Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
A blogger call with Tony Snow concerning the Iraq Supplemental Veto (update)
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, May 01, 2007

OK, now I can say I threw questions at the President's spokesman and he answered them.

What a country!

Seriously, a very interesting and rewarding half hour or so. I was invited on a blogger conference call with Tony Snow and Brett McGurk (of the NSC) and along with quite a few others was able to ask questions of Mr. Snow and get some very good responses.

Naturally he began with a statement about the upcoming Presidential veto for Iraq supplemental funding bill passed by Congress and delivered today.

The reasons shouldn't come as any particular surprise. The primary problem are the timelines. They handcuff the generals who are running the operations in Iraq. They also substitute the uninformed opinions of Congress members for those of military commanders on the ground. And, of course, it sends the wrong signals - both to our allies and our enemies. Last but not least, there is a tremendous amount of "domestic spending", as it was delicately called - pork for the rest of us - that doesn't belong in that bill.

Also mentioned, at some length, is the damage the debate is doing to our credibility within the region. As mentioned yesterday, the only positive to come out of it is the pressure it has put on the Iraqi government to speed up the process. That point has now been made.

This bill is not supported by the Iraqi government, military or police. Nor is it supported by the Saudi, Egyptian or Jordanian governments (our allies in the area). The ISG specifically warned against timetables and the NIE pointed out that early withdrawal would be a disaster. Yet the Democrats continue to push it.

Obviously, this debate is not without consequences both at home and abroad. Unsurprisingly, those supporting the Democratic position are al Sadr, Iran and Syria. In fact, per Brett McGurk, al Sadr has recently spoken out asking why President Bush won't listen to the Democrats.

The point, and it is one that I've made repeatedly, is that the debate - while satisfying to those engaged in it - ends up showing us as a divided and weak country. In that region especially, divided and weak countries are treated with disrespect. United, determined and purposeful countries are treated with respect. What this debate is keeping alive is the perception of the "weak horse" that bin Laden and his ilk have so successfully used to recruit followers and with which they keep hope alive for their movement.

As General Petreaus pointed out, the way you defeat an insurgency is to remove it's hope for victory. This bill does anything but that.

Essentially, we have a choice: Follow the advice of the Democrats and fulfill bin Laden's "you can't count on America" line of rhetoric, or engage in winning in Iraq and definitively refute the terrorist doctrine that says "make him bleed over time and he'll eventually leave". As Mr. Snow mentioned, different audiences are listening to this debate and they're all in the process of drawing their own conclusions.

The bill will be vetoed tonight at about 6pm with a statement from the White House following. Tomorrow the veto will be transmitted to Congress which will then vote in an attempt to overturn it. It will be sustained. Tomorrow afternoon, Congressional leaders will meet with the President in an attempt to iron out a bill that he can sign.

I asked Tony Snow if there was room for compromise, citing the story I'd read which said that perhaps benchmarks for the Iraqi government would be acceptable if the timelines were dropped. He said that while there was certainly room for compromise, he wasn't going to tip the President's hand. He said it is really up to the Democrats to lay out their new position before the White House will respond.

As expected, Tony had a lot of great things to say about our soldiers. One that struck me was "they bring us back to the roots of our greatness". I agree. And they're committed to winning in Iraq, even if others in this country are not.

Anyway, it was a great personal experience for me to be able to ask a few questions to the President's spokesman. It's not something you get to do everyday. It was also great to welcome him back. He is exactly as you see him at the podium. Humorous, affable, positive and bright. I wouldn't want his job, but frankly I've always been impressed with the job he's done and the manner in which he's conducted himself.

UPDATE: As a message to the Democrats who so like to say they represent the will of the American people (and do so by spouting poll numbers about Iraq), a CBS poll which specifically references the supplemental bill, the veto and what is wanted after the veto:
SHOULD U.S. SET TIMETABLE FOR IRAQ WITHDRAWAL IN 2008?

64% - Yes
32% - No

IF BUSH VETOES FUNDING-TIMETABLE BILL, DEMOCRATS SHOULD…

56% - Fund war anyway
36% - Withhold funding until Bush sets timetable
UPDATE II: John Hawkins on the call. And Rob Bluey. Brian Faughnan from The Weekly Standard. Fausta's blog.

UPDATE III: Bush has vetoed the Iraq Supplemental Spending bill sent to him by Congress today:
"I look forward to working with members of both parties to get a bill that doesn't set artificial timetables and doesn't micromanage and gets the money to our troops," he said Monday during an appearance with European Union leaders. "I believe there's a lot of Democrats that understand that we need to get the money to the troops as soon as possible."

