Q I'd like to ask a question about the war spending bill. Part of this debate is the assertion by you and others, and including the President, that a date certain for withdrawal of troops would lead to chaos, accelerated violence, regional conflict in Iraq. Why should Americans trust your assumptions about the outcome of troop withdrawal, based on this administration's record of assumptions and the way things played out in Iraq?Finally, some one has the balls to ask this.
Really, if we couldn't trust the Administration in their initial run up to the Iraq war, why should we believe their pure speculation about the future should we pull the troops?
Do you buy Tony the Snow Job's answer?
MR. SNOW: Okay, don't trust our assumptions, take a look at the record itself. What you have found is that there's been a determination on the part of the terror network to try to make a couple of cases: Number one, you can't rely on the Americans. Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri, as well as Abu Musab al Zarqawi, have tried to make the point that the Americans, they really can't take the heat, they're going to get out, and when they get out, you go in and you take over. And that is a case they make in recruiting, and it is a case they also make in trying to wage acts of terror against neighboring states and to try to weaken the will of those who have been supporting us in the war on terror. So don't take our word for it, take their word for it. And the President read out some of those back in September.
Secondly, if you try to think strategically about what this says, if you have a date certain regardless, succeed or fail, what it says to those who want to commit acts of terror is, put your feet up, go ahead and try to build up arms strength and go try to do this, that or the other, try to get yourself organized, wait it out, and when the Americans leave, you hit and you hit hard. That would make common sense. And I think you're going to find most military folks agree with it.
What you pointed out, David, is that in a time of war, nobody is a perfect predictor. But on the other hand, what you have to do is to make sure that you're not weakening your hand by doing something that almost immediately could be construed as a rhetorical victory for the enemy, and ultimately as a strategic victory for the enemy, because you get -- take a look at what happened as the new Baghdad plan came out. You saw many terror figures getting out of Baghdad. You saw that there was a change in the attitude and behavior of a number of people, including perhaps Muqtada al Sadr.
What you have seen, is, in fact, there -- people take seriously the focused application of American force. And as a result, they behave differently. And even though it is -- certainly, as Helen was just pointing out, not perfect in Iraq, there has been some improvement, and we hope it continues to improve. So those are the kind of considerations that go into that.