Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tony Snow Press Briefing On the House Resolution and Iran Weapons In Iraq

   A few excerpts from Tony Snow's press briefing this afternoon. As is usual, we get the same old tony Snow bullshit!

The White House

Press Briefing by Tony Snow
White House Conference Center Briefing Room    12:39 P.M. EST

Q The Democrats in the House are out with their resolution -- fairly straightforward. Is this something you can live with?

MR. SNOW: Look, Congress is going to do whatever it thinks it needs to do, in terms of resolutions. We're not going to get into the business of writing them. What the President lives with is the responsibility of being an effective Commander-in-Chief and advancing the cause of a democracy in Iraq. Although members of the House did not have an opportunity to vote on General Petraeus, members of the Senate did, and without objection they voted for him. And we believe that he ought to get what is necessary to move forward in Iraq.

So as we have said in all cases, members need to understand that their words do travel, and they need to assess what impact they think they may have. But other than that --

Q Tony, to be more specific on that point, there were Republican talking points on the Hill floating around that say that this House resolution Steve mentioned will, "weaken troop morale," and will, "give comfort to the enemy." Do you agree with that assessment?

MR. SNOW: Don't know. I mean, I've always said that -- and the President has said that those are things that people have to take into account. Certainly, General Petraeus and Secretary Gates thought that they would have an adverse impact when it came to morale, and also that they may provide some comfort to the enemy. But, again, I think these are serious matters that people voting on the resolution are going to have to take into account.

Q But the resolution, itself, the first line says that the United States Armed Forces are serving and have served bravely and honorably in Iraq. I mean, it's very clearly stating that the supporters of this resolution -- there is one Republican who has signed on -- believe that U.S. soldiers have served bravely and honorably. So what's the --

MR. SNOW: Okay, so they don't want to provide the additional support for their mission, and that helps how?

Q That's for them to answer. But they say that --

MR. SNOW: That's what I'm saying.

Q Okay. Well, then what is your problem with it? Because specifically after saying that they believe U.S. soldiers have served bravely and honorably, it says Congress disapproves of the decision of President Bush announced on January 10th to deploy --

MR. SNOW: Well, we disagree, and the President is Commander-in-Chief, and he has the obligation to do what he thinks is best to make this country safe, and that's what he's doing.

Q This brings up sort of a very interesting point that I think, if we pull back a second, that a lot of Americans are probably engaged in trying to get their arms around. There was an op/ed piece yesterday by a former Director of the NSA and a former Army senior intelligence official, and he asked the question, can you support the troops and still call for bringing them home? Is the only way to support the troops to follow out what -- follow what the President's sort of continued mission is? What do you think of that?

MR. SNOW: Well, what I think is I'm not going to quite rise to that bait, but I'll give you an answer that is responsive. The way you support the troops is help them complete their mission successfully. That's how you support them. And after a very long period of review, the President and senior military commanders came to the conclusion that it will require additional troops, but a completely different kind of mission.

I think there's a common misperception that all we're doing is we're throwing an extra 21,000 into exactly the same mission that existed before. You've got a different structure with the Iraqis, you have different rules of engagement, you have a different approach to trying to deal with problems of violence -- including integrating economic development teams, the provisional reconstruction teams -- in areas where we have cleared out some of the bad guys.

So the fact is, this is a significantly different approach to dealing with the problems of violence, especially in Baghdad, Anbar province and a couple of other places within Iraq. And, therefore, in order to make this particular approach succeed, the President came to the conclusion you need five brigades in Baghdad and you need another 4,000 Marines in Anbar.

Q Clearly, the underpinnings of what the President -- why the President decided on the policy he did -- and I don't think this is bait. I think it's a very important philosophical question, because right now, the way it's configured, you can't say "bring them home" without being accused of not supporting the troops.

MR. SNOW: Well, again, if "bring them home" -- I want somebody to fill in the blanks: Bring them home achieves victory in the following way. If the simple goal is to bring them home, that is different than having a goal of providing victory in Iraq, providing an Iraq that can stand up as a democracy. And we have said from the very beginning the members of Congress, yes, they've got a chip in the game, and one of the things they can do is that they can offer their own plan that they think is going to be -- if they think that they have a superior way to have a democracy that's going to be stable so that you do not have the opportunity for al Qaeda to use Anbar province as a launching pad; so that you do not create a power vacuum that may allow other nations to come in and try to take advantage of chaos within Iraq; and you do not set off a series of consequences throughout the region that may, in fact, make us less safe, make that region less stable and make the globe a less peaceful place.

So you put all that together, there are real consequences to leaving before the job is done. And if critics have a better way of achieving the aims that we've laid out, we'd love to hear them.

Q What direct evidence do you have that Iranian leaders authorized the smuggling of weapons into Iraq?

MR. SNOW: What I first would do is just point you back to the briefing. What they have are a number of serial numbers, and so on. I'd just take you back to the transcript on that. If you're looking for the granular evidence, that's what they presented.

Q But that wasn't direct evidence linking Iran --

MR. SNOW: Let me put it this way: There's not a whole lot of freelancing in the Iranian government, especially when it comes to something like that. So what you would have to do, if you're trying to do the -- to counter that position, you would have to assume that people were able of putting together sophisticated weaponry, moving it across a border into a theater of war and doing so unbeknownst and unbidden.

Q Could I just follow it just one more time? So the direct evidence would be the assumption, then, that it would have to be Iranian --

MR. SNOW: Again, what I would suggest, Victoria, if you really want to go into the details, is you go to Embassy Baghdad, because they're the ones who do the briefing. This really is -- it's a force protection matter. That's why they did the briefing. And I'm not going to be able to give you all the jot and tittles on it. That's why -- if you want to call them, or call DoD, they'll be able to give you more detail on it.

Q Do you think the American people deserve a little bit more than deduction? I mean, the evidence --

MR. SNOW: I think what the American people -- what our troops deserve is somebody who is going to protect them. Now, you cannot deny these weapons exist. You cannot deny that there is presently no manufacturing capability within Iraq able to produce those kinds of weapons. Beyond that, again I point you back to Defense briefing. What the American people need is somebody who is going to say we're going to protect our people from these weapons. The weapons exist. People have got to look at it, they've got to look at what happens when they detonate. It's hard for me to argue that that's a phantom menace. And it's also a lot harder to argue to our troops, who have been getting hit by them.


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