Thursday, April 05, 2007

Iraq,Iran,Bush,and The War Funding Debate

    Since Bush is now terrorizing the residents of Texas for the rest of the week, we have no White House briefing to poke fun of. all is not lost though as we have a press gaggle with the esteemed Gordon Johndroe.

Below are bits and pieces of the gaggle. What the hell is a press gaggle anyway?

Press Gaggle by Gordon Johndroe
Crawford Middle School
Crawford, Texas    April 5,2007     Entire Transcript

Q Gordon, Zebari says that Iraq has been -- Iraq's government has been asking the United States for quite some time to release the Iranians who are held in the raid a couple months ago -- said that the Americans are just not complying. If Iraq is a sovereign government and we're just there at their invitation, why aren't we releasing those Iranians at their request?

MR. JOHNDROE: We certainly work hand-in-hand with the Iraqis on the security issues in Iraq. Right now it's our position that those detained were there engaged in actions that led to the deaths of innocent Iraqis, as well as Americans. So that's an ongoing process. We'll continue our discussions with the Iraqis on that.

 Iraq is a sovereign government so long as it is in the best interest of the Bush administration. Otherwise, do as you are told.

Q What are the prospects for releasing those five Iranians being held by U.S. forces?

MR. JOHNDROE: Well, that's an ongoing process. We're going to work that with the Iraqis to see what the next steps are, determining what course of justice should be carried out to deal with -- to deal with, frankly, what we believe were activities harmful to innocent Iraqis, as well as coalition forces.

Q And they're believed to be responsible for supplying IEDs in Iraq? Or what charges are they being held under?

MR. JOHNDROE: You know, for any specifics like that I would have to refer you to -- multinational forces Iraq.

Q Thank you, Gordon. On Sam Fox, some Democrats are saying that he can be denied pay because it's a recess appointment. Is he prepared to do the job for free, or are you guys aware of that? What's your take?

MR. JOHNDROE: I think the State Department has something on that about his willingness to -- on his compensation. But I'd refer you to the State Department specifically, because they're the ones who handle that -- the finances of that position.

Q Gordon, does the President see recess appointments as a way of circumventing Senate opposition to his nominees?

MR. JOHNDROE: I think the President views recess appointments as an appropriate way to get people who are qualified into jobs that need to be filled. And it's a process that's been used many times over the years for people whose nominations have lingered or have been stopped for various reasons.

Q Is there any room for compromise on the issue of the war funding supplemental? They're pushing timetables, you're wanting maximum flexibility. Is there any language that can bridge the gap? And Harry Reid now seems to be saying, the President needs to give us his plan or his thinking on the subject. Is the President going to -- are you going to talk to him?

MR. JOHNDROE: I would say the President gave his plan and his thinking on the subject 59 days ago today, and then approximately four weeks ago made it very clear, as the Congress was moving in a direction to set arbitrary timetables and mandate failure, made it very clear about four weeks ago that he does not think we should handcuff our commanders and our troops on the ground with these timetables, with these funding restrictions.

And so I think the President's position is very clear. What the Democrats did for the last four weeks, instead of discussing with the President a way to make sure that funding gets to the troops, they spent the last four weeks cobbling together votes, adding an additional $24 billion in spending for spinach, and peanuts, and tropical birds, or fish, and shrimp, and things like that. So in this four-week period, where the President's position is well-known, instead of having a discussion, they just jammed straight ahead, postponed their vote in the House a day or two in order to cobble together this bare majority.

So instead of over this four-week period doing that, they could have been engaged in a discussion. The President's position is well-known and clear. His position is reiterated by the Iraq Study Group, as James Baker lays out today. I've heard some commanders on the ground say they have concerns with timetables. So the President's position is clear. He's stated why he thinks this is the best course of action. His position has been known for some time now. And the Democrats just seem to have ignored it, just flat out ignored it, and just pushed forward with their vote.