I don’t usually obsess on Little Scottie’s opening statement, but the following lines from this mornings gaggle stuck in my craw.
And then following the event, the President will be meeting with two families of fallen soldiers. One is the family of an Army sergeant who recently made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq; and then the other is the family of a Marine who made the ultimate sacrifice a couple of years ago in Iraq.
Scottie can’t say “dead”, but instead uses “fallen”. He can’t say “died” or “killed”, he says “made the ultimate sacrifice”. Does he carry around a little black book full of euphemisms that he uses when he has to talk about Dear Leader sending 2,300 Americans to a pointless and bloody death?
Now watch in wonder as Scottie does his best to spin away Chimpy’s major boner from yesterday’s press conference.
Q Is he going to re-visit the issue yesterday about future Presidents will decide when U.S. troops leave Iraq?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we’ll see what questions he gets. I don’t know if you have a specific question on it. I mean, I saw some of the coverage I think put it in the full context of the question he was asked. I think some of the coverage also seemed to leave the impression with readers or viewers that the President was saying that there will be large or significant numbers of troops in Iraq after he leaves office, and that’s not what the question was. The question was will there be zero — when will there be zero or no American troops in Iraq. So he was referring to that specific question.
And he also made the point very clear that decisions about troop levels will be made by our commanders on the ground, who will make those decisions based on the conditions on the ground. The President is focused on victory. And as we move forward towards victory, and training and equipping the Iraqi security forces and moving forward on the political process, which is part of winning in Iraq, then we will continue to make decisions about troop levels, based on that progress.
And General Casey just the other day on the Sunday shows was asked about the troop levels and in the conversations with General Casey, he discussed how we’re already moving down from 138,000 to around 130,000 troops, we’re already in the process of doing that based on the recommendations of the commanders. And General Casey, in response to questions, said that he expected we’d continue to see reductions in troop levels over the course of 2006 and into 2007. And the reason why is — but he also said that that would be evaluated based on the conditions on the ground. So I think it’s always important to keep that in mind.
I think the reason he was expressing that was because the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces is going well. They are continuing to take more of the lead in the fight; they’re continuing to control more battle space. You heard the President the other day talk about how we want to see a majority of the battle space being controlled by Iraqi forces by the end of the year. And the United States and coalition forces are continuing to play more of a supporting role and helping the Iraqi forces who are in the lead. And that enables us to also focus on going after the terrorists who continue to seek to try to derail the transition to democracy.
So I appreciate you bringing that question up, but we’ll see what questions come up today for the President. But I think he’s always been very clear in his view that troop levels are going to be based on the recommendations of the commanders who will look at conditions on the ground.