Joining me this afternoon to discuss the facts on the ground in Iraq was was Paul Mirengoff at Powerline, Lorrie Byrd over at Wizbang , NZ Bear Truth Laid Bear Ben from The Hill, Fausta, National Review, Tom Bevan over at Real Clear Politics, Rob over at Red State, Brian Weekly Standard for all.
Clearly the biggest problem the White House faces is communicating to the American people the advances and headway we are making in Iraq despite a mainstream media aligned with the terrorist force. But Snow made it clear we were in it to win and that was a mighty great thing to hear.
Listen to the audio here (run time 40 minutes): Download tonysnow712.mp3
The White House received the interim report looking at the state of affairs in Iraq."The whole purpose of the surge on the military side is to create enough stability and security so that there will be maneuvering room for the Iraqi government to be able to deal with sectarian tensions and regional tensions so that they can get about the business of doing political reconciliation and accommodation and passing a whole series of laws that not only going to build confidence but capability in the Iraqi government. But the military piece comes first....... Once you've done that you have the prospect of doing political success.
"Today's report indicates that the has been significant progress on the military front.
Military piece comes from first, you have got to go after the source of violence and military instability................. In this particular surge Political progress is not the leading indicator it is the lagging indicator............. today's report indicates that the has been significant progress on the military front..3 brigades into Baghdad. Significant decreases in violence............ Fairly remarkable turnaround in Anbar." Tribal chiefs had to make a choice - alqaeda or the allied forces. And so al qaeda has suffered significant damage.
"The purpose of benchmarks is not to find some political reason for leaving Iraq it is trying to come up with a framework for seceding in Iraq." Today the good news is on the security front there is significant progress, on the political front it's a mixed bag."
On the economic side, the Iraqis are stepping up..........
Ward asks, why is the motivation for Republicans that are defecting. Is it a framework for re-election. Tony was not going to try to interpret the motives of members of Congress.
Snow: "What is necessary in the next few months is a surge of facts ." (Yeah that's me in the background going yay!) A surge of true events on what is going on in Iraq today.
Snow: We will present good news and bad news but all that's been presented is bad news , it's a miracle that anybody supports the war based on the characterizations have been painted."
There's some real evil going on there. Americans need to get a sense of the kind of evil going on there. Humiliating Arabs and Muslims ...........slaughtering men women and children." Michael Yon's work bears hat out.
The concern is getting the word out to the American people so I asked why they didn't have bloggers at the White House press conferences and help to build this alternative highway to new media. In short, Snow said, because there are exactly 49 seats in the White House press room and the people that have those seats paid two million dollars for them. NEXT!
Tony Snow was emphatic that bloggers were very important in this fight. I followed up the question asking why the war was positioned as a separate issue when in fact it was very much a piece of the war on the global jihad.
He said, we need to plant a seed of freedom, it can have a profound effect. If we leave, al qaeda moves right in and has access to Iraq's wealth. It immediately becomes a destabilizing factor in the region. Surrounding nations will recalibrate their security plans ...... probably minimizing Americans role and maximizing dealing with al qaeda and iran. That is not good. Then it starts to emanate outward to Afghanistan, Pakistan ..........India. The thought that you walk away and the world suddenly becomes peaceful is wrong.
Snow said the only image Americans have of the war are caskets or people getting shot on the street.
Iraqis are taking 3 to 4 amount of casualties are we are.
Wizbang discussed politicians hedging and
Tom RCP - political poll on the party.
I did ask if the Navy pulling back in Persian Gulf emboldened Iran and decreased the pressure on them to stop interfering (and killing our soldiers.). He stated emphatically now, that "there were other means to pressuring Iran" but he was not at liberty to say.
I also asked him why Al Sadr was still alive (which met with knowing laughter) and Snow said we do not engage in assassinations. (If Al Sadr doesn't deserve a bullt, then who in my humble estimatiion.)
There's a lot to listen to, download it.
UPDATE: House Republicans remained united on the Iraq vote today – with MORE Democrats voting against than Republicans voting FOR.
Even Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) admitted that the Democrats’ bill was a political charade, telling reporters yesterday that Democrats had to bring the bill to the floor to pacify antiwar groups: “If we don't do anything, these groups will feel like we haven't done anything.
Several key facts:
- The bill passed by a vote of 223-201.
- More Democrats voted AGAINST the bill than Republicans voted FOR it.
- 10 Democrats voted against the measure; just 4 Republicans voted for it.
5 of the Democrats who voted against the bill are from Chairman Skelton’s own committee – the House Armed Services Committee (Reps. Boren, Ellsworth, Marshall, and two subcommittee chairs, Reps. Snyder & Taylor)
Full vote breakdown at this link: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/roll425.xml
FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 624
(Democrats in roman; Republicans in italic; Independents underlined)
H R 2956 YEA-AND-NAY 12-Jul-2007 6:13 PM
QUESTION: On Passage
BILL TITLE: Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act
---- YEAS 223 ---
---- NAYS 201 ---
---- NOT VOTING 8 ---