Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle

Is this believable? The Assministration orders military officials in Bagdad to hold a briefing on Iranian arms in Iraq andPony Blow claimsno one in the White House has any idea what those officials actually said.

Q Have you been able to reconstruct the transcript of the briefing in Baghdad on Sunday?

MR. SNOW: No, but I think the general purpose of the briefing in Baghdad was to outline Iranian activities in terms of supplying weaponry, or weaponry that had made its way from Iran into Iraq that had been used to kill coalition forces, among others.

One of the most prominent parts of the briefing were the EFPs, the explosively formed projectiles, which are a new form of IED. And so that’s basically what was laid out at the briefing. I have not been able — we’re still working on trying to come up with some sort of rendering so that we can find out precisely what the briefer said.

Q Why wouldn’t you offer a transcript?

MR. SNOW: Because it wasn’t transcribed at the time. People are looking for a tape to see if they can rebuild it just for you guys.

Ha! Bitten In The Ass By Faith-Based Diplomacy

Q There seems to be some conservative push back, I guess, about the North Korea deal. Wall Street Journal editorial page called it the “faith-based nonproliferation.” What’s your sense about that?

MR. SNOW: Our sense is that as people become more familiar, they’re going to become more confident in what we’ve done. What we have done is put together an agreement that in fact is not faith-based, it’s performance-based. And that’s the most important thing to understand.


Q I guess the faith is being placed in Kim Jong-il, as I guess the school of thought, or school of criticism goes. So you do have a wildcard there, don’t you?

MR. SNOW: Well, of course.

Jefferson Davis Tried To Kill Abe Lincoln’s Daddy!

Q Slides from a pre-war briefing show that by this point, the U.S. expected that the Iraqi army would be able to stabilize the country and there would be as few as 5,000 U.S. troops there. What went wrong?

MR. SNOW: I’m not sure anything went wrong. At the beginning of the Civil War, people thought it would all be over at Manassas. It is very difficult — no, Jessica, the fact is, a war is a big, complex thing. And what you’re talking about is a 2002 assessment. We’re now in the year 2007, and it is well-known by anybody who has studied any war that war plans immediately become moot upon the first contact with the enemy.

But Now — Now Their War-time Assesments Are Spot-On

Q Is the President being equally unrealistic about his current assessments of Iraq and Afghanistan?

MR. SNOW: No. And the President is also not making a five-year assessment. What he’s talking about is a highly specific plan that deals with Baghdad security, it deals with Anbar, Diyala, and a little bit up north. It is being done not only with military planners, but in concert with the Iraqis.


Nobody is going to promise that you’re going to have a specified result within a period of weeks or months, but you have to make your best guess about what is required to achieve success.

Watch Out, Goyal – Criticize Dear Leader at Your Peril

Q Tony, going back to President’s global war on terrorism. Today and yesterday he was speaking about that. As far as these two leaders are concerned from Pakistan and Afghanistan, they were here at the White House on the invitation of the President, and he told both of them to work together, especially President General Musharraf, that you have to stop and help Afghanistan, and this leader, to succeed democracy in Afghanistan. And today the situation is same. Afghanistan’s President complained then and now the same situation. As far as General Musharraf is concerned, he’s not very popular at home, and many people in Pakistan believe that those attacks on or against him were creation to get U.S. sympathy and money, which he has not helped the U.S. in this war. So does the President trust him?

MR. SNOW: Goyal, you have just given a sermon against President Musharraf.

Q Not against him.

MR. SNOW: Yes, it is —

Q He’s my friend, I know him personally, and he has —

MR. SNOW: Let me put it this way: I can’t respond — you’ve now concocted a theory where there are fake attacks on him, and I can’t help you out.

Q But does the President trust him today? Are the two leaders, as far as global war on terrorism —

MR. SNOW: The President understands that the two leaders sometimes clash, but on the other hand, they’ve got a common interest in dealing with the problem of terror in the region. and they’re going to continue to — they’re gong to work together. There are going to be some challenges in the bilateral relationship, but in the end, having a large and vigorous terror network is in the interests of neither.

When The Taliban Crosses From Pakistan Into Afghanistan And Attacks US Forces Musharraf Is Blameless. Offer Not Valid In Iran.

Q Well the President indicated, he said it doesn’t matter who — where they’re getting a call from, saying, go ahead — whether that’s from the government or somebody else. I mean, doesn’t it make a difference? I mean, isn’t that of interest whether or not the government is involved? Or is it indifferent for the President, he will act the way he feels —

MR. SNOW: Certainly it’s of interest. But on the other hand, on the ground, the most practical thing you’re dealing with here is who’s coming across the border? Ultimately, you’ve got to figure out not who signed the paper, but who’s in the car and who’s got the bombs, and where do you stop them, and who’s got the tail pieces for the mortars, and who’s got the mortars, and who has the other ordnance, and where are they coming from, and where are the safe houses. Those are the practical questions that our military commanders are dealing with.

5 thoughts on “Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle

  1. Nora,
    How to word this: your logic sounds good. Does it make any sense that we do this? None at all. But your comparison is apt.
    The question I want answered is that as Iran is Sunni and the big bombs and problems are Shia, why don’t we turn our attention to to much greater stockpile of weapons provided by the Shia countries. I am very ignorant of the middle east and even I know the difference.
    Shia/ Sunni; Tomato / Tomato; Potato / Potato – Let’s call the whole thing off.

  2. “rebuild it just for you guys” – not because it was important or anything. It’s was all just cas- no big whoop.

  3. “At the beginning of the Civil War, people thought it would all be over at Manassas.” How true, Tony, and a very apt analogy of a good lesson in histroy about the stark realism of war. Many of the Washington elite wanted to see this battle and were picnicing on a field to “view” the glorious spectacle of war, and as the routed Union troops beat a hasty retreat, the picnic turned to horror. Kind of like some who thought about the Iraq war. Those who learn nothing from history, are doomed to repeat it.

  4. I guess the difference between Pakistan’s interference in Afghanistan (and you should read Sara Chayes’ book, The Punishment of Virtue, to get an idea of how long Pakistan’s been messing around in Afghanistan) and Iran’s interference in Iraq is that Pakistan is our ally, supposedly, and Iran isn’t. Our allies can screw us seven ways to Sunday (cf. Saudi Arabia), and we smile and take it, but if our non-allies do anything we don’t like (even things we let our allies get away with), they’d better watch out or we’ll invade them.
    Does that make any sense?

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