Tuesday, June 10, 2008

ABC interviews Laura Bush: Should we have gone into Burma anyway?

First Lady Laura Bush responded to questions about the US response to the Burma Cyclone in an interview Monday with ABC News (transcript). Here's what the First Lady had to say about Burma:

JONATHAN KARL: But it seems that recently you've had a very public role on the diplomatic front, and maybe even on the policy front. I mean, you became the -- I think the first First Lady in American history to do a press conference in the White House briefing room -- of course on Burma. Have you -- are you taking a more assertive role than you have in the past?

MRS. BUSH: Well, I don't know if I would call it that. I think I just know more. You know, I'm more educated about the situation in Burma and the situation in Afghanistan, just after having lived here in the White House for seven years. I've just learned more about it and know more about it, and Burma certainly. And especially after the cyclone we all looked at Burma and it's just so difficult and so sad and so really, I think, very, very difficult for people in the United States to know that we had all the help we had right off the coast of Burma and that the government would never allow us in.

There's something that's really disappointing, really frustrating about that. And it's just really one of the most difficult things that's happened, I think, since my husband has been President, and that is to know that we had help there and that they wouldn't allow it in.

JONATHAN KARL: When you look at that and you consider more than 2 million people affected and all that American help was right off the coast, the --

MRS. BUSH: Should we have gone in?

JONATHAN KARL: Should we have gone in anyway?

MRS. BUSH: You know, I don't know. I mean, I think that's the question. I think that's what goes over and over in my mind is, I want the people of Burma to know that the people of United States know what their situation is, that we knew what their situation was before even the natural disaster, but the detention of their Nobel Prize winner, the woman whose party was elected overwhelmingly and then never allowed -- that party was never allowed to govern, and the country has been decimated, just like Afghanistan was under the Taliban. But I want the people of Burma to know that, and I don't think they'll ever know, although I do think they listen to Voice of America and BBC and some other radio stations that go into Burma. So maybe they'll know by that.

JONATHAN KARL: But do you think there will come a time when we look back on this and we realize --

MRS. BUSH: And wonder if we should have --

JONATHAN KARL: Yes.

MRS. BUSH: I don't know. I mean, it's always easy to look back and it's very hard to project what really would have happened if we had done that. And so it's always easy to look back and say, oh, we should have done this or we should have done that, but without knowing what the real consequences would have been. We did fly in over 100 big cargo planes of aid, and I think that was good.

JONATHAN KARL: Did you ever talk to the President about the possibility of going in?

MRS. BUSH: Yes, I mean, we talked about it off and on the whole time it was there. And I didn't see a lot of coverage. I only saw one news coverage on what was on those ships, the Navy ships that were there on the coast of Burma. And one thing they had were these huge trucks that could drive off with big desalinization equipment so they could make fresh water, a lot of fresh water, and be able to store it or to get -- put it in some other sort of storage so that people who don't have fresh water now because of the effects of the cyclone could have fresh water. And of course water and food is so critical.

JONATHAN KARL: So getting back to your trip to Afghanistan . . .
It is interesting to know they at least talked about it.
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Top Photo: © 2008 Tobias Grote-Beverborg. Used with permission.
Bottom Photo: shows Laura Bush giving a news conference about Burma, via Jezebel.

3 comments:

  1. It is very clear that Laura Bush does not know anything about Burma even after 7 years in the White House. As an American who has lived in Burma for three years I am ashamed but the igorance, and the arrogance, of Bush and previous administrations with regard to Burma, not to mention Iraq and a number of other places. Fortunately the Burmese people learned long ago not to expect much from the US or western nations generally so the present performance is not really news to them.

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  2. It is very clear that Laura Bush does not know anything about Burma even after 7 years in the White House. As an American who has lived in Burma for three years I am ashamed but the igorance, and the arrogance, of Bush and previous administrations with regard to Burma, not to mention Iraq and a number of other places. Fortunately the Burmese people learned long ago not to expect much from the US or western nations generally so the present performance is not really news to them.

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  3. Oh Don, you are right she does not know "anything" about it...

    I just cruised around the blogs and most of them carry news in Burmese, the agencies and the bloggers have lots and lots of news in Burmese and I cannot read them because I do not know how to read the language... then I fall in the same group as Mrs Bush and many other westerners, we know "nothing" because there is not willingness from the Burmese to translate and fill us in with what is happening inside.

    Pitty.. you can only help when you are asked and we are not being asked so far... well unless we become mind-readers then we will know about Burma...

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