Former U.S. President George W. Bush has challenged North Korea’s government and military to “Bring it on” and face the wrath of the United States, echoing a similar challenge he made to militants during the Iraq War.
Bush’s comment comes amid increased tension on the Korean peninsula, as the North Korean government has prepared more tests of its nuclear and ballistic missile program while making aggressive threats against the United States, South Korea and Japan.
North Korea, led by Kim Jong-un, is believed to have more than 1,000 missiles, including long-range missiles that could strike the United States.
Bush – who labeled North Korea as part of an “Axis of Evil” during his presidency – was asked his thoughts about North Korea and Kim Jong-un during a recent interview with the Dallas-Fort Worth News-Register.
“Make no mistake about it, and the North Koranians (sic) shouldn’t make any mistake about it, America has the greatest military in the world, and Americans will do whatever it takes if we’re threatened. Just ask Saddam Hussein.
“So my answer to Kim John-un (sic) and his aggression is, ‘Bring it on.’ We’re not scared of you or your nucular (sic) missiles. We beat you once and we can do it again.”
Bush’s comment was swiftly condemned by White House and government officials.
“This is not the tone we wish to set with North Korea as we work with our allies in the region to resolve this crisis,” said a spokesman for the U.S. State Department. “We’re trying to avert a war and protect ourselves and our allies, not start a pissing match with a spoiled manchild dictator.”
Back It Off
Bush said “Bring them on” in 2003 during the Iraq War when he claimed the U.S. military was strong enough to deal with any violent attacks from militants.
Bush’s comment was widely criticized at the time as irresponsible, macho posturing as militants were increasing their violent attacks on U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Bush later said he regretted the comment.
Since leaving office in 2008, Bush has largely kept out of the national spotlight, save for a surprising turn last month when he apologized to the American people for the Iraq War , saying it was his “biggest mistake” as president.
But in his interview Bush appears to be entering a new, more assertive phase of his post-presidency.
“If he wants a piece of America, I say we give it to him,” he said, “and that goes for all those little Asian countries. China? Pakistan? Nepal? If anyone f**ks with us, I say we f**k with them right back.
“That’s just basic eye-for-an-eye Old Testament diplomacy. It worked for my presidency.”