During today’s White House press briefing, a reporter noted that earlier in the day, President Bush “warned of the danger that Al Qaeda could gain access to Iraq’s oil resources.” Commenting on Bush’s claim, the reporter said: “I don’t understand how a fragmented, clandestine, non-Iraqi terrorist organization could produce and sell Iraqi oil.”
The reporter then asked Press Secretary Dana Perino: “So the Iraqis would let a foreign terrorist organization take over their oil?” Annoyed, Perino dodged the question, saying that reporter was “missing the point” and that he should go back and read Bush’s speech because “what you’re suggesting is not what the president said.”
Perino is the one who should go back and read her boss’s speech. In fact, Bush said exactly what the reporter was “suggesting.” Arguing that the U.S. military should stay in Iraq and “finish the job” during his speech today, Bush said:
If we were to allow our enemies to prevail in Iraq, the violence that is now declining would accelerate — and Iraq would descend into chaos. […]
Out of such chaos in Iraq, the terrorist movement could emerge emboldened — with new recruits, new resources, and an even greater determination to dominate the region and harm America. An emboldened al Qaeda with access to Iraq’s oil resources could pursue its ambitions to acquire weapons of mass destruction to attack America and other free nations.