5,747. 4/7/2004

From Iraq, Coalition Provisional Authority leader L. Paul Bremer and Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez held a videoconference with the National Security Council on April 7, 2004. President Bush “declared that [radical cleric Moqtada al-] Sadr’s Mahdi Army was a ‘hostile force’ and that they could not let a single radical cleric change the course of Iraq. ‘At the end of this campaign, al-Sadr must be gone,’ Bush declared. ‘At a minimum, he will be arrested. It is essential he be wiped out.’ [Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld asked whether the effort should be low intensity or high intensity, and the high-intensity president interrupted. As Sanchez remembered it, Bush delivered a sharp tirade. ‘Kick ass!’ Sanchez recalled Bush saying. ‘If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them. We must be tougher than hell.’ He went on: ‘Our will is being tested, but we are resolute. We have a better way. Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Be confident! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out. We are not blinking.’ ”

 – Peter Baker, Days of Fire, Page 321

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