"BLITZER: You're saying the CIA formally concluded that bin Laden wanted Bush re-elected.Stop right there; think hard about that statement. Think, too, about Bush's reluctance to really chase down OBL and "bring him to justice" (which, in Bush-speak, means make him a corpse). Why, exactly, would OBL want Bush to continue to man the GWOT? Maybe for this reason:
"SUSKIND: Well, look -- absolutely true . . . the analysis flowed essentially along those lines.
"The question, the key question, is what it is it about America's war on terror that is such that bin Laden would want it to continue and Bush to continue conducting it? That's the bigger question that was not examined by the CIA, because many of these people there were soon to be pushed out."
Q: "Mr. President, you said this is absurd. But you might be aware that in Europe, the image of America is still falling and dramatically in some areas.Back to Suskind:
"Let me give you some numbers. In Austria, in this country, only 14 percent of the people believe that the United States -- what they are doing is good for peace; 64 percent think that it is bad.
"In the United Kingdom, your ally, there are more citizens who believe that the United States policy under your leadership is helping to destabilize the world than Iran.
"So my question to you is why do you think that you've failed so badly to convince Europeans, to win their heads and hearts and minds?"
Bush: "Well, yeah, I thought it was absurd for people to think that we're more dangerous than Iran.
"I -- you know, it's -- we're a transparent democracy. People know exactly what's on our mind. We debate things in the open. We've got a legislative process that's active.
"Look, people didn't agree with my decision on Iraq. And I understand that. For Europe, September the 11th was a moment; for us it was a change of thinking.
"I vowed to the American people I would do everything I could to defend our people, and will. I fully understood that the longer we got away from September the 11th, more people would forget the lessons of September the 11th. But I'm not going to forget them.
"And I understand some of the decisions I've made are controversial. But I made them in the best interest of our country and, I think, in the best interests of the world.
"I believe when you look back at this moment, people will say, It was right to encourage democracy in the Middle East.
"I understand some people think that can't work. I believe in the universality of freedom. Some don't. I'm going to act on my beliefs so long as I'm the president of the United States.
"Some people say, 'It's OK to condemn people to tyranny.' I don't believe it's OK to condemn people to tyranny, particularly those of us who live in the free societies.
"And so I understand. And I'll try to do my best to explain to the Europeans that, on the one hand, we're tough when it comes to the terror. On the other hand, we're providing more money than ever before in the world's history for HIV/AIDS on the continent of Africa.
"I'll say, on the one hand, we're going to be tough when it comes to terrorist regimes who harbor weapons.
"On the other hand, we'll help feed the hungry.
"I declared Darfur to be a genocide because I care deeply about those who have been afflicted by these renegade bands of people who are raping and murdering.
"And so I will do my best to explain our foreign policy. On the one hand, it's tough when it needs to be. On the other hand, it's compassionate.
"And we'll let the polls figure out -- you know, people say what they want to say. But leadership requires making hard choices based upon principle and standing by the decisions you make. And that's how I'm going to continue to lead my country.
"Thank you for your question."
"BLITZER: One of the other explosive charges you have in the book is that the U.S. deliberately bombed the Al Jazeera offices in Kabul to make a point. You write this: 'On November 13, a hectic day when Kabul fell to the Northern Alliance and there were celebrations in the streets of the city, a U.S. missile obliterated Al Jazeera's office. Inside the CIA and White House there was satisfaction that a message had been sent to Al Jazeera.'For the same reason, Rumseld wanted the journalists off Gitmo. Too much information, is too much information. "Transparency" is what the President says it is.
"Are you suggesting that someone in the U.S. government made a deliberate decision to take out the Al Jazeera office in Kabul?
"SUSKIND: My sources are clear that that was done on purpose, precisely to send a message to Al Jazeera, and essentially a message was sent."