Bush has invited congressional leaders to the White House on Wednesday to discuss a compromise.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
I’ve never wanted to be you so much in my life...

You lucky, lucky bastard...

You expressed our delight at his return, and other such sentiments, right?
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
You expressed our delight at his return, and other such sentiments, right?
He was welcomed back with every question asked.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
It’s actually Brett McGurk — a good friend of mine, and a very, very good conservative. Easily the best writer I’ve ever met. He took a year’s leave of absence from my firm to help write the Iraqi Constitution. Great guy.
 
Written By: Sean
URL: http://www.myelectionanalysis.com
http://www.whitehouse.gov/government/mcgurk-bio.html
 
Written By: Sean
URL: http://www.myelectionanalysis.com
It’s actually Brett McGurk...
Corrected, thanks. I should have put (phonetic) beside it to begin with (thankfully no trouble spelling "Tony Snow".

McGurk was impressive. Very bright guy. Lent some important insight as to what was going on in Iraq and the region politically.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
The point, and it is one that I’ve made repeatedly, is that the debate - while satisfying to those engaged in it - ends up showing us as a divided and weak country.
We are divided. That’s not likely to change. The moment anyone tells us that we can’t fight politically for what we believe and say what we want to say about policy, especially important policies such as military engagement, that is the moment we will be sacrificing the freedoms that define America. To shut up now would be to give the terrorists a victory, saying to them that they can make us not be the kind of country we are.

Of course, the real point is that the policy has divided us because it’s a bad policy and most are convinced it is either failing or has failed. To tell Congress and other Americans that they have to stick to a policy just because the President has chosen it, even if we think it is failing and/or immoral would be the kind of thing you’d expect in a dictatorship.

The President’s policies have divided us and dramatically weakened us on the world stage. We’ve spent half a trillion on Iraq, our military is overstretched, and reforms in the Mideast have gone backwards. Our geopolitical position is worse, we are no longer the "unipolar" power, and our alliances not as effective.

Divided and weak? It does seem that the President’s policies have rendered that result.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
and HOW long has it taken for the Dems to get the fundinf bill onto the President’s desk?

No... That doesn’t weaken the military at ALL...

Idiot.
To tell Congress and other Americans that they have to stick to a policy just because the President has chosen it, even if we think it is failing and/or immoral would be the kind of thing you’d expect in a dictatorship.
If this were anything even remotely like a dictatorship, you and your ilk would have been shot in the head years ago...

It’s not like what you people have to say in being supressed...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
To shut up now would be to give the terrorists a victory, saying to them that they can make us not be the kind of country we are.
Looks like loose-loose, then; when the left talks the terrorists win, if we shut the left up the terrorists win.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Then can I have the terrorists winning scenario that gets the Libs to shut the hell up?

If we’re doomed to fail anyways, I could do without their idiocy...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Bush has vetoed the Iraq Supplemental Spending bill sent to him by Congress today:
Biden responds: "The idea that we’re not building new Humvees with the V-shaped things is just crap. Kids are dying that don’t have to die. Second thing is, we’re going to shove it down his throat."
And this guy wants to be President?
Can he count votes?
Does he know how they override a veto in Congress?

I was hoping he’d elaborate on the "V-shaped things", but of course he didn’t.
Too bad, I was ready for a man who can get into details like the need for more
"V-Shaped things".


 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
If you don’t know what they are, I assume he is talking about the under-body armor which helps deflect the blast of an IED. It is v-shaped.

Of course, what the Army really needs is a better, armored patrol vehicle, not bastardized up-armored (what are they on gen-VI?) light patrol vehicles.

And if there weren’t so many rules for procurement the Army would probably have such a vehicle by now.

Let’s see, the President asked 12 weeks ago for this spending bill. And it only got to his desk TODAY.

Great showcase of the Democrats priorities. Now I expect several more weeks of wrangling as the Democratic leadership try to get all the other Democrats to fall in line with another weak bill.

Or they could surprise us and work with Republicans and get a bill that funds the troops, doesn’t have a lot of unrelated pork, and doesn’t tie troop commanders hands.

And pigs could fly I suppose...
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
"Divided and weak? It does seem that the President’s policies have rendered that result."

I don’t know where to start. Normally, Erb, your comments have some legitimacy to them, some measure of thought behind them. You have stretched it a bit and on more than one occasion I and others have called you on it. And to your credit, you have taken the criticism with good grace. But in this case you have surrendered to the Liberal Narrative hook, line, and sinker!

