Go ahead, Helen.For great questions, you get rhetoric and propaganda. Should Scotty be fired or would his replacement simply replicate the reprehensible conduct of a worn out administration.
Q You were going to make a statement, White House statement on the approach of the 2,000 Americans dead in Iraq at the earlier briefing, didn't you? At the gaggle?
MR. McCLELLAN: Do you have a question?
Q The question is, what is the feeling about that? And also, does the President approve now of finally telling how many Iraqis we killed?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, a couple of things. One, we have lost over 2,200 men and women in uniform in Afghanistan and Iraq. There is no higher priority for the President of the United States than the safety and security of the American people. It is a responsibility he takes very seriously. No President wants to go to war. But four years ago, or just over four years ago, war was brought to our shores. This nation remains engaged in a global war on terrorism. It is a war against Islamic radicals who seek to spread their hateful and murderous ideology. Our men and women in uniform volunteered to defend the freedoms we hold so dearly. They are the ones who are on the front lines in this global struggle that we are engaged in. We mourn the loss of each and every one of our men and women in uniform who have made the ultimate sacrifice to make the world freer and more peaceful. We are forever grateful for their sacrifice, and we will always remember and honor what they have done. They have given their life in defense of freedom, and the best way to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice is to prevail in the war on terrorism. And that's --
Q And kill more people?
MR. McCLELLAN: -- and that's exactly what we will do. We will prepare --
Q The Iraqis did not attack us.
MR. McCLELLAN: Let me just finish my response. I appreciate that. We will prevail in the war on terrorism. Our men and women in uniform are doing an outstanding job in helping us to win this war. And the President made a decision after September 11th that we were going to wage a broad and comprehensive war on terrorism --
Q Against any country?
MR. McCLELLAN: We are taking the fight to the enemy to bring people to justice before they can carry out their attacks. We are also working to spread freedom and change the Middle East. We are no longer accepting the status quo in the Middle East. And one thing --
Q That's not your role, is it? What right do you have to do that?
MR. McCLELLAN: And one thing that Secretary Rice talked about was the significant -- in the Cabinet meeting -- was the significant change that we've seen in the Middle East over the last three to four years. We're seeing democracy take hold in Afghanistan. We're seeing democracy take hold in Iraq. The Iraqi people are showing through their courage and determination that they want to live in freedom. The Iraqi election commission just reported this weekend that some 63 percent of Iraqis showed up to vote; some 9.8 million people -- Q Do we expect sovereignty of nations?
MR. McCLELLAN: Let me finish, Helen. Our troops understand the importance of the mission. They are laying the foundation of peace for our children and grandchildren. We live in a dangerous world; the threats are real --
Q That's why you're killing Iraqis?
MR. McCLELLAN: -- and they are dangerous. But our men and women in uniform understand the enemy that we're up against, and they understand the stakes involved. We are forever grateful for their sacrifice; we're forever grateful for the sacrifice of the families of the fallen, as well. That's why the President visits with the families on a regular basis, to comfort them, console them, and to remind them of the importance of what their loved one sacrificed for.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Why Are We Killing Iraqis?
Another fantastic line of questions from Helen Thomas in a long awaited press conference with Scotty McMessage McClellan: