President Bush responding today to a question about reports that the Pakistani government has called off the hunt for bin Laden and whether the US should be searching for him on its own ...
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.Earlier this week, you told a group of journalists that you thought the idea of sending special forces to Pakistan to hunt down bin Laden was a strategy that would not work.
QUESTION: Now recently, you've also...
BUSH: Because, first of all, Pakistan is a sovereign nation.
QUESTION: Well, recently, you've also described bin Laden as a sort of modern day Hitler or Mussolini. And I'm wondering why, if you can explain, why you think it's a bad idea to send more resources to hunt down bin Laden wherever he is.
BUSH: We are, Richard. Thank you. Thanks for asking the question.They were asking me about -- somebody report -- well, you know, your special forces here. Pakistan -- if he is in Pakistan, which this person thought he might be who was asking me the question -- Pakistan's a sovereign nation. In order for us to send thousands of troops into a sovereign nation, we've got to be invited by the government of Pakistan.Secondly, the best way to find somebody who is hiding is to enhance your intelligence and to spend the resources necessary to do that. And then when you find him, you bring him to justice.And, you know, there is a kind of an urban myth here in Washington about how this administration hasn't stayed focused on Osama bin Laden. Forget it. It's convenient throw-away lines, you know, when people say that.We have been on the hunt, and we'll stay on the hunt until we bring him to justice. And we're doing it in a smart fashion, Richard, we are.And I'll look forward to talking to President Musharraf.Look, he doesn't like Al Qaida. They tried to kill him. And we've had a good record of bringing people to justice inside of Pakistan, because the Paks are in the lead. They know the stakes about dealing with a, you know, a violent form of ideological extremists.So we will continue on the hunt, and we've been effective about bringing to justice most of those who planned and plotted the 9/11 attacks, and we still got a lot of pressure on them.The best way to protect the homeland is to stay on the offense and keep pressure on them.
I don't think we've had any good explanation of the recent reports that the Pakistanis have agreed to stop hunting for bin Laden as long as he doesn't launch attacks within Pakistan.