Damn Scottie did not get the gaggle transcript up in a timely manner yesterday. Just for that I’m gonna hit him with a full dose of Helen.
Q How is the President going to mark the second anniversary of our war against Iraq and the start of the third year?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, there’s still a few days off until the date that we began the liberation of Iraq, and —
Q The invasion of Iraq.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think the Iraqi people showed that they appreciate the sacrifices of the coalition forces, of Iraqi forces, and our men and women in uniform of the U.S. military, who helped —
Q Well, we’re still there and we’re still fighting, aren’t we?
MR. McCLELLAN: — to provide them with the opportunity to determine their own future, and to move away from their past of oppression and terrorism. And, obviously, we will —
Q How is the President going to mark the anniversary?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we will have more to say as we move closer to that, to express our eternal gratitude to the men and women of our Armed Forces who have served and sacrificed in the defense of freedom, and who have helped to liberate some 25 million people in Iraq. We are —
Q That isn’t why you went in.
MR. McCLELLAN: We are forever grateful to our men and women in uniform. And the Iraqi people have expressed their gratitude, as well, and showed that they are committed to defying the terrorists who want to return to the past by going to the polls and voting for a future based on freedom and democracy. And the National Assembly that was elected by the Iraqi people, the transitional National Assembly, will be meeting for the first time tomorrow. It’s an important step on the path to democracy. And we stand with the international community in doing everything we can to support the transition to democracy in Iraq. We stand with the Iraqi people, and we are greatly appreciative of our men and women in uniform who continue to serve and sacrifice for this important cause. We are also grateful to their families who have made sacrifices, as well.
Q How many people are dead?
MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, April.
Well, that did not go well.
Now, are we feeling safer? April is not.
Q Scott, on the anthrax attacks. The latest anthrax attacks reminds Americans that we have not found the origins of who or a group of people or one person who sent the anthrax in October of 2001 at — this has all gone on as we’re spending so much money for biodefense. Why have we not found the person or persons responsible for the anthrax attacks of 2001?
MR. McCLELLAN: That’s a matter that remains a priority. It remains under investigation. The FBI continues to pursue it. In terms of the issue today that you’re bringing up, let me just make clear that there was a preliminary — or some preliminary tests that came back positive. [Blah-blah, need more tests, don’t know – blah.]
Q But, Scott, it somewhat makes — some of the critics of this Bush administration are very concerned, as we’re talking about preventing terrorism abroad in the Middle East and the oppression and tyranny there, we’re still very vulnerable to terrorism here, and still have not, again, found the origins of the anthrax attack of October 2001.
MR. McCLELLAN: Okay, let me repeat — I would not try to draw conclusions yet on some of the current information that we have seen in the news, or the current matter relating to these Department of Defense facilities. [Blah-bitty-blah, need more tests, bla-blah.]
And the President will continue to make sure we are doing all we can to better protect the homeland, while also staying on the offensive abroad to prevent terrorist attacks from happening in the first place.
Q So does this show that there’s still a vulnerability to this type of attack, these latest incidents?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, these latest incidents are a matter that is still being looked into. There haven’t been any definitive results drawn, so I don’t think you can —
Q Whether there is a definitive result or not, does this still say we —
MR. McCLELLAN: You’re asking me to draw conclusions, and I don’t think I can draw conclusions until we see definitive results.
You don’t want to draw conclusions, Scottie? Then allow me.
More than three years after someone mailed anthrax all over the east coast, from Florida to Washington to New Jersey, while getting away as easily as say, Osama, the Bush assministration has done absolutely nothing to Protect the Fatherland.
Incompetence, thy name is Bush.