Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

In today’s gaggle Pony Blow tries to diffuse the notion that Chimpy is an island.

Q The President is isolated in terms of the Iraqi policy and he seems to be among the few who thinks that this step, or any step can actually result in victory. I’m wondering where his mind-set is, how he arrived at this point in doing something that remains quite unpopular?

MR. SNOW: Again, I’m going to be able to give you a lot better answer — I would warn against the theme that the President is isolated, or even — if you go back, for instance, and you look at John Abizaid’s testimony in December, saying, well, properly done, yes, we could use more troops. I mean, there have been a number of different characterizations by members of the military.


Q I guess the challenge would be who besides the President thinks that the war is winnable at this stage?

MR. SNOW: I think millions of Americans believe that this war is winnable, and I think, furthermore, that it’s important to rebuild the sense of political unity. One of the things the President has often said is, the only way we lose if we lose our will.

Obsession continues…

No Exit Strategy

Q Tony, is the President going to discuss how we get out of Iraq?

MR. SNOW: Well, let me put it this way: If you take a look — ultimately, the goal is to have an Iraq that does, in fact, stand up for itself and assumes full responsibility for security for the economy, for the legal system, and so on. And at that point, an American presence would be superfluous, at least other than in an advisory capacity. That’s where you want to end up.

Q But will he define when we know that and how you —

MR. SNOW: Well, I think I’ll —

Q I mean, one of the things in the old plan is you stand up troops — you stand up Iraqi troops, you stand down. That seemed like you had benchmarks on when you can get out, even though it didn’t work. Will there be benchmarks on how the U.S. gets out of there?

MR. SNOW: As I said, I am going to remain vague on this until the President has done his announcement, and then we can go in and you can take a look and ask precise questions about precisely what he will propose.

Ixnay on the Ictoryvay

Q But the President will use the word “victory”?

MR. SNOW: Well, again, everybody keeps trying to get —

Q But he still wants victory?

MR. SNOW: Everybody keeps trying to get me —

Q Is that something he still strives for, victory or success?

MR. SNOW: — discuss —

Q But, Tony, you are calling it “the way forward.” That is what the White House is calling it.

MR. SNOW: Yes, that is correct.

The Last Stand of a Deperate President

Q Related to Peter’s question, in his mind, is this the final stand? In other words, this has to work or the U.S. has to begin a process of disengagement?

MR. SNOW: No, because the question there is one that seems to be token desperation: It’s the last chance. What the President understands is there’s a real sense of urgency within the United States for assurance that, number one, we have a plan for building an Iraq that is going to enhance our security, that is going to make us safer; number two, that is done in such a way that also is going to put the Iraqis in leading positions sooner rather than later. And, so, I’m afraid he takes a much more practical point of view when working through these issues, not, this is the last chance.


Q But there is a level of desperation, isn’t there, when a lot of people who have a hand in the policy — i.e., members of Congress or people within the administration — think it’s over, not just your political critics?

MR. SNOW: You know, it’s interesting — I’ve heard that used by a very small number of people and, yet, you ask the question, must we — you asked a couple of questions. Do you think, for instance, al Qaeda has given up on trying to do major operations in the United States? Do you think failure in Iraq would make al Qaeda more likely to strike the United States? Do you think if al Qaeda or other terror organizations had the opportunity to use Iraq as a launch pad that you’d be safer or less safe? And I think in each case people would say, oh, no, we’d be less safe.

So I think it’s important to realize that in the context of the broader war on terror, most people really do agree success — again, the letter sent by Speaker Pelosi and Leader Reid, both said, we want the Iraqi people to succeed.

The Message Sent November 7? Stay the Course!

Q The President, obviously, though, did not read what happened November 7th as a mandate to start bringing troops home.

MR. SNOW: The President believes that — if you take a look, Jim, at the elections, you can read any number of messages — I mean, when people were asked in exit interviews what was their top concern, Iraq was number four, corruption was number one. And guess what? You had 10 members of the Republican caucus who had problems, and they all lost. So you can read a lot of results. There is an understandable — people don’t want to be at war; we don’t want to be at war, the President doesn’t want to be at war. But the fact is you’ve got a situation where terrorists and a terror network is determined to try to do whatever it can to destabilize this country and other parts of the world —

Q But the President is comfortable, then, with saying to the American people, I saw what happened November 7th — actually, you’re upset about corruption?

MR. SNOW: No, I think, Jim, people would be a lot less upset if he didn’t take seriously his obligations as Commander-in-Chief.

8 thoughts on “Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

  1. In the words of the other inventor of the internet(Vernor Vinge) we are suffering ablative dissonance. We recognize the words being spoken, they are not quite jabberwocky, but there is no common sense of place from or in which, source, agent, cause, association, you know, that stuff.

  2. Note also his plan to appear in front of troops in Fort Bennning on the morning after his urge to surge speech.

  3. Evidently, facts on the ground don’t matter. It all comes down to Triumph of the Will. And by the way,Tony, who is “WE” considering that the vast majority of the population thinks the whole fiasco shouldn’t have been started in the first place and wants us out?

  4. I think a great follow-up to this:
    MR. SNOW: Do you think failure in Iraq would make al Qaeda more likely to strike the United States?
    Would be this:
    Me: Do you think “winning” in Iraq would make al Qaeda more likely to strike the United States? Seriously, after the Iraqis stand up and al Qaeda is forced out of Iraq, where do you think they will move on to? And will they be madder or less mad?

  5. unfortunately, georgie BELIEVES history will show that HE, mr. C- was right. and nothing anybody says will change that.

  6. I’m trying to parse that last answer of his into something like comprehensible English.
    The question is, did the President think that people were just upset about corruption in Congress?
    The answer, I think, is that people were upset because he took seriously his obligations as Commander in Chief. If they would be LESS upset if he took his obligations seriously, then they are more upset because he doesn’t take his obligations seriously.
    Is that actually what he’s trying to say, or is it meant to be gibberish that turns your brain into mush?

  7. This is getting way beyond Kabuki. I can’t imagine how any self respecting journalist can sit and listen to this cow manure day after day after day.

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