Today Pony Blow opened with a stunningly stupid statement (so what else is new).
As you know, the global war on terror is a struggle against terrorists who are threatening the entire civilized world.
The ENTIRE civilized world. Yeah, right.
Next up, the Iraqi’s have already missed several “benchmarks”. Pony sez give ’em more time, then “hope that we’ll be able to report success.”
Q Tony, the President said in his speech on the 10th that America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced. How do you follow through on that pledge if Iraq is not meeting its own target dates for certain pieces of legislation, they’re not supplying troops into Baghdad at the numbers that were expected? What does the White House do to follow through?
MR. SNOW: I think the most important thing to do is to keep in mind what is, in fact, going on. For instance, yesterday, I think the Prime Minister stood up before everybody and said, “I call on you quickly to finish the preparations so we don’t disappoint people.” He also made the point that either we win or — “Either we all win or we all lose. The whole world is watching us and expecting us to win.”
I think at this point, to try to start rendering summary judgment at the very beginning of an effort by the Iraqis not only to deal with matters of legislation, but also economic development and getting forces on the ground, and for that matter, getting their headquarters and command stood up, is a little premature. The other thing we’ve said is if it takes a couple extra days or weeks at one end or another, we’re going to understand that.
But as we’ve said all along, over time, within the next couple of months, we’ll be able to get a firmer sense of how the Iraqis are doing and how the plan is proceeding.
Q What will happen then?
MR. SNOW: Well, we hope that we’ll be able to report success.
Q But even that drawn-own process doesn’t do much to address the lack of security for the people who are needed to rebuild Iraq in places outside the Green Zone. And as you know, there’s difficulty getting those people to go there.
MR. SNOW: Yes, there is, absolutely. We’re in the process right now of working on building up the provisional reconstruction teams. The State Department pretty much has its commitments now made. Their team leader positions are pretty much filled.
Terrorists R Us
Q Tony, are you concerned about these reports that a member of the Iraqi parliament, Dawa party member, ruling coalition, appears to be the same guy that was convicted of those embassy bombings back in ’93?
MR. SNOW: Well, again, the one thing we’ve made clear with the Iraqi government, and the Prime Minister has made clear, is that you have a situation now where you have a government that’s committed to peace. And people who are operating outside the law committing acts of violence, you’re going to need to deal with them. But I’m not going to render judgment on the story.
Hey, Chimpy is the Environmental President!
Q Tony, I’m curious about this Centennial Parks Initiative. This is a time of very tight budget constraints; even programs like Children’s Health Insurance got only the smallest of increases. I’m wondering what brought on this sort of sudden bout of conservationism and a big increase for parks.
MR. SNOW: Sheryl, you haven’t been watching. You’re talking about a $1-billion federal increase with a $1-billion matching grant. By the way, your characterization of CHIPS, the budget right now is $5 billion. It’s going to be increased by — we’re putting $4.8 billion into it over the next five years.
Q — talking about the parks —
MR. SNOW: No, the first thing we’ve got to do is to talk about the assumption of the question, because it was an argumentative assumption that I think is worth at least trying to pick apart, as well.
The President has been committed to conservationism since the beginning of this administration.
There’s been a lot of misreporting, or perhaps it just hasn’t — perhaps folks have not taken notice of the fact that this is an administration that’s been keenly committed, both to environmentalism and conservationism from the start. This is important — this is also a plan to work on the national parks over a 10-year period. So what we’re talking about is $1 billion over 10 years for the centennial of the U.S. Park Service, which will — it seems to me that that’s a pretty reasonable down payment.
Q Well, you raise that point about reporting on the President’s environmental record. People are starting to say, is George Bush waking up to the environment?
MR. SNOW: Well, the fact is — actually, the question is, are reporters waking up to his five-year record? The answer is, the long national slumber may be approaching an end.
The man who pulled us out of the Kyoto Accords was hip to global warming five years ago!
Q I had a couple questions on — the first being a response to what you just said a moment ago. Are you saying, then, in terms of the President’s position on greenhouse gas emissions, that five years ago you said with 90 percent certainty — contributes to greenhouse gases —
MR. SNOW: What you’re talking about is having the President, five years before the fact, read out something that was in a draft report in the year 2007 at the International Panel on Climate Change. What he said was that global warming exists and humans are significant contributors. That’s what he said.
Q I just want to make clear something about 2001. Wasn’t this President’s position then that, yes, he acknowledged there is global warming, but there’s too much scientific uncertainty as far as how much of it was human-generated?
MR. SNOW: Well, again, go back to the statement. He talked about — there was a certain amount of uncertainty about the percentage that is human-generated, and there continues to be controversy in scientific circles. But what the President said right then and there was that human behavior was a significant contributor. I don’t know how to make you happy. When he says exactly what you’ve been wanting him to say, it turns out he’s been saying it actually over a six-year period, I think you’d say, okay, I need to give him credit. And instead what you’re saying is, well, golly, didn’t he say what the IPCC said in 2007? I mean, come on, give us a break here.
Q — on global warming, do you have any reaction to some apparent comments by Al Gore in Spain in an interview, where he suggested that the administration is paying scientists to dispute the global warming findings —
MR. SNOW: The reported remarks by the Vice President that the United States — that the government is going out and paying money to those who dispute climate change research is just breathtakingly silly. I think maybe what he’s done is he’s mixed up a story about a think tank in Washington with government policy.