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Bush tells Rush he's 'deeply concerned' about the US leaving the Middle East

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Published: Wednesday November 1, 2006

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During an interview with conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh, US President George Bush expressed deep concerns about the possibility of the United States leaving the Middle East, raising fears that extremists could topple governments to "control oil resources."

"Give me a second here, Rush, because I want to share something with you," Bush said. "I am deeply concerned about a country, the United States, leaving the Middle East."

Bush said that he was "worried that rival forms of extremists will battle for power, obviously creating incredible damage if they do so; that they will topple modern governments, that they will be in a position to use oil as a tool to blackmail the West."

"People say, 'What do you mean by that?'" The president continued. "I say, 'If they control oil resources, then they pull oil off the market in order to run the price up, and they will do so unless we abandon Israel, for example, or unless we abandon allies.'"

"You couple that with a country that doesn't like us with a nuclear weapon, and people will look back at this moment and say, 'What happened to those people in 2006?' and those are the stakes in this war we face," Bush said.

"On the one hand we've got a plan to make sure we protect you from immediate attack, and on the other hand we've got a long-term strategy to deal with these threats, and part of that strategy is to stay on the offense," Bush continued. "Part of the strategy is to help young democracies like Lebanon and Iraq be able to survive against the terrorists and the extremists who are trying to crush their hopes, and part of the democracy is for a freedom movement, which will help create the conditions so that the extremists become marginalized and unable to recruit."

Limbaugh called Bush's comments "extremely visionary."

A transcript, as well as audio of the Bush interview can be found at Limbaugh's Website