Show me one case where the President has not made an honest effort inviting consultation from the opposition for this war. Eighteeen months ago, no less than 15 democrats were calling for a surge - Biden included. Less than eight months ago, the Iraq Study Group agreed with the President regarding the problems of setting arbitrary timetables.

Divided and Weak - You are right. But if you want to point fingers, look no further than the Democratic Party. Divided and Weak? Their actions are not an example I would use to define the term loyal opposition. Their actions have divided this country. And now Biden, one of those Democratic Stalwarts calling for a surge 18 months ago is now stating how he will lead the Democratic charge to make Bush eat his veto.

I am not going to defend the Administration’s mistakes in this war. But in not one case was there an attempt to put politics ahead of the war. But the entire Democratic Party has surrendered all semblance of honor to the throne of political opportunism. Based upon the what I have witnessed in this country over the last 18 months I have to believe that if a Democrat had been at the helm the Iraqis would have been thrown under the bus two years ago!

And for that all I can feel is shame. Shame that the party of Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman and JFK has fallen to such low depths. And you think it is the President’s policies that has rendered such a result.

If ever I find myself fighting for my life, God help that I do not have a Democrat or a liberal by my side because I am just as likely to find myself with a knife in the back from my friend as any injury I may receive from any possible enemy.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
So here’s a question for the group: why didn’t Bush sign the bill along with a signing statement that he didn’t attend to follow or be bound by the portions of the bill related to troop withdrawal because those were not within the purview of Congress? That would have gotten money for the troops faster, would actually have been a stronger action politically than the veto and would have bolstered his authority as commander-in-chief. So why didn’t he do it?
 
Written By: Steven Donegal
URL: http://
So why didn’t he do it?
And why was the bill full of pork that had nothing to do with the mission. Why did they (the dem majority) do it?
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
"It does seem that the President’s policies have rendered that result."
Well, folks, there you have it. The LN summed up in just one short sentence. The gist of the thought is right out of the NYT LN order of battle. Sorry that we cannot credit you with that, Professor, but just perhaps you added the turn of phrase: "It does seem..."?

"It does seem..." does it? How droll. How many times will you re-read that sentence and, at first, titter, then, at later readings, howl? It is worth several glasses of vodka interspersed with re-reads, isn’t it? Maybe you can render it a couple of the times in a liberal version of your "huffy voice" you use to represent stuffy conservatives; that would be especially funny.

An excellent day’s work. You have done yourself and the LN proud.

sarcasm/humor alert
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
Show me one case where the President has not made an honest effort inviting consultation from the opposition for this war. Eighteeen months ago, no less than 15 democrats were calling for a surge - Biden included. Less than eight months ago, the Iraq Study Group agreed with the President regarding the problems of setting arbitrary timetables.
The Democrats have not offered anything credible either, I don’t think. They have followed political calculations more than really taking the issue seriously. Biden has tried, he’s called for surges, partitions and the like. But for the most part, they haven’t done much either.

However, unlike you I think the Democrats weakness has been NOT standing up more firmly to the President and not being more vocal and direct in trying to change policy. They followed along until the polls gave them reason not to. Sure, they didn’t power before the last election, but they shouldn’t have even authorized the war. So don’t confuse criticism of the Bush Administration with support of the Democrats. Some of the most thoughtful criticism of Bush has come from people like Pat Buchanan and Chuck Hagel.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
If this were anything even remotely like a dictatorship, you and your ilk would have been shot in the head years ago...
I get the impression some people wouldn’t be too disappointed if that were to be the case here today.

Terrorists winning is a straw man. I think we help the terrorists by our policy in Iraq. If we can get out of this mess, we’ll be in a much better position to do real counter terrorism. Getting out of Iraq is essential if one is to overcome the real terror threat. Staying in Iraq helps the terrorists; it drains our resources and doesn’t touch them (except to the extent they go to Iraq out of the opportunity we provided — then at low cost to them they can bleed us, weaken us, divide us, and discredit us).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I get the impression some people wouldn’t be too disappointed if that were to be the case here today.
Oh, please. Like your head contains a vital organ.
Staying in Iraq helps the terrorists; it drains our resources and doesn’t touch them
Helps terrorists? Are you kidding? They aren’t attacking US civilians, they aren’t blowing up buildings on US soil, and they are dying in record numbers every time they encounter the military. And that helps the terrorists?
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Staying in Iraq helps the terrorists; it drains our resources and doesn’t touch them

Helps terrorists? Are you kidding? They aren’t attacking US civilians, they aren’t blowing up buildings on US soil, and they are dying in record numbers every time they encounter the military. And that helps the terrorists?
Most aren’t in Iraq. Most of the activity in Iraq is by Sunnis and Shi’ite militia groups and insurgents who would have no desire to attack the US or Americans if not for our invasion/occupation. Those small bits of al qaeda in Iraq are not costing al qaeda a lot of money and do not in any way diminish their ability to plan attacks — often these operations take years of planning. In fact, by spending so much in Iraq we haven’t been able to do much to stop a Taliban resurgence, and our ability to pressure Pakistan has dropped to near zero.

