says in order to keep the world peaceful. And I believe we have a solemn duty, whether or not people agree with it or not, to protect the American people. And the Taliban and their harboring of al Qaeda represented a direct threat to the American people.

And, of course, then the Iraq issue is one that people disagreed with. And there’s no need to rehash my case, but I did so, I made the decision I made, in order to protect our country, first and foremost. I will continue to do that as the President. But as I do so, I will reach out to others and explain why I make the decisions I make.

There is a certain attitude in the world, by some, that says that it’s a waste of time to try to promote free societies in parts of the world. I’ve heard that criticism. Remember, I went to London to talk about our vision of spreading freedom throughout the greater Middle East. And I fully understand that that might rankle some, and be viewed by some as folly. I just strongly disagree with those who do not see the wisdom of trying to promote free societies around the world.

If we are interested in protecting our country for the long-term, the best way to do so is to promote freedom and democracy. And I — I simply do not agree with those who either say overtly or believe that certain societies cannot be free. It’s just not a part of my thinking. And that’s why during the course of the campaign, I was — I believe I was able to connect, at least with those who were there, in explaining my policy, when I talked about the free election in Afghanistan.

There were — there was doubt about whether or not those elections would go forward. I’m not suggesting any of you here expressed skepticism. But there was. There was deep skepticism, and — because there is a attitude among some that certain people may never be free — they just don’t long to be free or incapable of running an election. And I disagree with that. And the Afghan people, by going to the polls in the millions, proved — proved that this administration’s faith in freedom to change peoples’ habits is worthy. And that will be a central part of my foreign policy. And I’ve got work to do to explain to people about why that is a central part of our foreign policy. I’ve been doing that for four years.


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