From today's presidential press conference at the White House:
Question: Thank you, Mr. President. What kind of signal do you think it sends to the Iraqi people that your administration notified the leader of Iraq's sovereign government only five minutes beforehand of your arrival? And was there a specific security concern about either Prime Minister Maliki's inner circle or others that led you to make that decision?
PRESIDENT BUSH: No, I think -- look, it's a security concern because I'm a high-value target for some. And Iraq is a dangerous place
. The American people have got to know that I will take precautions when I travel somewhere. I'm not going to put our government at risk to achieve a very important trip. And, therefore, we were -- a lot of people didn't know about it. Half my Cabinet didn't know about it.
Does that mean I'm going to run them off? No. I just -- we want to make sure we're extra secret about this deal. And the reason why is Iraq is dangerous. It's a dangerous place
. And I think if there was ample notification that I was coming, perhaps it would have given somebody a chance to plan, and we just didn't want to take that risk. (emphasis added).
My follow up questions:
Question: Why is it so dangerous in Iraq over three years after the fall of Saddam that an American president can't make an announced
visit to Iraq?
Question: Why was Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki notified only five minutes before you walked in the room and shook his hand? Is he and his aides security risks such that you couldn't give them advance notice?
Question: Why did you not tell your cabinet, including the head of the CIA that you were going to travel to Iraq? Are they a security risk?
Question: Why did John King of CNN, his wife and managing editor know about your trip but the head of National Intelligence John Negroponte not know? Is he a security risk too?
Question: Why did you only spend less than five hours
in Iraq in the heavily defended green zone? If it is that dangerous do you regret declaring "mission accomplished" over three years ago?
Question: Was the mission accomplished in "mission accomplished" an Iraq where the U.S. president can't make an announced visit for more than five hours where your press secretary and communications director have to be outfitted like a bomb disposal team just to get from the airport to the green zone?
Question: Why did you cut and run from Iraq after less than five hours just like you cut and ran from honest pre-war intelligence, cut and ran from the sensible pre-war military advice, cut and ran from the Powell Doctine
, cut and ran from your responsibility to provide our troops with the body armor, humvee armor, force protection and vital equipment needed?
Question: What would it take for you to admit you and the Republicans lost the war in Iraq?
Question: Do you think the American people will cut and run from the Republicans this November?