Moreover, the dollar is about HALF its value of 2000, and the surpluses have turned to record deficits, with debt up to 70% of GDP. That increases our vulnerability to terrorism. Remember: their goal is to hit us in the economy and bring us down that way. Thus an attack on Saudi oil fields or other ways to disrupt the oil flow are probably as likely as an attack in the US — anything to weaken our economy that is fragile, with an Achilles heal — dependence on oil. We have a current accounts deficit of over 6% (over 5% is unsustainable), economic growth has slowed, and the Iraq conflict has done a lot to drain resources.

We’re getting nothing from the Iraq war. It isn’t in our national interest, and even "success" defined as a relatively stable Iraq won’t yield large benefits. By any cost-benefit analysis, this conflict has been a loser. It’s time to cut our loses. Yet, as my blog entry yesterday (April 30th) notes, Iraq is important, and while we have to change course, we have to do what we can to assure Iraq isn’t completely abandoned. It’s a complicated and important issue — too important to get trapped into partisan or angry arguments about terms used or abstract slogans (I’m not accusing you of that, but I have seen too much of that lately).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"Iraq is important, and while we have to change course, we have to do what we can to assure Iraq isn’t completely abandoned."

So Scott, tell me. How we going to accomplish that. You are King for a day - Fix it. Do it without impairing our precious "accounts deficit" and keep the cost-benefits on the plus side.

Oh and at the same time, keep unemployment at record lows, inflation in check, and the economy running at around a 4-5% annual growth rate. Oh - - wait a minute. That’s what the current administration is doing right now. Well, then do all the above and keep taxes low and revenues at record levels and provide a surplus by 2010. Oh - - wait another minute. The current administration is doing that right now also.

OK - do all the above without assasinating the entire Democratic leadrership on the hill. I would call that a challenge even for a King! (Much less the "dictator" we got now, right?)
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Most aren’t in Iraq.
Never said most were there. Strawman.
Those small bits of al qaeda in Iraq are not costing al qaeda a lot of money and do not in any way diminish their ability to plan attacks — often these operations take years of planning
And yet, in almost 6 years, there hasn’t been an attack on US soil, despite all this help we’re giving them. The linear corellation of your arguments to reality is about 0.1.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
You are King for a day - Fix it.
I often point out that Americans, being very pragmatic, have the attitude that all problems have solutions and anything that is wrong can be fixed. In the complex world of politics and especially conflicts, that is often simply not the case. We find it hard to accept. I don’t think we can fix it, that’s my point. If we alter the approach completely along the lines I suggested (regioanlize/internationalize the conflict) then I think the chances things will improve increases, but there is no guarantee.

Economic growth has sputtered to an annual pace of 1.3% in the first quarter this year (continuing a decline that made the pace 2.5% in the fourth quarter last year). This also makes it likely that projections on tax revenues will fall short. Some economists see this as the start of a recession that could last into 2009. The dollar is just over half its value 7 years ago, and debt has soared to 70% of GDP, the deficit is immense. IF there is any kind of oil shock, it could create real economic havoc.
And yet, in almost 6 years, there hasn’t been an attack on US soil, despite all this help we’re giving them. The linear corellation of your arguments to reality is about 0.1.
Yeah, he’s almost gone as long between terror attacks on US soil as Clinton did. By your logic, Clinton’s policies were very effective.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Too bad, I was ready for a man who can get into details like the need for more "V-Shaped things".
Keith, I understood what he referred to, I just had to thoroughly enjoy his grasp of the subject in that he was reduced to referring to them as "v shaped things". To some people he may have been demonstrating that he was up on the subjects. To others who didn’t know, or couldn’t guess what he was referring to, they now have visions of "V shaped things" being put somewhere on our vehicles, and probably wonder if they should dash down to the H3 dealer and find out when the "V shaped things" will be installed on the latest consumer models, and whether or not their current model can get retrofitted with them.

Meanwhile, between the threat to shove the veto down Bush’s throat, and the use of such highly technical language describing up-armoring, I can’t tell you how impressed I was with Biden’s oratory.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
BTW, apparently they have at least one Cougar in Iraq... Teflon Don drove one recently...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider