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Many Versions of 'Bush Doctrine'

According to Holbrooke, "the core point is that the Bush people were extremely proud of it and they presented it as a historical breakthrough."

But one of the drafters of that document demurred at investing the statement with too much weight. "I actually never thought there was a Bush doctrine," said Philip D. Zelikow, who later served as State Department counselor under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. "Indeed, I believe the assertion that there is such a doctrine lends greater coherence to the administration's policies than they deserve."

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, said he thought there was no "single piece of paper" that represents the Bush doctrine, but said several ideas collectively make up the doctrine, including the endorsement of preventive war and the idea that there is such a thing as a "war on terror."

"There are many elements to the Bush doctrine," he said.

In an interview, Bush press secretary Dana Perino said that "the Bush doctrine is commonly used to describe key elements of the president's overall strategy for dealing with threats from terrorists." She laid out three elements:

"The United States makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who support and harbor terrorists. . . . We will confront grave threats before they fully materialize and will fight the terrorists abroad so we don't have to face them at home. . . . We will counter the hateful ideology of the terrorist by promoting the hopeful alternative of human freedom."

Bush, she added, "is comfortable with the way I just described it."

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