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Blogger Conference Call with Tony Snow and Brett McGurk

I also was thrilled to participate in the blogger conference call with Tony Snow, President Bush's Press Secretary and Brett McGurk, the Director for Iraq, National Security Council that Lorie mentioned. I wasn't able to get my question in (and I was going to ask Tony to expand more on how the rules of engagement are going to change), but here's the outline of Tony's introductory comments:

We must succeed in Iraq; unfortunately, what's been going on in the past six months hasn't worked. This is what we have to do to move forward:

  1. We have to focus on security and especially in the most violent areas, which are Baghdad and the Anbar province. If we don't get security under control the all political and economic development will continue to stall.
  2. We have to put iraqis in the lead when it comes to security. And we have to enhance Iraqi leadership
  3. At this point, Iraqis don't' have the capacity to do the job providing for public security.
  4. Isolated extremists are causing problems. Others are sitting on the sidelines. We have to make them make a choice. Who will it be the terrorists or the new Iraqi government.

We are going to help the Iraqi's achieve political progress. These are some benchmarks the Iraqis want to meet:

  1. The hydrocarbon law; distribute oil revenues throughout the country
  2. Improve the de-baathification process. For example, one woman who wants to teach can't because she has a Baath party card, which she was forced to have under Saddam, but she's not a a terrorist. We need to get these people better integrated into Iraq society.
  3. Parliament must be addressed because the Sunnis are not represented because they sat out the most recent election.

President Bush is providing five army brigades for Baghdad to help the Iraqi troops secure Baghdad. Al Maliki announced that a new commander is taking over along with two lower commanders. Rather than clearing a city and then leaving, we're going to stay all day everyday to make sure the cities are really safe and remain under control. Our US forces will support Iraqi troops.

There's also an economic component, which includes provincial reconstruction teams working with military groups. We want to duplicate the success we've had in Mosul but in larger parts of Iraq.

You can listen to the conference call, via Rob Bluey of Human Events, here.

Tony just sent out a press release which provided some excerpts from President Bush's speech:

On the new strategy:

Tonight in Iraq, the Armed Forces of the United States are engaged in a struggle that will determine the direction of the global war on terror - and our safety here at home. The new strategy I outline tonight will change America's course in Iraq, and help us succeed in the fight against terror.

On the role of the Iraqis:

Only the Iraqis can end the sectarian violence and secure their people. And their government has put forward an aggressive plan to do it.

On securing Baghdad:

Our past efforts to secure Baghdad failed for two principal reasons: There were not enough Iraqi and American troops to secure neighborhoods that had been cleared of terrorists and insurgents. And there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have. Our military commanders reviewed the new Iraqi plan to ensure that it addressed these mistakes. They report that it does. They also report that this plan can work...and Prime Minister Maliki has pledged that political or sectarian interference will not be tolerated.

On what Iraq must do:

I have made it clear to the Prime Minister and Iraq's other leaders that America's commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people - and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people. Now is the time to act. The Prime Minister understands this.

On the economic component:

A successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations. Ordinary Iraqi citizens must see that military operations are accompanied by visible improvements in their neighborhoods and communities. So America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced.

On protecting the American people:

The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time ... In the long run, the most realistic way to protect the American people is to provide a hopeful alternative to the hateful ideology of the enemy - by advancing liberty across a troubled region.

On what victory in Iraq will look like:

The changes I have outlined tonight are aimed at ensuring the survival of a young democracy that is fighting for its life in a part of the world of enormous importance to American security...The question is whether our new strategy will bring us closer to success. I believe that it will ... Victory will not look like the ones our fathers and grandfathers achieved. There will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship ... A democratic Iraq will not be perfect. But it will be a country that fights terrorists instead of harboring them - and it will help bring a future of peace and security for our children and grandchildren.

On bringing our troops home:

[To]step back now would force a collapse of the Iraqi government ... Such a scenario would result in our troops being forced to stay in Iraq even longer, and confront an enemy that is even more lethal. If we increase our support at this crucial moment, and help the Iraqis break the current cycle of violence, we can hasten the day our troops begin coming home.

