Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Well, Little Scottie crawled out from the rock he’s been hiding under for two-and-a-half weeks and gave a gaggle both yesterday and today.

Rumor is Chimpy actually has a plan.

Well, I’m not going to preview the speech today. I expect that we will do some more previewing tomorrow for the speech for Wednesday; today, we’re going to stay focused on immigration reform. But I think you can expect that the President — between now and the upcoming elections in Iraq, I think you can expect that the President will spend a good bit of time talking about our plan for victory in Iraq and talking about the different aspects of that. And one aspect of that is the training of Iraqi security forces.

Scottie provided another plan tease today.

In terms of tomorrow, it’s an important speech. It’s the first in a series of speeches that the President will be making between now and the December 15th elections about our plan for victory in Iraq. We are pursuing a comprehensive strategy to defeat the terrorists and those trying to prevent democracy from advancing in Iraq. And the President believes that the American people should have a clear understanding of our strategy. And that means how we see the enemy and how we define and achieve victory. So as part of the speech tomorrow, we are going to be releasing a document called the “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq.” It’s an unclassified version of the plan that we’ve been pursuing in Iraq, and it will be made available to the American people. I think we’ll also be posting it on our website, as well.

Fabulous, it’s going to be on their website.

Just what is this “plan”?

Q This document that’s coming out, can you just tell us a little bit more about what might be in that, that we haven’t seen before?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think just, generally, it’ll outline our strategy for victory in Iraq and talk about the three different elements within that strategy that I just mentioned. Beyond that, wait until it comes out.

An overwhelming majority of Americans want out troops out of Iraq, anything about that in “the plan”?

Q Is the President going to talk specific numbers, in terms of U.S. troop levels?

MR. McCLELLAN: What do you mean, “talk specific numbers”?

Q In recent days the Pentagon has said post-election, assuming everything goes okay, they’re going to draw down by –

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that’s an important point. I mean, we have increased our troop levels ahead of the elections to address concerns about an increase in violence that might come around at the time of the elections by those who are seeking to stop the advance of democracy in Iraq. And I think we’ve always expected that as we get by those elections and conditions on the ground change, that we’ll be able to reduce some of those numbers.

Q But he’s not going to go beyond that, talking about other units that will come home?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think he’ll talk about it in the way I described it. He’ll talk about it in terms of as the conditions on the ground permit and as the Iraqi forces are able to take control of more territory and the political process moves forward, then we’ll be able to lower the number of troops we have in Iraq. In 2006, I think, you know, the expectation is that conditions will be changing on the ground. We’ve been making real progress with the training of Iraqi security forces and that conditions will permit us to be able to reduce our presence.

But, again, it will always be based on conditions on the ground, and it will be based on what our commanders say. We will look to our commanders – and I think that’s one thing the President will emphasize in his remarks, that it’s our commanders who should be determining what our troop levels are in the country, and they make those decisions based on the conditions and circumstances on the ground and that those decisions should not be made by politicians in Washington.

So, “the plan” includes no plan for reducing our troop presence in Iraq.

Will “the plan” be any different from the Statement on Victory in Iraq your office released on November 19? Will it be any different from the “strategy” Chimpy outlined before the National Endowment for Democracy on October 6? Will “the plan” be any different from any of the previous plans the Bush Assministration has sought to outline?

Q Are we going to be shocked by anything in it? I mean, the President has outlined the strategy before, right?

MR. McCLELLAN: What’s that?

Q Are we going –

MR. McCLELLAN: I think one purpose of providing this document is so that the American people can have a clear sense of our strategy for success in Iraq, and so that they can see how we look at the enemy, the nature of the enemy that we’re facing and they can see how we define success in Iraq and how we are going about achieving victory in Iraq. And that’s an important thing for the American people to be able to look at and understand.

I’ll take that as a “no”.

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