Some things never change

From the transcript of today’s presidential news conference. Well, I guess GW kind of answered the question posed by John Roberts of CBS News, but if it is an answer it’s not much of an answer.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. So many questions, so little time.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, keep your question short, then. (Laughter.)

Q I’ll do my best, sir. But, sir, you’ve shown a remarkable spirit of candor in the last couple of weeks in your conversation and speeches about Iraq. And I’m wondering if, in that spirit, I might ask you a question that you didn’t seem to have an answer for the last time you were asked, and that is, what would you say is the biggest mistake you’ve made during your presidency, and what have you learned from it?

THE PRESIDENT: Answering Dickerson’s question. No, I — the last time those questions were asked, I really felt like it was an attempt for me to say it was a mistake to go into Iraq. And it wasn’t a mistake to go into Iraq. It was the right decision to make.

I think that, John, there’s going to be a lot of analysis done on the decisions on the ground in Iraq. For example, I’m fully aware that some have said it was a mistake not to put enough troops there immediately — or more troops. I made my decision based upon the recommendations of Tommy Franks, and I still think it was the right decision to make. But history will judge.

I said the other day that a mistake was trying to train a civilian defense force and an Iraqi army at the same time, but not giving the civilian defense force enough training and tools necessary to be able to battle a group of thugs and killers. And so we adjusted.

And the point I’m trying to make to the American people in this, as you said, candid dialogue — I hope I’ve been candid all along; but in the candid dialogue — is to say, we’re constantly changing our tactics to meet the changing tactics of an enemy. And that’s important for our citizens to understand

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