We had a content-laden gaggle today so I split my obsession into three parts. This is the third of three, dealing with the attack on U.S. forces in Mosul.
Shorter first question: how much longer do we have to put up with this shit, Scottie?
Q Scott, can I ask you, you have said for months, and the President has said that they are trying to derail freedom, these insurgents, and that the insurgents will be defeated — as you just said. And, yet, you’ve said that for months and, yet, the insurgency continues to grow stronger. This now appears to be the most deadly attack against U.S. troops since the war began. How can you show that progress is being made?
MR. McCLELLAN: Actually, General Casey briefed on it last week when he was here in Washington, D.C. and he talked about the progress that had been made in places like Fallujah and Najaf and Samarra. And he talked about how even Iraqi security forces in those areas were partnering with us to address the ongoing security challenges. There are tough challenges that remain; the President talked about that yesterday. But we are making important progress on the ground.
[Scottie speak about terrorists and Saddam Loyalists deperately trying to stop the March of Freedom snipped for your sanity.]
Next question: you expect people to vote under these conditions?
Q If the United States military can’t completely secure an American military base from this kind of attack, what does it say to Iraqis who are expected to show up at 9,000 polling places next month?
MR. McCLELLAN: Terry, there — as General Hamm and others — I mean, as General Casey, I believe, last week, and others have pointed out, in about 15 of the 18 provinces in Iraq, there is security and peace. There are some provinces where there are security challenges that remain because the terrorists recognize what a significant blow it will be when Iraq is a democratic, free and peaceful state. It will be a major blow to the ambitions of the terrorists. It is critical to our efforts to win the war on terrorism. That’s why they’re desperately seeking to derail the transition and attacking our forces, attacking the Iraqi people, attacking innocent civilians. They will be defeated. We have seen progress made to bring to justice those who are the enemies of freedom, and we will continue to pursue them.
Q The message to the Iraqi people from this podium is, in most of your country it’s okay, go vote?
Finally, some heady reporter played Chimpy’s worst nightmare: the Beruit Card.
Q Scott, just about all of us in this room are old enough to remember what happened in 1983, with the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, and what that one incident did to American resolve regarding that mission. I’m just wondering if the President believes — and I realize the Mosul thing is quite different, the circumstances are quite different, but it’s been widely reported — I’m wondering if the President worries that the American people are going to continue to be accepting of the consequences of this invasion ad infinitum or at some point —
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, first of all, there — a free and peaceful and democratic Iraq is going to emerge. It’s going to be an Iraq that is run by the Iraqi people, as they choose to run that country. And we’ve made that very clear. The President will continue to talk to the American people about the challenges that remain. As he talked about yesterday, there are still some tough challenges going forward. But he will also talk to them about the importance of the mission we are working to complete in Iraq.