Others who participated in the call:

NZ Bear at The Truth Laid Bear
Erick at RedState
John Hawkins at Right Wing News
Austin Bay at Austin Bay Blog
Rosemary Esmay at Dean's World
Atlas Shrugs
Steve Schippert of Threats Watch
Mark Danziger of Winds of Change

Update: Bruce Kesler at The Democracy Project has even more on what to expect from tonight's speech.


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Comments (32)

Holy Crap! What a bowl of S... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

Holy Crap! What a bowl of Shit! I 'll leave this to Lee, et al (I can't type and "Top Chef" starts in 3 hours!)

Of course the WH only calls... (Below threshold)
Cornwell:

Of course the WH only calls on bloggers who promise to fellate them in return for being the extended megaphone for their failed PR war. I wonder if Jeff Gannon made the short list too?

How many times is the WH going to try and re-package the same product to the American people, when it's painfully obvious that it hasn't worked the last few times?

Do they really think if they just dress it up in another costume, we won't notice that it's last years style?

And I love this tidbit [To]step back now would force a collapse of the Iraqi government ... Such a scenario would result in our troops being forced to stay in Iraq even longer, and confront an enemy that is even more lethal. If we increase our support at this crucial moment, and help the Iraqis break the current cycle of violence, we can hasten the day our troops begin coming home.

Confront an enemy is more lethal? More lethal than what, what we've already faced? What enemy? The Sunni? the Kurds? The Shia? Or the 'taarrissts'?

And for bigger laughs There will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship

No giant Mission Accomplished banner? Aww shucks.


SIMPLY.........no more body... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

SIMPLY.........no more body bags.

OUT NOW.

Of course the WH o... (Below threshold)
Of course the WH only calls on bloggers who promise to fellate them in return for being the extended megaphone for their failed PR war.

A little jealous, Cornwell?

>I'm old enough to... (Below threshold)
blackcat77:

>

I'm old enough to remember this exact same thing being said about Vietnam. Sure, we've swapped "communism" for "militant Islam," but it's the same argument. But it's wrong to say that American-style democracy is the panacea for terrorists any more than it was for communism. The solution is to improve the lot of the people in places where the bad guys threaten because there is one thing that places like Iraq and wartime Vietnam have in common is that the worse things become in the daily lives of ordinary people, the more attractive are political or military extremism. Notice that in Vietnam today, capitalism -- and to some extent, democracy -- is winning over Ho's old ideas because there is an attractive alternative to what he offered. But the war had to stop first. And in Iraq, paradoxically, the best way to win the war is to stop fighting. Things have to reach some sort of equilibrium before the fundamental issues which are driving the sectarian fighting can be dealt with. Right now, the only thing that ALL sides over there agree on is that they don't like us occupying their country and killing their people.

It cut out the section I wa... (Below threshold)
blackcat77:

It cut out the section I was trying to quote in my note above. This is what I was responding to:

On protecting the American people:

The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time ... In the long run, the most realistic way to protect the American people is to provide a hopeful alternative to the hateful ideology of the enemy - by advancing liberty across a troubled region.

Jealous of you Kim? Hahaha... (Below threshold)
Cornwell:

Jealous of you Kim? Hahahafrickenha! Don't make me laugh, sister. Jealous because I didn't get to sit in on your fawning pow-wow with the official party line that you swallowed whole?

Are you serious?

Don't pat yourself too hard on the back there, Kim.

You guys really are true believers, aren't you? You worship at the alter of authority and suck up worse than a Silver City prostitute, anything to make it seem like your 'side' is right.

I wonder if you'll feel the same way come summer time, when there hasn't been a single inch of progress made in Iraq. The civil war will grow, more US soldiers will die and lose limbs, but you're happy because you got an invite to a slumber party hosted by Tony Snowjob.

Fascinating.

What is with all you trolls... (Below threshold)

What is with all you trolls infesting blogs like this? I realize you want us to lose in Iraq, because your warped little brains, it somehow means people will give you even more power in 2008 which is really ALL you want. You don't give a crap about the soldiers, you don't give a crap about fighting terrorism. Your imagined enemies of America are George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and the person who you think invented the pilot-less planes that flew in the WTC on 9/11. Or shot the missiles...or whatever the hell it is you loons think happened on that day. The "truthers" you ain't d-bags.


