Bush Says His White House Successor Will Find Gitmo And The War On Iraq "Necessary"
The War On Iraq will not end if Hillary Clinton is elected POTUS at the end of next year, just as the War On Iraq came no closer to ending when the Democrats won the mid-term elections last year.
President Bush wants to make sure that Hillary Clinton knows, as if she didn't already know, that shutting down the War On Iraq will be bad news for the United States, and the political and business elite.
Remember Vietnam is the chant, and the Democrats are not only listening, they're already singing along :
The War On Iraq will not end, regardless of who is elected president in 2008.
President Bush is quietly providing back-channel advice to Hillary Rodham Clinton, urging her to modulate her rhetoric so she can effectively prosecute the war in Iraq if elected president.
In an interview for the new book “The Evangelical President,” White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten said Bush has “been urging candidates: ‘Don’t get yourself too locked in where you stand right now. If you end up sitting where I sit, things could change dramatically.’ ”
Bolten said Bush wants enough continuity in his Iraq policy that “even a Democratic president would be in a position to sustain a legitimate presence there.”
“Especially if it’s a Democrat,” the chief of staff told The Examiner in his West Wing office. “He wants to create the conditions where a Democrat not only will have the leeway, but the obligation to see it out.”
To that end, the president has been sending advice, mostly through aides, aimed at preventing an abrupt withdrawal from Iraq in the event of a Democratic victory in November 2008.
“It’s different being a candidate and being the president,” Bush said in an Oval Office interview. “No matter who the president is, no matter what party, when they sit here in the Oval Office and seriously consider the effect of a vacuum being created in the Middle East, particularly one trying to be created by al Qaeda, they will then begin to understand the need to continue to support the young democracy.”
To that end, Bush is institutionalizing controversial anti-terror programs so they can be used by the next president.
“Look, I’d like to make as many hard decisions as I can make, and do a lot of the heavy lifting prior to whoever my successor is,” Bush said. “And then that person is going to have to come and look at the same data I’ve been looking at, and come to their own conclusion.”
As an example, Bush cited his detainee program, which allows him to keep enemy combatants imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay while they await adjudication. Bush is unmoved by endless criticism of the program because he says his successor will need it.
“I specifically talked about it so that a candidate and/or president wouldn’t have to deal with the issue,” he said. “The next person has got the opportunity to analyze the utility of the program and make his or her decision about whether or not it is necessary to protect the homeland. I suspect they’ll find that it is necessary. But my only point to you is that it was important for me to lay it out there, so that the politics wouldn’t enter into whether or not the program ought to survive beyond my period.”
The Examiner asked Bush why Democratic candidates such as Clinton and Barack Obama, who routinely lambaste his handling of Iraq, should take his advice.
“First of all, I expect them to criticize me. That’s one way you get elected in the Democratic primary, is to criticize the president,” Bush replied. “I don’t expect them to necessarily take advice from me. I would expect their insiders to at least get a perspective about how we see things.”
He added: “We have an obligation to make sure that whoever is interested, they get our point of view, because you want somebody running for president to at least understand all perspectives, apart from the politics.”
Vice President Dick Cheney was philosophical about the possibility of a Democratic president fundamentally reversing the policies that he and Bush have worked so hard to implement in Iraq.
“It’s the nature of the business, in a sense,” he shrugged during an interview in his West Wing office. “I mean, you get two terms. We were fortunate to get two terms. And I think we’ll increasingly see a lot of emphasis on deciding who the next occupant of the Oval Office is going to be.”