MR. WILLIAMS: Let's talk about Iran for a second, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT BUSH: And let me also say to Ryan, thanks for serving. I mean, one of the amazing things about our country is that we have people who volunteer to go. And one of the things I look for is whether or not we're able to recruit and retain, and we are. And it's a remarkable country, Juan, where people are saying I want to serve. And I appreciate that soldier, and I hope this message gets to him that not only do I appreciate him, but a lot of Americans appreciate him.
But he did come around to the subject eventually, like so:
- One of the things that is very important in discussing Iran is not to mix issues. Our relationship with Iran is based upon a lot of different issues. One is what is happening in Iraq. Another is their ambitions to have a nuclear weapon. And we're dealing with this issue diplomatically, and I think this can be solved diplomatically. And the message that we are working to send to the Iranian regime and the Iranian people is that you will become increasingly isolated if you continue to pursue a nuclear weapon.
The ace diplomatic approach that his adminstration is pursuing is, as is well-chronicled here and elsewhere, to insist that the Iranians call their nuclear program to a screeching halt before we will even discuss the matter --- or anything else of mutual concern. With Dubya adopting a diplomatic strategery like that, prognosticators might also want to know what he thinks he might have as other options. Well...
- I have no intent upon incur—going into Iran. I mean, this is the kind of thing that happens in Washington. People ascribe, you know, motives to me beyond a simple statement – of course we'll protect our troops. I don't know how anybody can then say, well, protecting the troops means that we're going to invade Iran. If that's what he's talking about, there's – I mean, we will protect our interests in Iraq. That's what the American people expect us to do. That's definitely what our troops want to do, and that's what the families of our troops want us to do. And if we find the Iranians are moving weapons that will end up harming American troops, we'll deal with it.
For all the jokes about Dubya's struggles with the English language, he's capable of nuance --- as when he repeatedly, falsely hinted before the Iraq invasion that Saddam had something to do with al-Qaeda without ever saying so clearly enough that anyone could call him on it. This is the opposite --- a superficially clear denial that says less than it seems to. He says there will be no invasion. Everyone already knew that there will be no ground invasion, because there are no troops. The burned-out cinders of spent combat brigades are on patrol in Iraq because there are no fresh troops anywhere left to boost the body count of his laughable "surge" there, let alone start new ground campaigns anywhere else. So, there will be no invasion, no territorial incursion, into Iran.
He said nothing about air strikes, did he?