By now you’ve seen the videos of Bush saying the administration’s strategy was never “stay the course.” And you’ve heard his advisors go on television and say the same thing.
Well, I went to the White House’s home page and typed “stay the course” into the search bar. This is a sampling of what I found.
Here’s what Bush said on October 27, 2003:
This government is determined to hear the call from the Iraqis, and the call is they want a society in which their children can go to school, in which they can get good health care, in which they’re able to live a peaceful life. It’s in the national interest of the United States that a peaceful Iraq emerge. And we will stay the course in order to achieve this objective.
Scott McClellan talks about Bush’s policy on November 13, 2003:
But it’s important that we stay the course and finish the job — and that’s what the President has continued to say — and let the Iraqi people know that we are going to stay the course, we will be there to finish the job, and we will not stay a day longer than necessary.
Bush on April 5, 2004:
I just met with Specialist Chris Hill’s family from North Carolina. You know, I told the family how much we appreciated his sacrifice — he was killed in Iraq — and assured him that we would stay the course , that a free Iraq was very important for peace in the world, long-term peace, and that we’re being challenged in Iraq because there are people there that hate freedom. But the family was pleased to hear that we — its son would not have died in vain. And that’s an important message that I wanted to share with you today. […]
And we’ve got to stay the course, and we will stay the course. The message to the Iraqi citizens is, they don’t have to fear that America will turn and run. And that’s an important message for them to hear. If they think that we’re not sincere about staying the course, many people will not continue to take a risk toward — take the risk toward freedom and democracy.
Bush again on April 5, 2004:
We will stay the course. The Iraqi people don’t have to fear taking the risk toward freedom and democracy because America won’t turn and run.
Bush talks about Afghanistan on June 1, 2004:
“People have got a sparkle in their eye and women now all of a sudden no longer fear the future but believe that we’re there to stay the course and we will help a free society emerge.”
Dick Cheney on October 13, 2004:
So I think we’ve got exactly what we need in a Commander-in-Chief. I am convinced that the nation will be better off and safer and more secure for our kids and grandkids if we stay the course we’re on, and that we will honor the sacrifice that so many have been asked to make by completing the mission.
Dick Cheney on October 29, 2004:
They will do everything they can to disrupt the process up to those elections in January because they know that once you’ve got a democratically elected government in place that has legitimacy in the eyes of the people of Iraq, they’re out of business. That will be the end of the insurgency. We intercepted a message from Zarqawi sent to some of the senior folks at the al Qaeda organization saying precisely that. So it’s important we get this job done, that we stay the course and complete the task in Iraq and Afghanistan, standing up governments but also training them to take over their own security. And we’re doing that in Iraq at the same time. Once we’ve done that, then obviously, we can depart. We don’t want to stay a day longer than necessary, but we do have to stay long enough to complete the mission and get the job done and get it done right. (Applause.)
Bush on November 30, 2005…
Some critics continue to assert that we have no plan in Iraq except to,” stay the course.” If by “stay the course,” they mean we will not allow the terrorists to break our will, they are right. If by “stay the course,” they mean we will not permit al Qaeda to turn Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban — a safe haven for terrorism and a launching pad for attacks on America — they are right, as well. If by “stay the course” they mean that we’re not learning from our experiences, or adjusting our tactics to meet the challenges on the ground, then they’re flat wrong. As our top commander in Iraq, General Casey, has said, “Our commanders on the ground are continuously adapting and adjusting, not only to what the enemy does, but also to try to out-think the enemy and get ahead of him.” Our strategy in Iraq is clear, our tactics are flexible and dynamic; we have changed them as conditions required and they are bringing us victory against a brutal enemy. (Applause.)
Tony Snow on August 17, 2006:
Again, you keep asking me these existential questions about whether the President is sort of — well, he is concerned. But the other thing is there is real — you can’t be a President in a time of war without soul-searching. It’s just not possible. But on the other hand, you also cannot be a President in a wartime and not realize that you’ve got to stay the course.
And finally, this is what Laura Bush said about a month ago on September 16, 2006:
Well, I say exactly what the President says, that we need to stay the course; that it’s really in our interest as Americans to make sure Iraq can build a stable democracy. You’ve seen lately, in the last few weeks, the Prime Minister of Iraq talking here. They want us to stay there, they want to be able to build a democracy. And if we left now, we would leave a country without the support they need to build a democracy.
Take a look at the speeches, take a look at the context and make up your own mind.