Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Today Pony got sic and, being the shiftless coward he is, blamed Helen for it.

Q What’s the difference in terms of the pressure the White House feels that it’s under to resolve the issues in North Korea and Iran, versus the pressure in 2002 during the State of the Union, when the President talked about the need to go to war in Iraq?

MR. SNOW: Well, what’s happened — I’m not sure that you feel pressure, except in the case of Iran [sic] you had a nation that had already spurned 17 separate United Nations resolutions, the United Nations Security Council voting 15-0 on a resolution, saying to Iran [sic], cooperate or face serious consequences. You had — I believe it was 72 votes in the United States Senate. So the point here is that —

Q Were you just talking about Iran, or Iraq?

MR. SNOW: Well, you were just asking about Iraq, right?

Q Yes. I thought you said, Iran. Okay.

MR. SNOW: You know, I may have screwed up. I meant Iraq. Helen has got me so befuddled today. (Laughter.) The point is that —

Q The resolutions never said, “war.”

MR. SNOW: Thank you. The point is that there had been longstanding diplomatic efforts to try to get Saddam Hussein to make good on his promises. We don’t want to go to war. I mean, that should be obvious to everybody. But on the other hand, it is also absolutely important for the North Koreans to stop engaging in this kind of provocative behavior, not only for their good, but for the good of their people.

What civil war?

Q A couple of questions on Iraq. A weekend of violence again that’s raised the specter of civil war there. Does the U.S. recognize this as a threat? And what, if anything, will they do, will the U.S. do to stop that trend?

MR. SNOW: Well, we went through this. This is a kind of a nice conventional wisdom story. But I’m — we’re still trying to figure out what the figures are over the weekend. There have been news stories that have gone from 11 to 50 in terms of the number of killings. It is obvious that there are people in Iraq who are trying to make the government fail, who do not want to see democracy succeed.

But I would also put you — direct you to comments made today by Major General Thomas Turner who gave an interview, pointed out that in a number of other places in Iraq, especially in the north, where you had similar concerns not so long ago, suddenly people are more worried about economic development than security.

They don’t do plans.

Q Can I just follow up on that? Is there a plan to move these [Guantanamo] detainees or do anything else with them, other than keep them in a holding pattern while Congress is deliberating?

MR. SNOW: Where would you move them?

Q I don’t know; I don’t know what your plan is.

Shout out to Les!

Q I don’t know if you saw Congressman Hoekstra’s comments over the weekend, but is the administration doing enough to brief Congress about secret programs?

MR. SNOW: You know, what’s interesting is, Congressman Hoekstra, in the same thing, said that he’s satisfied with the briefing now. I think there was a case in which the Congressman was unhappy about not being briefed. We have made it our view that they should always be briefed when appropriate, and there was a case where he thought that they should have been informed. And so, again, I think what you see — quite often there are conflicts between Capitol Hill and the White House, as you know, and we’ve been working with Congressman Hoekstra, and furthermore, again, reading deeper into his answers, he seems satisfied with the steps that subsequently have been taken.

Q Why did a whistle-blower have to finally alert them, and will he be tried for treason?

MR. SNOW: That’s almost a Lester question.