"There are some who, uh, feel like that, you know, the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is: bring 'em on. We got the force necessary to deal with the security situation." - George W. Bush, July 2, 2003, referring to attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq.



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"...but I do think, uh, you know when I, I said some things in the first term, um, that were probably a little blunt. 'Bring it on' was a little blunt, and uh, I was really speaking to the, to our troops, but it came out, and it and it had a different, uh, different connotation, different meanings for others, and uh, so I've gotta , I'll be, I'll be more disciplined in how I say things."

- George W. Bush, during at interview with ABC's Barbara Walters, aired January 14, 2005.

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''Sometimes, words have consequences you don't intend them to mean. 'Bring 'em on' is the classic example, when I was really trying to rally the troops and make it clear to them that I fully understood, you know, what a great job they were doing. And those words had an unintended consequence. It kind of, some interpreted it to be defiance in the face of danger.  That certainly wasn't the case.''

- George W. Bush, January 13, 2005 (©MMV, The Associated Press)


Q Mr. President, you spoke about missteps and mistakes in Iraq. Could I ask both of you which missteps and mistakes of your own you most regret?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Sounds like kind of a familiar refrain here -- saying "bring it on," kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong signal to people. I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner -- you know, "wanted dead or alive," that kind of talk. I think in certain parts of the world it was misinterpreted, and so I learned from that. And I think the biggest mistake that's happened so far, at least from our country's involvement in Iraq is Abu Ghraib. We've been paying for that for a long period of time. And it's -- unlike Iraq, however, under Saddam, the people who committed those acts were brought to justice. They've been given a fair trial and tried and convicted.

- George W. Bush, Press Conference, May 26, 2006


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President Bush has admitted to The Times that his gun-slinging rhetoric made the world believe that he was a “guy really anxious for war” in Iraq. He said that his aim now was to leave his successor a legacy of international diplomacy for tackling Iran.

In an exclusive interview, he expressed regret at the bitter divisions over the war and said that he was troubled about how his country had been misunderstood. “I think that in retrospect I could have used a different tone, a different rhetoric.”

Phrases such as “bring them on” or “dead or alive”, he said, “indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace”. He said that he found it very painful “to put youngsters in harm’s way”. He added: “I try to meet with as many of the families as I can. And I have an obligation to comfort and console as best as I possibly can. I also have an obligation to make sure that those lives were not lost in vain.”


- "President Bush regrets his legacy as man who wanted war", by Tom Baldwin and Gerard Baker in Ljubljana, The Times, June 11, 2008


© Copyright 2008 Times Newspapers Ltd



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