President Bush was on with Charles Gibson of ABC at Camp David for an exclusive interview and he praised Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf for his leadership and promotion of---get this---democracy. Pervez basically put Pakistan under Marshall law for weeks now, but Bush sees it a bit differently. He also comments on Iran and Iraq...I had to laugh when he said "No one wants to use military force to achieve any objective." OK, sure thing there chief.
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CHARLES GIBSON: Let me start with, did you put too much faith in President Musharraf?
PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: And he said, he's with you, he's been a loyal ally in fighting terrorists.
He's also advanced democracy in Pakistan. He has, he has said he's going to take off his uniform, he's said there will be elections. Today he released prisoners, and so far I've found him to be a man of his word.
Transcript below the fold:
CHARLES GIBSON: But he says he believes in democracy but this state of emergency, which he says he needs to do to fight terrorism, all he's done is arrest political opponents, he's arrested lawyers, he's arrested human rights people. It looks more about saving his own political skin?
PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: Well, as I say, he has done more for Democracy in Pakistan than, than any modern leader has, and one of the reasons you're seeing the blowback that you're getting in Pakistan is because of the reforms that, that President Musharraf has put in place. Are we happy with the emergency rule? No, we're not. Do we, do I understand how important he is in fighting extremists and radicals? I do. And do I believe that he's going to end up getting Pakistan back on the road to democracy? I certainly hope so...
CHARLES GIBSON: Let me turn to Iran, Admiral Fallon, the head of CentCom, said in a recent newspaper interview, he said the military strike against Iran is not in the offing. It would be a strategic mistake. Do you agree?
PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: My, my objective is to solve this issue diplomatically, and I fully intend to, and I believe we can. But diplomacy is effective when all options are available to a president, and all options are available. No one wants to use military force to achieve any objective. But, but it's important for all parties to understand that, you know, while I'm optimistic we can solve it diplomatically, options are available to the president...read on