Mr. President is busy right now, but these questions are easily answered, so, if you’ll allow me, I’ll fill in for him here. (He’s already answered most each one of these)
Sheilah asks –
*Did you or did you not enter office with the intention of taking Saddam out no matter the cost? After all, we know he insulted your father and that’s grounds for war.
-I sent us into war because of the ‘threat’ that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Saddam did much to further that belief, and even the U N Inspectors believed he had them, thinking that if we allowed more time they would find them. We were wrong. But even thought I was wrong you should remember, it was about the threat. Saddam STILL had the scientist, still had the raw ingredients, still had the equipment, and still had could have produced them. Produced them for himself, or for use by terrorist that we know would have loved to get their hands on a WMD. I did not trust Saddam. Did you? Enough to stake thousands of American lives on it? (How is it that you relate an assassination plot with an insult?)
*Why in this last few months of your bloody presidency did you go to Israel?
-Because there was reason to believe that the time was right to go. No other President has made this step.
*Do you read the Bible? -Yes.
*Do you believe it? -Yes.
*Do you think you’re smarter than God, too? -Of course not, that’s why I read the Bible.
*Why have you done nothing to secure our borders?
-I have. We’ve started building fences along our Southern border. I’ve increased the Border Patrol. I haven’t turned America into a walled fortress, like some want, however. Like some grand East Berlin. See, walls across our Southern border might well slow the poor which stream across seeking employment, but it would do nothing as for as securing us from a terrorist seeking to enter. We’ve far too much coastline for that. Try to convince all our beach lovers that you want to wall off the ocean and see how far that flies.
*Why are we in debt to China?
-Because of our consumption rate exceeds our savings rate.
*Why are so many hard working and retired Americans losing their homes to foreclosure under your watch?
-Because many people overstepped their ability to pay there debts. Credit is/was too easily obtainable. Because we are so easily led to believe that we had to outdo the Jones’ next door. That we can’t live without the newest and the best “thing” someone tells us we “have to have”.
*Why did you wait so long to try to help and exactly how many have benefitted from your plan?
-Because it is not the place of the government to regulate it citizenry so. In a free society the government should only step into the marketplace as a last resort. The marketplace must be allowed to find its on way. I hope it has, or will, benefit all that need that help.
*Why are health care costs in this country so high most people can’t afford to go to the Dr let alone buy medicine, yet we keep bringing people from other countries in, fixing them, and sending them home free of charge?
-Supply and Demand. We have an out of control tort system that has hugely increased liability costs. That, and the industry being allowed to profit, and in return spend money on researching new medicines. Because the price is suppressed elsewhere those profits are sought on the open market here. While regulating the cost of meds, thru some national health plan, or outright regulation, might lower prices it would also decrease the money for new research. WE, in effect, are paying the price for those countries, such as England and Canada, which subsidize and regulate the healthcare industry. Many American’s ARE treated “free of charge”. Very very few people are “brought here”, as you describe.
*Why have you and Cheney and Rove been so secretive about facts the American people have a right to know? I know you’re the “decider” in your opinion, but this is still OUR country (I think)!
-What facts? Are these things you have a ‘right’ to know, or are they things you would ‘like’ to know? To be secure we sometimes must keep some things secret. It’s my duty to protect this country from harm. It’s also my duty to protect the Constitution. That is not as easy a walk as it sounds.
*How do you feel about Iraq?
-Better, now that we seem to have turned the tide there.
*Do you sleep well knowing you sent our finest into a war that would never end just so you could punish Saddam?
-That isn’t the reason I sent our young service people there. No President has ever slept comfortably while their country is at war. This part of the war WILL end. Probably in the not too distant future. But the war on terror will take years.
*Do the people in Iraq get along today?
-I would like to tell you yes, but realistically I can only say better than a year ago. Years of pent up hostility isn’t easily settled. Saddam kept it repressed at the point of a gun, with perhaps hundreds of thousands ending up in mass graves. A minority ruled over the majority. Gone are the rape rooms and torture chambers that kept his people in check. The country’s future is now in the hands of their people.
*Was it worth all the bloodshed not to mention the cost?
-The cost of freedom is high. We can’t predict the future, nor can we say what would have happened if we could have changed the past. Would Saddam have produced a Weapon of Mass Destruction and used it? Or supplied it to one of our enemies? We know that market existed. It still does. What would that cost have been?
*How can you hold your head up and look in the mirror every day?
-Easily. I’ve done what I thought was right. I’m not perfect. No one is. But I do know that everything I’ve done, popular or not, has been with the security of the American public in mind.
*I find it hard to reconcile a guy who didn’t take his National Guard service seriously with this man who has sent so many of our military to their deaths…
-I joined the National Guard at a time when more than ten thousand of my fellow guardsmen were being sent to, or already serving in Vietnam. I held no exemption from being sent there. As far as my service, I flew more than the required amount of time and was highly rated by my peers and commanders. Are you trying to say that serving in the National Guard wasn’t an honorable thing? There are many thousands of Guardsmen and women that will differ with you on that.
*What has happened that their are so many murders here in the USA?
-Explain how I am responsible for the murder rate in America, if that is what you’re suggesting. I would tend to believe it has more to do with the liberalizing of much of society than anything else. Hate has become commonplace. Culturally our country has started to collapse. (The “anything goes” attitude of the last administration didn’t help either.)
*Is that why you went to Israel?
-I went to Israel because the possibility that the time was right that major gains toward peace could be made there. If anything, perhaps it can help ease their murder rate from those horrible acts of terrorism.
*Was it to assuage your conscience over the death of Bhutto?
-Perhaps, in hindsight, it wasn’t good to have advocated her return to Pakistan at that time. The situation was polarized enough there to not have pushed her return on the situation. However my trip to Israel had nothing to do with my sorrow about the death of Ms. Bhutto. (It was being planned long before hand.)
*If so, you failed before you began….there is no comparison.
-? Why do YOU relate the two?
*Why is gas so high?
-Gas is high because of lack of refining capacity and the fact that gas is a commodity, and subject to speculation. There is adequate oil but a limited ability to refine it, especially in a timely manner. We have huge reserves of untapped oil in Alaska and off the shore in California, but are unwilling to go after it. That’s the will of the people. To drive down gas prices supply must exceed demand. As long as the refiners can supply enough to meet the demand there is no reason for them to increase supply, so prices remain high. However it’s the speculators that drive the prices up.
Many say we went to war with Iraq over oil, which is nonsense. If we had wanted Iraqi oil we could have had it very easily by lifting sanctions, which was why it was withheld. The stroke of a pen, not a war, was the way to obtain their oil.
*Why is the cost of living getting higher all the time?
-Because earnings keep increasing. To pay more in wages one must make more, to make more one must raise costs. Remember we just started raising the minimum wage again. That increase will eventually amount to an increase of about 40%, so in turn you can look for costs to eventually rise by at least 40%. While initially disruptive this equals itself out in the long run for wage earners. Only the numbers will have changed. But it drives our elderly that depend on Social Security, pensioners, and others on fixed incomes deeper into a hole. Do you really expect Social Security to go up 40%? How about pensions?
*What do you think the single most significant act you committed as this countries’ Commander in Chief will be forever linked to your name?
-The response to the Terrorist attack, and subsequent decision to try to end the scourge of terrorism that plagues the world.
*Do you HONESTLY think we are any better off today than the day you took the oath of office?
-No. Before I took office there was no 9-11 to be dealt with. No war. I began my presidency with high hopes for the future. For education, healthcare, many many things. But we as a country were robbed of that opportunity. 9-11 took our focus off those necessary and important issues and caused me to focus on the threat to the lives of our citizens by those that would do us harm. I lament that. I truly wanted to be remembered for accomplishing those things. I got off to a good start with the No Child Left Behind Act, and several other programs, but I wasn’t allowed to focus the office in that direction. 9-11 cost this county a great opportunity. Frankly, with the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention hurricanes Katrina and Rita, along with the several other pressures that have come into play, our economy should have tanked long ago. If not an out and out depression, we should have already seen a recession at the very least. But my policies have kept our economy strong and employment at near record levels. Just imagine what could have been accomplished if those pressures had not been at play. However, one must play the cards their dealt, so to speak.
*Do you read and study your Bible as God tells His people to do?
*If so, why do you not display a Christ-like demeanor?
-I try to. I am a man. I’m not perfect. But I do try.
*How does it affect the decisions you make (like the trip you made to Israel)?
-I pray, and hope for guidance, that I can be a means for meaningful change, and that accomplishments can be made so peace can eventually be found there.
Thanks for the opportunity to answer these questions for you… Sheilah.