2000 – 2006: The Lost Years
This exchange (courtesy of Crooks & Liars) indicates that George Bush is not responsible for anything that has happened in the past six years, he is still out of the loop, and he gets pretty damned snippy when called on it:
Q Mr. President, if I could follow up, you say diplomacy takes time â€“
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, it does.
Q â€” but it was four years ago that you labeled North Korea a member of the “axis of evil.” And since then itâ€™s increased its nuclear arsenal, itâ€™s abandoned six-party talks and now these missile launches â€“
THE PRESIDENT: Let me ask you a question. Itâ€™s increased itâ€™s â€” thatâ€™s an interesting statement: “North Korea has increased its nuclear arsenal.” Can you verify that?
Q Well, intelligence sources say â€” if you can â€” if youâ€™d like to dispute that, thatâ€™s fine.
THE PRESIDENT: No, Iâ€™m not going to dispute, Iâ€™m just curious.
Q Our intelligence sources say that itâ€™s increased the number â€” its nuclear capability â€“
THE PRESIDENT: â€” dangerous â€” it has potential danger.
Q Itâ€™s increased is nuclear capabilities. Itâ€™s abandoned six-party talks, and itâ€™s launched these missiles.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q Why shouldnâ€™t Americans see the U.S. policy regarding North Korea as a failed one?
THE PRESIDENT: Because it takes time to get things done.
Q What objective has the U.S. government achieved when it comes to North Korea? And why does the administration continue to go back to the same platform process if itâ€™s not effective in changing North Koreaâ€™s behavior? Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Suzanne, these problems didnâ€™t arise overnight, and they donâ€™t get solved overnight. It takes a while. Again, I think if you look at the history of the North Korean weapons program, it started probably in the â€™80s. We donâ€™t know â€” maybe you know more than I do â€” about increasing the number of nuclear weapons. My view is we ought to treat North Korea as a danger, take them seriously. No question that he has signed agreements and didnâ€™t stick by them. But that was done during â€” when we had bilateral negotiations with him, and itâ€™s done during the six-party talks.
Youâ€™ve asked what weâ€™ve done. Weâ€™ve created a framework that will be successful. I donâ€™t â€” my judgment is, you canâ€™t be successful if the United States is sitting at the table alone with North Korea. You run out of options very quickly if thatâ€™s the case. In order to be successful diplomatically, itâ€™s best to have other partners at the table. You ask what weâ€™ve done. We got the six-party talks started. And thatâ€™s a positive development. Itâ€™s a way to solve this problem diplomatically.
Apply some of those same questions and answers (“We donâ€™t know â€” maybe you know more than I do…“) to Iraq and you start to understand how we got to where we are today.