Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dancing In Circles And Never Answering The Iraq Question

Today's press briefing was so dizying right off the bat that you have to get off the carosel to ease the spin. Really, the reporters get to the heart of a question that has no propper answer that the W, Rove and Co. can give.
Q But what about this central Democratic argument that the money spent on the Iraq war has taken away from homeland security and the war on terrorism?
This is a legitimate question, but not going to recieve an answer from Tony the Snow job. Straight away, he goes about building up his straw argument to knock over instead:
MR. SNOW: Well, it's an argument that seems to indicate the war on terror would not exist if we were not in Iraq. Let me remind everybody that the war -- that terrorists spent years plotting September 11th. Hezbollah has been active as a terrorist organization for decades. Hamas has been on the terror watch list for many years. Jimiya Islamia and other groups have also been on the terror watch list for years. So the fact is that the Iraq war has become a central point as Prime Minister Maliki has pointed out and the President said, as well, because terrorists are trying to figure out if Western governments have the will -- and also governments in the region have the will to stand up to isolated acts of terror that are designed to frighten and disrupt nations. The President said, no, it's not going to happen in the case of the United States of America.

But it's also pretty clear that in the war on terror we have, in fact, been doing a lot of things pretty ably. We had the arrests in London last week, and that was the result of cooperation between the United States, Britain, Pakistan. In addition, what you saw is the United States government -- for those of you who were traveling -- that within a very short period of time we sort of ironed out procedures at airports, which is pretty miraculous. This is not the sort of thing that would have happened before September 11th.
And we see that he even resorts to confusion, manipulation, and then he trots out the Nine Eleven monkey to spank it one more time to his advantage. And he goes further to monger a bit more fear:
And so I think what you're seeing is also some evidence of the very kinds of efforts that the President was being briefed on today, but also a reminder that the challenges are always there, that terrorists, in fact, are busy trying to do these -- are always trying to come up with innovative ways to murder innocent people. And the President is encouraging all of his people to think creatively so that we can try to prevent that.
Rightly so, another reporter tries to extract an actual answer to the real question:
Q I think, to follow up on Steve's point, the argument is not that the war on terror would not exist if the U.S. was not pursuing a war in Iraq, it's that it's a drain on resources, not only in dollars, but also in the capacities that the government has.
And again, Tony delivers no real answer:
MR. SNOW: Well, Michael Chertoff is not suiting up and going to Iraq. The fact is that you can have different departments and agencies doing this. This has been a war that has cost a lot of money -- $250 billion or more. And we've lost a lot of American lives. But it does not mean that our government is incapable of doing this. And I think one thing that we have to combine is both optimism and determination. What I hear is, well, it's tough on the Pentagon, so therefore, the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Justice or the Department of National Intelligence somehow are unable to do their jobs. What we saw in the briefings -- and, frankly, the State Department. What we saw in the briefings in the last two days is not only are they capable, but they are eager, because they share the same sort of passion for making sure this doesn't happen again.

I think what is lost in trying to reduce this to a balance sheet is the passion with which people approach this job. Anybody who was here on September 11th -- and that includes most of the people in this room -- know that the memories of that day may fade, but it doesn't take long for them to come flaring back, vividly. And each and every day, when people are taking a look at intelligence estimates, and when you get new terror reports, it's pretty obvious that there's a lot of work to be done. And the idea that somehow the men and women who are engaged in this on a daily basis are somehow distracted or don't have the resources -- don't tell that to them, because they certainly don't buy it.
Ah, more fear to monger and slaping the nine eleven monkey furiously to distract us. Stipulating that because we question the government does not mean we disrespect or think those actually doing the fighting are incompetent as Tony would have you think. But, you see, this is an election year and the W, Rove and Co are up to their usual political parlor tricks....

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