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Conspicuous Presumption: the Dubious Wit and Wisdom of Bush Jr., Rumsfeld, Cheney, et al ...

compiled and edited by Michael R. Burch, an editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry

These far-from-sagacious quotes by George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Tommy Franks and Madeline Albright bear a disturbing resemblance to the arrogant, hubristic babblings of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi henchmen: Herman Goering, Joseph Goebbels, et al.

Bring 'em on! ― George W. Bush

We will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. ― Dick Cheney

I don't do quagmires. ― Donald Rumsfeld

Deficits don't matter. ― Dick Cheney

The Iraqi forces are conducting the Mother of all Retreats. ― Dick Cheney

I can't tell you if the use of force in Iraq today will last five days, five weeks or five months, but it won't last any longer than that. ― Donald Rumsfeld

The plan was criticized by some retired military officers embedded in TV studios. But with every advance by our coalition forces, the wisdom of that plan becomes more apparent. ― Dick Cheney

“I don't do body counts,” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told CBS News in March, 2002, in the early days of the war in Afghanistan.

"We don't do body counts," said General Tommy Franks, the commander of the invasion of Iraq, on May 3, 2003 (as reported by Edward Epstein, Chronicle Washington Bureau).

Donald Rumsfeld said, "We don't do body counts on other people" during an interview with Tony Snow of Fox News, on Sunday, November 2, 2003.

In his speech aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, George W. Bush said, "With new tactics and precision weapons, we can achieve military objectives without directing violence against civilians. No device of man can remove the tragedy from war, yet it is a great advance when the guilty have far more to fear from war than the innocent."

However, his claims were clearly refuted when Lesley Stahl, during a 60 Minutes episode which aired on May 12, 1996 asked Secretary of State Madeleine Albright the following question about U.S. sanctions against Iraq: "We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?" Albright replied, "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price: we think the price is worth it."

Please note that even when appearing on a major news forum, 60 Minutes, Albright made no attempt to deny the figure given by Stahl—a rough rendering of the preliminary estimate in a 1995 U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report that 567,000 Iraqi children under the age of five had died as a result of the sanctions. And yet while more than half a million Iraqi children were dying of starvation, Saddam Hussein was building more palaces. Then the United States ended up invading Iraq and waging war for a decade, with generally miserable and still-inconclusive results. Was the price "worth it," really?

America is a friend to the people of Iraq. Our demands are directed only at the regime that enslaves them and threatens us. When these demands are met, the first and greatest benefit will come to Iraqi men, women and children. ― George W. Bush

With friends like US, who needs enemies?

Any government that supports, protects or harbors terrorists is complicit in the murder of the innocent and equally guilty of terrorist crimes. ― George W. Bush

But what about a government that harbors terrorists like you?

Do I think faith will be an important part of being a good president? Yes, I do. ― George W. Bush

What kind of "faith" calls half a million children who died for no discernable reason "worth it"?

Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. ― George W. Bush

Talk about a Catch-22 proposition!

Everywhere that freedom stirs, let tyrants fear. ― George W. Bush

Hitler rallied his public with similar war whoops.

Faith crosses every border and touches every heart in every nation. ― George W. Bush

Crossing the borders of sovereign nations with the intent to do harm is a criminal act.

For all who love freedom and peace, the world without Saddam Hussein's regime is a better and safer place. ― George W. Bush

Is it, really, when evil morons like you lead the charge?

For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible - and no one can now doubt the word of America. ― George W. Bush

All the civilized world can rightly doubt your word, since you lied through your teeth about there being WMDs in Iraq.

Free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don't attack each other. Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction. ― George W. Bush

But the United States has thousands of WMDs and attacked Iraq without provocation.

Great tragedy has come to us, and we are meeting it with the best that is in our country, with courage and concern for others because this is America. This is who we are. ― George W. Bush

Is this who we are: a nation that has thousands of WMDs, which invades a nation that has none, but happens to have lots of oil wells?

Hundreds of thousands of American servicemen and women are deployed across the world in the war on terror. By bringing hope to the oppressed, and delivering justice to the violent, they are making America more secure. ― George W. Bush

A trillion dollars and thousands of American lives later, are we really "more secure"?

I am mindful not only of preserving executive powers for myself, but for predecessors as well. ― George W. Bush

In other words, you're a moron who doesn't know the difference between a predecessor and a successor.

I believe a marriage is between a man and a woman. ― George W. Bush

Obviously, you have a direct pipeline to the wisdom of God.

I believe in the transformational power of liberty. I believe that the free Iraq is in this nation's interests. I believe a free Afghanistan is in this nation's interest. ― George W. Bush

If wishes were horses, George Bushes would ride.

I believe that God has planted in every heart the desire to live in freedom. ― George W. Bush

What about the freedom of Iraqi children not to be killed by your stupidity and hubris?

I believe the most solemn duty of the American president is to protect the American people. If America shows uncertainty and weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. This will not happen on my watch. ― George W. Bush

But it did.

I can hear you, the rest of the world can hear you and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon. ― George W. Bush

We hear you loud and clear ... sounding like a madman.

I have a different vision of leadership. A leadership is someone who brings people together. ― George W. Bush


I have written a book. This will come as quite a shock to some. They didn't think I could read, much less write. ― George W. Bush

Perhaps the ubiquitous "they" were on to something.

I have zero desire, just so you know, to be in the limelight. I don't think it's good for the country to have a former president criticize his successor. You're not going to see me giving my opinions in the public arena, until I start selling my book. I'm going to emerge then submerge. ― George W. Bush

One can only live in hope . . .

I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace. ― George W. Bush

I just want you to know that when you speak about peace, the dogs of war howl.

I sent American troops to Iraq to make its people free, not to make them American. Iraqis will write their own history and find their own way. ― George W. Bush

They will, indeed. Then why not save American lives and money, by avoiding an unnecessary war?

I think we ought to raise the age at which juveniles can have a gun. ― George W. Bush

I think we should start with juvenile politicians like you.

I think you can judge from somebody's actions a kind of a stability and sense of purpose perhaps created by strong religious roots. I mean, there's a certain patience, a certain discipline, I think, that religion helps you achieve. ― George W. Bush

Oh, really?

I told you I'm not going to criticize my successor. I'll just tell you that there are people at Gitmo that will kill American people at a drop of a hat and I don't believe that persuasion isn't going to work. Therapy isn't going to cause terrorists to change their mind.  ― George W. Bush

Perhaps therapy might work, if you tried it before starting unnecessary wars.

I understand everybody in this country doesn't agree with the decisions I've made. And I made some tough decisions. But people know where I stand. ― George W. Bush

Yes, like a dunce, in the corner.

I want to thank you for taking time out of your day to come and witness my hanging. ― George W. Bush

I'll be there, with bells on!

I will never relent in defending America ― whatever it takes. George W. Bush

Gotcha: big balls, a tiny brain and no heart.

I would like to be remembered as a guy who had a set of priorities, and was willing to live by those priorities. In terms of accomplishments, my biggest accomplishment is that I kept the country safe amidst a real danger. ― George W. Bush

Yes, the same way Hitler protected Germans from the Jews, Gypsies and Slavs ... by murdering them preemptively.

I'm hopeful. I know there is a lot of ambition in Washington, obviously. But I hope the ambitious realize that they are more likely to succeed with success as opposed to failure. ― George W. Bush

Or perhaps with terminal stupidity?

If you're sick and tired of the politics of cynicism and polls and principles, come and join this campaign. ― George W. Bush

Yes, let's abandon principles and join your murderous campaign!

Iraq is no diversion. It is a place where civilization is taking a decisive stand against chaos and terror, we must not waver. ― George W. Bush

Yes, we must be firm in our resolve to remain evil morons!

It is clear our nation is reliant upon big foreign oil. More and more of our imports come from overseas. ― George W. Bush

Words to the unwise?

It's clearly a budget. It's got a lot of numbers in it. ― George W. Bush

Red ink does stand out, doesn't it?

Leadership to me means duty, honor, country. It means character, and it means listening from time to time. ― George W. Bush

Yes, but only to the sound of your own incomprehensible voice.

Natural gas is hemispheric. I like to call it hemispheric in nature because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods. ― George W. Bush

Or emanating from assholes.

Now, there are some who would like to rewrite history: revisionist historians is what I like to call them. ― George W. Bush

As opposed to revisionist morons?

On September 11 2001, America felt its vulnerability even to threats that gather on the other side of the Earth. We resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every threat from any source that could bring sudden terror and suffering to America. ― George W. Bush

Excepting you.

Saddam Hussein is a homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction. ― George W. Bush

So are you.

Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called "walking." ― George W. Bush

Try removing the corncob from a certain orifice!

This young century will be liberty's century. ― George W. Bush

Not if you can help it.

To those of you who received honours, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States. ― George W. Bush

Perhaps in retrospect we should raise the standards.

Today we affirm a new commitment to live out our nation's promise through civility, courage, compassion and character. ― George W. Bush

Killing half a million Iraqi children is oh so compassionate!

