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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Bush: ".. we can solve this problem .." [Afghan trial]

White House transcript
President Bush speaking at Capitol Music Hall, Wheeling, West Virginia:

[A firefighter asking:] Q And back during 9/11, I lost over 300 of my brothers in New York. And I was glad that you were our President at that time and took the fight to the terrorists. But as I see you, I said earlier about the guy in Afghanistan that is going to convert to Christianity, he may get killed over there for doing that. Do you have an army of sociologists to go over there and change that country, or are you hoping that in a couple decades that we can change the mind-set over there?

THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate the question. It's a very legitimate question. We have got influence in Afghanistan and we are going to use it to remind them that there are universal values. It is deeply troubling that a country we helped liberate would hold a person to account because they chose a particular religion over another. And so we are -- we will make -- part of the messaging just happened here in Wheeling. I want to thank you for that question.

No, I think it's -- we can solve this problem by working closely with the government that we've got contacts with -- and will. We'll deal with this issue diplomatically and remind people that there is something as universal as being able to choose religion.

Click Continue .. to get a great Prez. quote on bloging and Freedom of the Press! Click Headline to get all of the White House transcript.

And another great quote from that Q & A session of yesterday:

"One of the things that we've got to value is the fact that we do have a media, free media, that's able to do what they want to do. And I'm not going to -- you're asking me to say something in front of all the cameras here. (Laughter.) Help over there, will you? (Laughter.)
I just got to keep talking. And one of the -- there's word of mouth, there's blogs, there's Internet, there's all kinds of ways to communicate which is literally changing the way people are getting their information. And so if you're concerned, I would suggest that you reach out to some of the groups that are supporting the troops, that have got Internet sites, and just keep the word -- keep the word moving. And that's one way to deal with an issue without suppressing a free press. We will never do that in America. I mean, the minute we start trying to suppress our press, we look like the Taliban. The minute we start telling people how to worship, we look like the Taliban. And we're not interested in that in America. We're the opposite. We believe in freedom. And we believe in freedom in all its forms. And obviously, I know you're frustrated with what you're seeing, but there are ways in this new kind of age, being able to communicate, that you'll be able to spread the message that you want to spread. "