Things are getting a bit sticky in Lebanaon, so sticky in fact that the scenes of half a million Lebanese demonstrating in support of Syria ruined Dear Leader’s little vanity speech today. Gaggle it, boys and girls.
Q Scott, how does the President square his calls again today for Syria to get out of Lebanon, with the enormous outpouring of support for Syria on the streets of Lebanon today and calls for the international community to stay out of the internal affairs of Lebanon?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, first of all, we are glad to see people peacefully express their views in the town square, as they have done for days now. We hope the Lebanese people will be able to express their view at the ballot box, through free elections, without outside interference and outside intimidation.
Q Right, but it’s another side of the story, it would seem, that there is one segment of the Lebanese population who wants Syria to get out, another segment of the population that wants them to stay in; and that the call is for people like the President, for Germany, France, Saudi Arabia to stay out of the process, that it’s not their place to be involved in.
MR. McCLELLAN: We want the Lebanese people to be able to determine their own future without any outside interference or outside influence. Syria is a destabilizing force in the region right now because of their actions and their continued support for terrorism and their continued presence in Lebanon.
And our objective is to make sure that the upcoming parliamentary elections in May are free and fair and credible. For those elections to be free and fair and credible, Syria needs to get out.
Q So when the President said today — his message to the Lebanese people was, the American people are on your side, he was also talking to the tens of thousands of people out marching against the President today?
MR. McCLELLAN: The international community is on the side of the Lebanese people in their aspirations to realize greater freedom. Absolutely, we stand with the Lebanese people.
Yes, we the American people are on the side of those who oppose George Bush.