NBC’s Richard Engel talked with President Bush about his policies in the Middle East.
ENGEL: If you look back over the last several years, the middle east that you’ll be handing over to the next president is deeply problematic. You have Hamas in power, Hezbollah empowered, taking to the streets, iran empowered, Iraq still at war. What region are you handing over?
BUSH: Richard, those folks were always around. They were here. What we’re handing over is a Middle East that one recognizes the problems and the world recognizes them. There’s clarity as to what the problems are.
ENGEL: The war on terrorism has been the centerpiece of your presidency. Many people say that it has not made the world safer, that it has created more radicals, that there are more people in this part of the world who want to attack the United States.
BUSH: It’s just a beehive theory. We should have just let the beehive sit there and hope the bees don’t come out of the hive? My attitude is, the United States must stay on the offense against al qaeda two ways —
ENGEL: Smash the beehive and let them spread?
BUSH: Richard, two ways. One, find them and bring them to justice — what we’re doing — and two, offer freedom as an alternative for their vision. And somehow, to suggest that bees would stay in the hive is naive. They didn’t stay in the hive when they came and killed 3,000 of our citizens.
This video is from NBC’s The Today Show, broadcast May 19, 2008.