Use power to help people. For we are given power not to advance our own purposes nor to make a great show in the world, nor a name. There is but one just use of power and it is to serve people. ― George W. Bush

To serve them a death warrant?

We can't allow the world's worst leaders to blackmail, threaten, hold freedom-loving nations hostage with the world's worst weapons. ― George W. Bush

Then why did you do such things?

We cannot let terrorists hold this nation hostile or hold our allies hostile. ― George W. Bush

And yet we can let you hold freedom hostage.

We don't believe in planners and deciders making the decisions on behalf of Americans. ― George W. Bush

Of course morons don't favor plans and rational decision-making! They prefer to freewheel.

We know that dictators are quick to choose aggression, while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace. ― George W. Bush

You are the ultimate dick, tater.

We will stand up for our friends in the world. And one of the most important friends is the State of Israel. My administration will be steadfast in support Israel against terrorism and violence, and in seeking the peace for which all Israelis pray. ― George W. Bush

Can you really have no clue why we were attacked on 9-11? Have you ever heard of the Nakba, or examined Israel's blatantly racist Jim Crow laws, kangaroo courts and torture dens?

When I take action, I'm not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It's going to be decisive. ― George W. Bush

How impressive!

When you turn your heart and your life over to Christ, when you accept Christ as the savior, it changes your heart. ― George W. Bush

Would Jesus have starved half a million Iraqi children to death, for no reason whatsoever?

You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on. ― George W. Bush

The question is who fooled you all of the time: Cheney, Rumsfeld . . .

You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test. ― George W. Bush

Don't count your chickens when they're only half hatched!

Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war. ― Donald Rumsfeld

So do you.

Don't blame the boss. He has enough problems. ― Donald Rumsfeld

You among them.

Don't divide the world into "them" and "us." ― Donald Rumsfeld

When did you ever do anything else?

Don't necessarily avoid sharp edges. Occasionally they are necessary to leadership. ― Donald Rumsfeld

So, it seems, are exceedingly dull hearts and brains.

If a prospective Presidential approach can't be explained clearly enough to be understood well, it probably hasn't been thought through well enough. If not well understood by the American people, it probably won't "sail" anyway. Send it back for further thought. ― Donald Rumsfeld

Do you call what you do "thinking"?

If in doubt, don't. If still in doubt, do what's right. ― Donald Rumsfeld

Why not do what's right all the time?

If in doubt, move decisions up to the President. ― Donald Rumsfeld

Even when he's an evil moron?

If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much. ― Donald Rumsfeld

Or perhaps exceeding your limits.

In politics, every day is filled with numerous opportunities for serious error. Enjoy it. ― Donald Rumsfeld

Yes, destruction can be quite thrilling.

Make decisions about the President's personal security. He can overrule you, but don't ask him to be the one to counsel caution. ― Donald Rumsfeld

When did anyone in the Bush administration ever counsel caution?

Our task, your task... is to try to connect the dots before something happens. People say, 'Well, where's the smoking gun?' Well, we don't want to see a smoking gun from a weapon of mass destruction. ― Donald Rumsfeld

Obviously, believing is seeing.

Secretary Powell and I agree on every single issue that has ever been before this administration except for those instances where Colin's still learning. ― Donald Rumsfeld

In other words, you're always right, like Hitler.

There are a lot of people who lie and get away with it, and that's just a fact. ― Donald Rumsfeld

Too bad you lied and didn't get away with it.

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know. ― Donald Rumsfeld

At least we know that you're an evil moron.

Visit with your predecessors from previous Administrations. They know the ropes and can help you see around some corners. Try to make original mistakes, rather than needlessly repeating theirs. ― Donald Rumsfeld

You were beyond the pale when it came to making "original" mistakes.

The country cannot afford amateur hour in the White House. ― Donald Rumsfeld

Of course we need professional fuckups to ruin the country.

On May 1, 2003 a banner reading "Mission Accomplished" was waving on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln during a televised address by George W. Bush. Bush said major combat operations in Iraq were over, but the vast majority of casualties, both military and civilian, occurred after his speech. Bush's jet landing on the carrier was criticized as an overly theatrical and expensive stunt, since the carrier was well within range of Bush's helicopter. Originally the White House claimed that the carrier was too far off the California coast for a helicopter landing but White House spokesman Ari Fleischer later admitted that Bush "could have helicoptered [aboard], but the plan was already in place." As the Scottish poet Bobby Burns once said, "The best laid plans of mice and men gang of a-gly," which makes me think of the perfect closing lines by someone who's an expert on deceit . . .

There comes a time when deceit and defiance must be seen for what they are. At that point, a gathering danger must be directly confronted. ― Dick Cheney

Tag, you're it!

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