WASHINGTON—Despite harsh criticism from both sides of the political aisle, the U.S. populace, and former members of his own administration, President Bush once again defended his 2003 decision to invade Iraq, saying that, in the end, it was the fun thing to do.
"On Sept. 11, 2001, we as a nation faced a difficult decision, an important decision, a decision between what was fun and what was wrong," Bush said during a speech before Pentagon officials Wednesday. "We could have backed down and allowed the terrorists to win. But instead, we stood up to the challenge before us, and we said, 'Bring it on—bring the good times on!'"
"Mark my words," Bush continued. "When the dust settles and the smoke clears, history will look back on the Iraq War as a total blast."
Throughout his speech, Bush remained unapologetic about his commitment to the ongoing mission to live it up in Iraq, repeatedly saying that sacrifices had to be made to ensure the most pleasurable course of action. The president also stated that he would not succumb to those who had pressured him to set a date for withdrawal, insisting that U.S. troops would remain in the region for as long as his administration was enjoying itself.
"Withdrawing from Iraq when we're all having such a fantastic time would only serve to empower those intent on spoiling our fun," Bush said. "And I have to say, right now, we're having a ball."
Bush went on to defend his decision to remove troops from Afghanistan and "bring the party" to Iraq. He maintained that while policing the region wasn't "a bore or anything" it wasn't all that entertaining, either. Furthermore, the president said that had the United States not shifted its focus away from Afghanistan, military forces never would have had the opportunity to kick up their heels in Iraqi cities such as Basra, Baghdad, and Tikrit.
"Tell me 'Shock and Awe' wasn't an absolute riot," a visibly confident Bush said.
Bush maintained that he had no regrets about invading Iraq, and that all he needed to do to know he made the right decision was look at the smiling, happy faces of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Vice President Dick Cheney, and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Following the president's speech, Rice herself lashed out against critics of the war, painting them as "real downers" who wouldn't know how to let their hair down and have fun if their lives depended on it.
"I urge those who have grown tired of this war to lighten up and live a little," Rice said on CBS Evening News, adding that Bush had furthered his commitment to having a rip-roaring time in Iraq with a recent troop surge. "What detractors of this war don't understand is that when it comes to fighting terrorism, there's no harm in letting loose and painting the town red."
While Rice admitted that the Bush Administration could have better planned its exit strategy and more fully equipped troops to deal with the Sunni insurgency, she questioned how much fun that ultimately would have been for U.S. troops.
"The best times are had when there's no preparation in place. When everything is loud and spontaneous and you just throw caution to the wind," Rice said. "Sure, we might have been able to prevent a massive civil war had we taken a few precautions—but come on, where's the joy in that?"
Bush, who claimed he could see America having a great time in Iraq for decades to come, and called the war in the Middle East the most fun the nation has had since Vietnam, agreed with Rice.
Said Bush, "Frankly, if we're not going to enjoy it, why even invade Iraq in the first place?"