Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tony Snow Admits: "I Think The Formulation Is, If Trends Continue, Then We Could Move Towards Civil War"

Sectarian violence versus Civil war: Is the distinction important? I don't know.

Regardless, in today's press briefing, you will see Tony the Snow job - who speeks for the President - admit that there is a danger Iraq will get to full blow civil war.

Have a look:

Q Tony, your own commanders have said the biggest threat in Iraq is sectarian violence, the threat of civil war. And, yet, the President keeps talking about the threat of terror. You're again saying the biggest threat there is Osama bin Laden. The President last night said the safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad. Why do your commanders say the biggest threat is civil war? The President keeps saying it's terror.

MR. SNOW: I think they say sectarian violence. I think we're leading to the same place, Martha, which is if you have --

Q Which is the threat of civil war, sectarian violence.

MR. SNOW: -- if you have an anarchic society that collapses, and therefore you end up having a rudderless, weak, divided society -- as you had in Afghanistan, which paved the way for the Taliban to take over -- then you've got a situation that is ripe for the kind of terrorist breakthrough that we're talking about in Iraq. I think that the disagreement you're looking for is more apparent than real here. The President is aware, and he talks regularly -- he's got a conversation later this week with General Casey. We keep constant watch on this stuff, and we do care about it and we do know the sectarian violence is a key factor. And the end result of sectarian violence -- civil war, if you want to put it that way -- I think the formulation is, if trends continue, then we could move towards civil war, that was what General Abizaid told Congress.

So it's several -- I don't think anybody is projecting imminent civil war, but if you have instability --

Q But they're also saying the threat of terrorism is small, percentage-wise.

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