(President Bush, speaking at a press conference — August 21st, 2006)


My fellow Americans, and citizens of the blue states: Many Democrats want to leave Iraq before the job is done. They just want to say "Mission Accomplished" and walk away like they don’t have a responsibility to finish what I started. I’m the President. I’m the Decider. I say when we go to war, and you say, "How high?!" I say when we’re done going to war, and you say, "When’s that, sir?!"

Well, I don’t know when that is. I can’t tell you exactly when it’s going to be done. But I can tell you this: It’s not going to be on my watch.

It’s gonna be on the next President’s watch. Or the one after that. Or whenever you decide it’s time to go and elect one of these Democrats or, God forbid, one of these Republicans who don’t look at foreign policy the way I do. So think about that. This War will be over in a heartbeat, the minute you make the mistake of electing someone who doesn’t care as much as I do about staying the course in Iraq.

But that doesn’t mean you should vote against staying the course in Iraq. Not at all. Especially, in the upcoming midterm elections. That would be a huge mistake. Far worse than the one where we invaded Iraq in the first place. Because the invasion of Iraq was unavoidable. But your vote is not. You don’t have to make the mistake of going into a voting booth and choosing the candidate you think is right, instead of who your commander-in-chief tells you is right.

If you truly believe that you want our soldiers to come home safe from Iraq, and the sooner the better, you should vote against anyone who wants to do that. And I will tell you why. Because if we ever give up the desire to help people who don’t want our help, we will have lost our soul as a nation, as far as I’m concerned. And when that happens, and we lose our soul, then every single American in America will burn in hell. And I don’t think anybody wants that. Except the Democrats.

I know some of you are not happy with the job I’m doing. Well, I’m happy to tell you that War is not a time of joy. So you’re in a good place right now. These are challenging times, and they’re difficult times. And they’re straining the psyche of our country, I understand that. And I’m doing everything in my power to make it more challenging, and more difficult.

You know, nobody wants to turn on their TV on a daily basis and see havoc wrought by terrorists. That’s why I’m trying to make sure that when you turn on your TV, you’ll see Americans doing the havoc for a change. And that’s a whole lot better.

I agree with General Abizaid who said that if we leave before the mission is done, the terrorists will follow us here. But if we stay the course and finish the mission, then the terrorists will follow us here, and we’ll have a mission under our belts. We may even get a medal for this. Wouldn’t that be nice? Think how much safer you’ll feel fighting terrorists in your own back yard with a medal on your chest that you can point to and say, "Mission Accomplished! Now bring it on!"

There are Democrats and world leaders, who think they have better ideas for spreading freedom and democracy in the Middle East than you and I do, and these differences of opinion make for an interesting debate. There’s a lot of good decent people saying "Withdraw now." Well, they’re absolutely wrong. End of debate. Wasn’t that interesting? And by the way, they are not good people, and I don’t consider them decent, either. But I will not question the patriotism of anyone who disagrees with me and wants to cut and run. I believe that many of these traitors love their country very dearly. Some of them love their country every bit as much as those of us who are not cowards who have betrayed our troops during wartime by trying to bring them home before they have done their job. Or died trying. How dare they show their patriotism by trying to prevent our troops from dying for their country? How dare they?!

When I think of our troops overseas, under fire from insurgents and freedom-loving Iraqis, and under fire at home from freedom-of-speech loving patriots, it makes me proud. And I can think of only one thing to say: God Bless America.

"Straining the Psyche: An Interesting Debate"
George Bush: 2006 Midterms
Speechwriter: Jeff Goode, copyright © 2006