Friday, September 17, 2004

Talkin' Loud, Ain't Sayin' Nothin'



The Bush Administration's singular defense to widespread concerns about the state of the Iraq war seems to be name calling. What's fascinating in today's White House Briefing (other than how many times McLellan manages to use pessimist and naysayer in a sentence) is the impressive ratio of words to information contained therein, i.e., a lot to absolutely none. Do you think he walks out of every press briefing thinking "I'm going to Hell for sure"?
Q Scott, does the President believe that the National Intelligence Committee assessment of the situation in Iraq that he received in July was an accurate assessment?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, let's talk about what the role of the CIA is. The role of the CIA is to look at different scenarios. That's what intelligence reports are about. The role of the policy makers is to determine how to address challenges so that we accomplish our mission. So that's -- the National Intelligence Estimate looks at different scenarios for Iraq's future when it comes to their political future and economic future over the course of a year-and-a-half, I believe, in this case.

Q Three fairly dim scenarios, ranging from civil war to delaying -- the most optimistic said that we probably --

MR. McCLELLAN: It talks about the great challenges to Iraq's peaceful and democratic future. And the President has talked about how transition -- the transition to a democracy is hard work. But it is for an important cause. The NIA really states the obvious in what the President has said many times. But it makes clear that it's important to stand with the Iraqi people as they face these challenges. The stakes are very high in Iraq. There is progress being made on the five-point plan that the President outlined for success. There are certain areas where there are ongoing difficulties and security threats. The Prime Minister of Iraq has made it clear that he is determined to address those situations. They have addressed the situations in Najaf and Kufa, and have made a lot of progress in Samarra, as well.

But the pessimists and the nay-sayers have said that Iraq wouldn't -- the Iraqi people wouldn't be able to agree to a transitional administrative law that established the rule of law and protected people's individual rights. The Iraqi people --

Q The TAL no longer exists.

MR. McCLELLAN: Hang on, Joe. I'm talking. The Iraqi people proved them wrong. The Iraqi -- the pessimist nay sayers said that they -- that we would not be able to transfer sovereignty by June 30th. The Iraqi people proved them wrong. And we did it early. The pessimists and nay sayers said that Iraq wouldn't be able to establish an interim representative council at their national conference. And the Iraqi people proved them wrong. And they said -- the pessimists and nay-sayers said that the Iraqi leaders wouldn't be legitimate. Well, they are being proved wrong again. Prime Minister Allawi is going to be standing before the United Nations next week as the representative of the interim government in Iraq.

Q It sure sounds like the President doesn't think much of that report, then.

MR. McCLELLAN: No -- no, actually, I told you, that's what it -- it states the obvious, and it talks about the challenges and the different scenarios that we face. That's what intelligence reports are supposed to do. That's the role of the CIA, to look at those issues. The role of the decision-makers is to make sure that we work to address those challenges so that we accomplish our mission because the mission in Iraq is critical for the world and for the American people.

Q But isn't it disingenuous for the --

Q Scott --

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think there are any plans about -- I don't think there are any plans to do so.

Q And in the other part -- quick question. Does the President believe that the TAL is the rule of -- rule of the land in --

MR. McCLELLAN: That's what the Iraqi people agreed to, that established the rule of law. It is in place.

Q It is right now?

MR. McCLELLAN: That's what they agreed to. Yes, it is in place.

Q But for the President to accuse the press and others for being pessimistic, which he does commonly in his speeches -- referring to The New York Times article from '45, et cetera -- isn't that disingenuous when there's reports from NIA which paint these sort of scenarios?

MR. McCLELLAN: That's why I pointed out that Iraqi leaders and the Iraqi people have proven the pessimists wrong every step of the way. I just pointed to the examples, and I pointed to -- most of the country in Iraq has made significant progress. There are areas where difficulties remain and there are ongoing -- there are ongoing security threats. There are dangers that remain. We made it very clear, and the President has spoken about how it is hard to transition to democracy, particularly in a region that has been very volatile and very dangerous. But the Iraqi people are determined to build a free and peaceful future. And they're -- they have shown their commitment to realizing a brighter future. We're there to partner with them and help them as they transition to democracy.

Our own democracy took some time to build. It's never easy transitioning to democracy, but particularly in a dangerous region of the world like Iraq.

Q So the President doesn't agree with the outlook?

MR. McCLELLAN: Those are different scenarios. They're different -- they're different scenarios and that's why it's important -- and that's why --

Q -- those scenarios are possible or likely?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the Iraqi people are proving that those -- those scenarios are wrong by the progress that they are making to build a better future and the coalition is there helping them as they do so.

2 Comments:

Blogger Hunt and Fish said...

Good post

November 3, 2005 at 3:42 AM  
Blogger Roberto Iza Valdes said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

November 4, 2005 at 1:17 PM  

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