Pony opened today’s gaggle with a few announcements.
MR. SNOW: Just a couple of little announcements. Actually, you know what, I’ve already misplaced it — can somebody pull the First Lady piece for me?
Q What? (Laughter.)
MR. SNOW: It’s a piece of paper that regards the schedule of the First Lady — and I’m ashamed for all of you. (Laughter.)
Oh my. Let me assure you, Pony, nobody here wants to pull the FIrst Lady’s piece.
On to more serious subjects, just how fucking clueless are these people?
Q Do you think that the war has increased Hezbollah’s popularity in Lebanon and its influence in the Lebanese government?
MR. SNOW: I don’t want to speculate; don’t know. I have a feeling — it’s hard to imagine that treating people as human shields is going to be a winner in the long run; or that the idea of placing rockets in people’s homes, radar installations in civilian areas, and essentially holding civilian areas hostage to military operations is, in the long run, a winner. But I’m not conducting public opinion polls in Lebanon and can’t give you a scientific answer.
Damn, Pony, just watch to your own Fox News:
VAN SUSTEREN: Sir, tell me, what is your view of Hezbollah?
[Lebanon’s acting foreign minister, Tarek Mitri.]: You know, the war is not a war against Hezbollah. It’s a war that is destroying Lebanon. Hezbollah is both a political and military organization. And it was born during the period when Israel has occupied Lebanon. It was born in response to the Israeli occupation. It’s been radicalized through the years of occupation. And through the many wars Israel has launched against Lebanon. And the present war, which claims to want to weaken Hezbollah has contributed to increase in its popular support and has managed to destroy Lebanon. That is what is at stake now.
Q The Israeli operations near the Syrian border could very well be an attempt to provoke Syria to get involved in this conflict. Now, Syria has been pretty cool about this, not to get involved. But is there not a fear that this will again be extended if these operations —
MR. SNOW: It sounds to me like you’ve just made a Syrian argument against Israel, that the Syrians have been “cool” about it. Look, again, we are —
MR. SNOW: No, no, the way it’s framed, Helen, is extremely argumentative. I’ll tell you what. I think you ought to be asking questions of Israeli military tactics to the Israelis. At this point, we are working for peace. And let me just reiterate: The United States has been working aggressively on North Korea, we’ve had the resolution on Iran, we’ve had a resolution in the U.N. Security Council, both led by the United States. And the United States is taking a leading role in diplomatic efforts to move forward together in a coordinated way with regional and European allies to try to provide a semblance of democracy and security in Lebanon.
In Pony’s World, everyone loves America.
Q It’s no secret that much of the world dislikes the United States now, largely because of the Middle East situation. Do you see a change when this particular war is over, and do you think there will be more sympathy towards the United States as the 9/11 anniversary approaches?
MR. SNOW: First, I’m not sure I buy, Connie, they dislike us because of the Middle East situation. When tragedy happens, who is the first to respond? When a tsunami hits, the Americans are there first. When an earthquake hits, including in Iran, who is there first? The Americans. People understand that this is a nation that is committed to human rights and is also committed to the cause of compassion. Who was the first to commit money to humanitarian causes in Lebanon? It was the United States.
Q Tony, can I just follow on that? The President has taken pains to try to repair relations with Europe in the wake of the war in Iraq. Now we’re in a situation where the United States is standing strongly alongside Israel and is generating unease again in Europe. Is the President concerned that, in effect, he is getting himself back to where he started?
MR. SNOW: No, because I think your premise is wrong. Again, we’re working with the French right now on the same sheet of paper when it comes to what everybody said was an unbridgeable chasm with regard to Lebanon. We worked with our European allies at the G8 in Rome. We came up with unified statements on those. We have worked with our allies. When it came to Iran, we got a U.N. Security Council resolution. We worked with people in the Middle — I mean, in the Far East on a North Korean resolution.
And finally, in Your Daily Les, it sounds like Kinsolving straightened Pony out on the name thing (take note, BuggyQ).
MR. SNOW: Yes, Les.
Q One question.
MR. SNOW: You promise? The nom de guerre is not “Lester,” everybody. It’s, “Les.”
Then Les blows his question.
Q Thank you. Last Friday, a Muslim American denouncing Jews and Israel took a 13-year-old girl hostage at the Jewish Federation Center in Seattle and shot six women, one of them dead. Yet, the FBI and other law enforcement authorities refuse to call this terrorism. The President says we’re in a war on terrorism. Can you or the President better define terrorism so the American people can understand just who or what it is we are fighting?
MR. SNOW: Les, I hate to use the murder of innocents as an attempt to make a debating point about terror. And I’m not going to do it.
Sorry, Les, the alleged Seattle assassin is a born-again Christain American.