SIMPLY.........no more ... (Below threshold)
marc:

SIMPLY.........no more body bags.

OUT NOW.
:: by civil behavior on January 10, 2007 7:22 PM ::

Well almost none. Can we assume you would be willing to suffer a tax increase to pay for all the additional body bags (thousands? tens of thousands?) needed after an immediate pullout?

No? Why not? Many on the left have mimiced Powells words, (paraphrased) You own it, you broke it, you fix it.

I think this quote has found its correct place:

"After a little resistance [in Somalia], The American troops left after achieving nothing. They left after claiming that they were the largest power on earth. They left after some resistance from powerless, poor, unarmed people whose only weapon is the belief in Allah The Almighty, and who do not fear the fabricated American media lies.

We learned from those who fought there, that they were surprised to see the low spiritual morale of the American fighters in comparison with the experience they had with the Russian fighters. The Americans ran away from those fighters who fought and killed them, while the latter were still there.

If the U.S. still thinks and brags that it still has this kind of power even after all these successive defeats in Vietnam, Beirut, Aden, and Somalia, then let them go back to those who are awaiting its return." - Osama Bin Laden Interview with Peter Arnett Late March 1997

I realize you want us to... (Below threshold)

I realize you want us to lose in Iraq....

That happened about 12 seconds after Bush decided invading Iraq at all was a good idea.

Fighting guerilla is not the brightest ideas even when you are forced to do it. to do it by choice is insanity.

Doesn't anyone here remember US history? Swap King George for ... well .... king George and you have a rough parallel from a military perspective.

What is with all you tro... (Below threshold)
snowballs:

What is with all you trolls infesting blogs like this?

Surge?

Whats exit strategy for Phi... (Below threshold)
Gianni:

Whats exit strategy for Philly, NewOrleans, Detroit? Seems less safe to be in those blue cities.

We must succeed in... (Below threshold)
Larkin:
We must succeed in Iraq; unfortunately, what's been going on in the past six months hasn't worked.

Say whaaaatttt?? Hasn't he been saying all along that we were making "progress" and that the plan was working? Liar.

Parliament must be addressed because the Sunnis are not represented because they sat out the most recent election.

Say whaaattttt again?? I thought the elections were an historic "turning point" Mr. President? That's what you said wasn't it? You also said that about the first election and the Constitution that screwed the Sunnis to the wall.

This new "plan" is the biggest load of crapola I've ever seen. It's like LBJ picking bombing targets in the Oval Office all over again. No general in his right mind would ever willingly support such a stupid idea.

Bush's entire goal here is to present the illusion that he's taking forceful action and play out the clock on Iraq so he can dump the whole disaster on the next unfortunate bastard who occupies the White House.

Well I think we as the people have a say in this matter too. We should all demand that Congress cut off funding for the war unless a phased withdrawal begins immediately. If the Iraqis aren't ready to take control of their own country by now then they will never be. It's time for them to stand up.

We should all dema... (Below threshold)
We should all demand that Congress cut off funding for the war unless a phased withdrawal begins immediately.

Yes, you, stand on the mountain tops and demand the funding be cut off. I wish you well in trying to get every American behind your initiative. And yes, keep using "phased withdrawl" too...sounds so much more nuanced.

The hydrocarbon law; dis... (Below threshold)
snowballs:

The hydrocarbon law; distribute oil revenues throughout the country

I think that this part, possibly the model of Alaska (thank you Steve Forbes) is the most important.

Wow, what a bunch of sycoph... (Below threshold)

Wow, what a bunch of sycophantic clowns. Rosemary Esmay. Nice.

This is what Tony Snow is reduced to: trying to convince brain-dead assholes like Pamela Oshry, Austin Bay, and Rosemary Esmay not to abandon their beloved preznit.

Prediction, and remember, you heard it here first: Bush's "surge" will fail, because he fucks up everything he touches. Always has, always will.

There he goes again talking... (Below threshold)
Larkin:

There he goes again talking about September 11.

