Q Thank you, Mr. President. You say you want nothing short of victory, that leaving Iraq would be catastrophic; you once again mentioned al Qaeda. Does that mean that you are willing to leave American troops there, no matter what the Iraqi government does? I know this is a question we’ve asked before, but you can begin it with a “yes” or “no.”
THE PRESIDENT: We are there at the invitation of the Iraqi government. This is a sovereign nation. Twelve million people went to the polls to approve a constitution. It’s their government’s choice. If they were to say, leave, we would leave.
Q — catastrophic, as you’ve said over and over again?
THE PRESIDENT: I would hope that they would recognize that the results would be catastrophic. This is a sovereign nation, Martha. We are there at their request. And hopefully the Iraqi government would be wise enough to recognize that without coalition troops, the U.S. troops, that they would endanger their very existence. And it’s why we work very closely with them, to make sure that the realities are such that they wouldn’t make that request — but if they were to make the request, we wouldn’t be there.
As Atrios points out, there’s another thing catastrophic about us pulling out, at least according to the President and his remaining supporters. Namely, the oft-repeated narrative is that we’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here. So if the the Iraqis ask us to leave, GW says he will pick up and leave, and then what? As Atrios points out, by GW’s “logic” that’s akin to sitting around and waiting for destruction.