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While visiting London in what many are calling his ‘European Farewell Tour,’ US President George W. Bush is met by protesters. A warmer reception for Bush at 10 Downing St. as UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown agrees to send 230 more troops to Afghanistan and President Bush praises Brown for being ‘tough on terror.’ In an interview with SKY Television President Bush accompanied by his wife Laura talks Afghanistan, Iraq, Osama bin Laden and the US Economy. The Real News Network Analyst Pepe Escobar comments.

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Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

CROWD: George Bush! Terrorist! George Bush! Terrorist! George Bush! Terrorist!

PEPE ESCOBAR, ANALYST, THE REAL NEWS NETWORK: This was the popular reception in London for George Bush in his farewell European tour.

CROWD: Gordon Brown! Terrorist! George Bush! Terrorist!

ESCOBAR: But inside 10 Downing Street, the reception was much cozier.

GORDON BROWN, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: And so today Britain will announce additional troops for Afghanistan, bringing our numbers in Afghanistan to the highest level.

ESCOBAR: In fact, that will amount to only 230 soldiers. There are 7,800 British troops in Afghanistan at the moment. But compare this 230 with the recent spectacular jail break in Kandahar, where no less than 870 outlaws, including more than 400 Taliban, were set free. Currently, there are no less than 65,000 western troops mired in the war in Afghanistan, half of them US, half of them NATO. It’s still all about the war on terror.

GEORGE W. BUSH, US PRESIDENT: The first thing about Gordon Brown, he’s tough on terror. And I appreciate it. And so should the people of Great Britain and the world.

ESCOBAR: The US president also stressed that, I quote, “the people of Afghanistan and Iraq appreciate” how tough Bush and Brown are on terror. Two hundred and thirty extra troops may not make a lot of difference in fighting the Taliban, but Brown had to stress, I quote, “it’s in the British national interest” to confront the Taliban; “otherwise Afghanistan will come to us.” So while the Taliban plot how to strike London, Bush and Brown agreed on more sanctions in Iran. The military option, according to Bush, is still on the table. And just in case, Bush stressed he had no quarrel with the Iranian people, just like he had no quarrel with the Iraqi people in early 2003. Bush and wife Laura gave a joint interview to Sky TV, the British sister of Fox News. Bush told Sky that, essentially, 65,000 western troops in Afghanistan, it’s all about freedom.

BUSH: This is freedom’s march. I’m not surprised that an enemy that can’t stand freedom is trying to shake our will.

ESCOBAR: And it’s worth it.

BUSH: And Afghan democracy, I’ve come to the conclusion, Laura’s come to the conclusion that it does matter. It matters for our own security, as we learned on September 11. It also matters from a humanitarian perspective.

ESCOBAR: Then there’s the small matter of finding dead or alive that man in a cave.

BUSH: I said “dead or alive” right after September 11. It’s an unfortunate statement I made. But inherent in that statement is our desire to bring him to justice. It was unscripted. I spoke my mind. And, you know, it just sent the wrong signal. I didn’t realize at the time, obviously; otherwise I wouldn’t have said it.

ESCOBAR: And there’s also that small matter of that war in the Middle East.

BUSH: Getting rid of Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do. And I’m not going to back off one inch on that. The world is better off without him, and I’m sorry that innocent civilians die in Iraq. But I want you to remember hundreds of thousands died when Saddam Hussein was leading that country. And war’s brutal. I wish we didn’t have war. But I believe we’re now on the way to peace.

ESCOBAR: Bush also volunteered a solution for the US economic crisis.

BUSH: Now, in America, what we need to be doing is drilling for more oil and gas. And as a result of the Democratic Congress not letting us drill for oil and gas in America, our consumers are paying a higher price for gasoline.

ESCOBAR: But does the president lose his sleep when about 80 percent of Americans, according to a CBS-New York Times poll, say the country is on the wrong track?

BUSH: First of all, popularity is fleeting. And I want it to be said about George W. Bush that when he finished his presidency, he looked in the mirror at a man who did not compromise his core principles for the sake of politics or the Gallup Poll or the latest, you know, whatever.


Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

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Pepe Escobar

Pepe Escobar, born in Brazil is the roving correspondent for Asia Times and an analyst for The Real News Network. He's been a foreign correspondent since 1985, based in London, Milan, Los Angeles, Paris, Singapore, and Bangkok. Since the late 1990s, he has specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central Asia, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has made frequent visits to Iran and is the author of Globalistan and also Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad During the Surge both published by Nimble Books in 2007.