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September 28, 2006

Last Line Of Defense


Under aggressive questioning, Snow appeared to struggle at times, parsing the [National Intelligence Estimate's] language and – grasping for a proper interpretation – frequently simply reading it to reporters.  –IHT (Link).  9/28/06

So, the fish stinks from the head.  Update:  5:26 EST.  Looking back at this, I realize my comment was completely obscure.  I just found the photo — and the press conference — particularly telling.  Having no comeback for the document, it sounded like the White House parsing what “is” means.  Beyond that, it seemed somehow fitting that a President who reads most of what he says has now reduced his once-glib press secretary to the same constraint.

(image: Ron Edmonds/AP.  September 27, 2006.  Washington.  Via YahooNews)

  • black dog barking

    The lede from the link —
    The White House battled Wednesday to quell Democratic criticism of the administration’s Iraq policy following a report by the U.S. intelligence community that the war had become a “cause célèbre for jihadists,” breeding deep resentment in the Muslim world and contributing to a spreading threat of terrorism
    As long as they can frame this failure as a partisan issue the Rove/Cheney White House can probably ride it out. A little bullshit here, a nondenial denial there, a scoop of jingo, liberal parsing and this report will be rotting beside the Downing Street Memos. The consequences of our failure in Iraq will be paid in full by every American — Democratic, Republican, agnostic.

  • Aunt Deb

    If the criticism were coming only from Democrats, you might be right, bdb. But it isn’t.

  • Doctor Jay

    Is it just me, or does that photo make Snow look like a Hanna-Barbera character? You know, the elongated head, and the lower jaw that is the only part that moves when the character talks.

  • Neal

    We screwed up so badly that we have no choice but to continue doing the same screwed up thing over and over until…
    Until when?

  • MonsieurGonzo

    LONDON : “…a document compiled by a senior [British] military officer also suggested military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan were heading toward an “as yet unspecified and uncertain result…”
    understanding BritWit understatement: “The British have reacted to the recent terrorism alerts by raising their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.”
    Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” Londoners have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940, when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to a “Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level, was during the great fire of London in 1666.

    [the British document] “painted a bleak picture of military and counterterrorism work, similar to a U.S. NIE intelligence assessment — parts of which were declassified Tuesday — which warned of a growing terrorist threat and concluded Iraq has become a “cause celebre” for jihadists….
    British military commanders were overruled by politicians in a request to withdraw troops from Iraq to strengthen force numbers in Afghanistan, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported Wednesday. British troops are being “held hostage in Iraq following the failure of the deal being attempted by the COS (Chief of Staff) to extricate UK Armed Forces from Iraq on the basis of doing Afghanistan,” the BBC quoted the document as saying.”

    “…held hostage in IRAQ”
    The British Document differs, thus from the American “NIE” report in that it says: British Armies and their military commanders are being held hostage by Political Leaders in London and Washington ~ rather than “hostages” of hostile forces that besiege them in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    helplessness” is expressed not by the British Electorate, but by the British Officer Corps!

  • MonsieurGonzo

    missing link to BBC report, referred to by AP NewsWire, then echo’d by The International Herald Tribune; hyperlink to was buried on down Raimondo’s blog.

  • PTate in Mn

    I have some sympathy for Tony Snow. How can a Press Secretary put a positive spin on the NIE report?

  • Annoying Old Guy

    By noting it makes no mention of the Israeli / Palestine issue, thereby proving that is no longer a concern with regards to terrorism or our Middle East policy? That would seem like a major foreign policy accomplishment that has eluded every previous administration. Or that it exonerates the Saudi Entity in the same way, so any White House / Saud relationship has a complete clean bill of health. Or that the sudden faith in NIE documents shows that Ba’athist Iraq did have WMD, because a previous NIE said so. I knew Snow shouldn’t have blown off chatting with me this week as he handed me my check.

  • Rafael

    I’m going to agree with you, only in that yes, it is that convoluted.

  • Rafael

    Added Note:
    The NIE that said that Iraq had WMD was supposed to be loaded with caveats and clarifications, but those where thrown by the way side in the rush to go to war.

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