I repeat for the ten thousandth time:

* there were no Iraqis on board the planes on 9/11
* there were no Iraqis in the leadership of Al Qaeda on 9/11
* there was no Al Qaeda presence in Iraq before 9/11
* there was no substantial relationship between Al Qaeda and the Hussein regime at the time of 9/11

Yes, you, stand on... (Below threshold)
Larkin:
Yes, you, stand on the mountain tops and demand the funding be cut off. I wish you well in trying to get every American behind your initiative.

In case it wasn't reported in the Norweigan press, we just had an election where the main issue was the war in Iraq and the American people made clear their preference. I have no doubt that a strong majority of Americans would support a reasonable, phased withdrawl that brings most of our troops home in the next 18 months.

I repeat for the ... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:
I repeat for the ten thousandth time:

* there were no Iraqis on board the planes on 9/11
* there were no Iraqis in the leadership of Al Qaeda on 9/11
* there was no Al Qaeda presence in Iraq before 9/11
* there was no substantial relationship between Al Qaeda and the Hussein regime at the time of 9/11

For the 10,000 time, no one made the claim that Iraq was some type of retaliation of 9/11. Geez, you guys are slow.

I've told you guys ten thou... (Below threshold)
snowballs:

I've told you guys ten thousand times not to exaggerate.

In case it wasn't ... (Below threshold)
In case it wasn't reported in the Norweigan press, we just had an election where the main issue was the war in Iraq and the American people made clear their preference. I have no doubt that a strong majority of Americans would support a reasonable, phased withdrawl that brings most of our troops home in the next 18 months.

Posted by: Larkin at January 10, 2007 09:09 PM

Actually numbnuts, I was born here and I live here, but please, show me a ballot that had Iraq on it.

Durbin says..."... (Below threshold)
snowballs:

Durbin says...

"They alone.."

Ouch.

Gee Mike, I guess you weren... (Below threshold)
Larkin:

Gee Mike, I guess you weren't listening when Bush said this on the day he announced the end of "major combat" operations in Iraq:

The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001 -- and still goes on.
please, show me a ballot... (Below threshold)
Larkin:

please, show me a ballot that had Iraq on it.

Okay, so what was the election about then? The minimum wage?

Iraq was clearly the most important issue and the issue was a strong vote of disapproval for Bush's Iraq policy. The polls confirm that. A majority of Americans want us to begin a phased withdrawal. A majority of Iraqis want us to withdraw (and also support attacks on US troops).

Tony Snow = Ron Ziegler... (Below threshold)
aRepukelican:

Tony Snow = Ron Ziegler

McGlurk it sould like a nam... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

McGlurk it sould like a name you,ll find in DR SUSE

Tony Snow is a bright man, ... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Tony Snow is a bright man, a product of Davidson College, and one of many interesting and intelligent graduates of this fine school.

www.davidson.edu

This message brought to you... (Below threshold)
mantis:

This message brought to you by Mitchell.

;)

Hey "cornie" I don't believ... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Hey "cornie" I don't believe that was what Kim was asking if you were jealous of. wink wink.

"tonysnowjob"--to we get the hint of an old smelly "sock" here?

Do yourself a favor, and do... (Below threshold)
minorripper:

Do yourself a favor, and don't be a white house stooge--especially with this white house...
www.minor-ripper.blogspot.com

I think the counter-surge y... (Below threshold)
Ymarsakar:

I think the counter-surge you see from the Left is a direct reaction to their fear of the future imbalance in power. After all, if bloggers like Wiz and Esmay gets direct exclusives from the White House, what need do bloggers have for the media allies of the Left? When the media no longer has a monopoly on exclusive government information, more people will be able to access more diverse views. And that, is something that must not be allowed, hence the hostility you see.

I mostly notice this kind of instant hostility, not to be confused with instant microwave lunch, when Neo-Neocon talks about the psychological problems of the Left. Including Vietnam of course, or anything that is reinforcing the fight that the Left is against.

I was also in on the phone ... (Below threshold)

I was also in on the phone call with Tony Snow representing A Soldier's Perspective. I think Tony did a great job with the call and it appears to be a great plan.

What is it with all the inappropriate sexual references from those who are opposed to an American victory in Iraq?




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