The job of the executive branch is to enforce the laws put into place by Congress, not selectively enforce whatever rules they believe to be worth enforcing. Moreover, it's Congress that has power to control the budget specifically to have some kind of oversight as constitutionally established by our forefathers.
The trouble is, any level of violence is unacceptable and to suggest otherwise means that the President has given up on his job...to enforce the laws. It's time to give up on this President. It's never too late to start the impeachment proceedings.
Q The President earlier today defined success in Iraq. He said, "Success is not, no violence. There are parts of our country that, as you know, have a certain level of violence to it. But success is a level of violence where the people feel comfortable about living their daily lives, and that's what we're trying to achieve." What is the President talking about when he says there's parts in our own country where a certain level of violence that people will accept?Excuse me..."you need" a level of violence? No level of violence is the preferable target here. No wonder they are having difficulty finding a workable strategy in Iraq. They can't even get the simple targets down pat.
MR. SNOW: It means that you have places with high crime rates. And it is something that is quite often a fact of American life that we don't like and it is something that is a matter of constant and ongoing concern. But you could construe that as violence, and it is. If you take a look at drug-related violence that has wracked many of our cities -- and now, increasingly, in rural areas, as well as suburban -- that is a form of violence. If you read stories over the years that constantly take a look at murder rates and rape rates, and every time we come out with either the Bureau of Justice statistics or FBI with its reports, it's a standard part of reporting.
So what he's really talking about is that there's certain kinds of violence that do, unfortunately, exist in a society, but he was not arguing, for instance, that there are militias afoot or that sort of thing. He was simply saying, at some point, you need a level of violence in a society, crime or whatever, that is not going to be undermining your ability to have a functional democracy. And of course, the endless experiment within democracy is always to make it more effective and attending to the needs and safety of the people.
There's more from Wednesday's Whitehouse Press Briefing that reveals the trap the W has set for his people. You may ask yourself what is an acceptable level of violence?
Q If the President is using that as an example of saying that the Iraqis, if they find a certain level of violence that is acceptable, that's defined now as success?The W, Rove and Co has been war mongering for so long, they haven't got a clue how to shape peace and democracy in a way that doesn't involve violence. The real answer is thus: No level of violence is acceptable. And, when the President of the United States doesn't understand that very simple principle, I say it's time to impeach.
MR. SNOW: Yes, in other words, what he's saying is that if you can have a society that can function more or less normally, where you will have effective police forces that are able to dispense justice fairly, regardless of who you are; you have a growing economy; you have a rule of law; you have political institutions that reflect and protect the rights of all; you have a political system that is able to adjust over time and to -- amid compromise and full debate; you have diplomatic roots set down so you are a strong and functional player within the region. All of those are parts of being a successful state.
Q But the President -- he argued that this is about freedom, this is about democracy. But when the President defines success as a level of violence, where people feel comfortable about living their daily lives -- that bar is very, very low. That's much lower than a democracy or freedom agenda.
MR. SNOW: No, it's not. No, it's not. I mean, look, Washington for many years was the murder capital of the United States of America. I believe we are still able to do our jobs. Now, really what he's talking about -- he's talking about that. He is not talking about --
Q How do you define an acceptable level of violence? I mean, how can that possibly be defined?
MR. SNOW: That's a very good question. I don't have an answer.
Really the President has backed himself into a very tight corner between the rock (which continues to shed the blood of many) and the hard place (where innocent Iraqis weep). And we let him do it. Where's the plan to get us out and leave the Iraqis in a place where their society, how ever they choose to shape it, is viable? Answer: there isn't one beyond stay there for ever. Have a look:
Q The President said earlier today, he said, "Either we'll succeed or won't succeed" regarding the Iraq mission. And six months ago, he was asked, are we winning? He said, absolutely. And then it turned to, we're not winning, we're not losing. Now we're here at, we'll either succeed or won't succeed. It doesn't sound like a vote of confidence for the Iraqi -- what should the soldiers make of that statement?Execellent - that was four years, heaping sums of money, and countless dead bodies of an investment for what kind of return? This whole gamble has not, nor ever has been worth the ROI in my book. But those of you who read here often already knew that about me.
MR. SNOW: I think the soldiers should make that they've got somebody who supports them. And they understand that the mission is not to leave, but to succeed and then leave.
Q But he says, we'll succeed or we won't succeed. He doesn't sound very confident in our ability to succeed.
MR. SNOW: What he's really talking about is the nature of political debate. Will the United States send a message that we are going to provide the support that will enable the forces to do what they want? As you know, Suzanne, again, the testimony General Petraeus has been giving indicates that there has been some marginal progress. He does not want, again, for people to reach too far in the analysis, but it's there -- not only in Anbar, which predates the Baghdad security plan, but within Baghdad proper.
The point is that the goal here is success, and the President -- success is still an Iraq that can sustain, govern, and defend itself. It's one where you will have levels of violence that will not jeopardize the ability of the government to function on an ongoing basis.
So, no, this is not a stepping back, this is not the President embracing gloom, but realizing that it is a complex situation that ultimately the American people -- and you have to understand what the military understands, which is it is tough business, but it is vital, absolutely vital for our long-term security. This is not -- this is a place where failure really is not and should not be an option.
Q Sustain, govern, and defend, could Iraq do any of those three now?
MR. SNOW: I don't think it is in a position independently to do the three at this juncture. That's one of the reasons why.
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