If Tony Snow thought his apology to David Gregory was going to buy him a respite from the haranguing, argumentative and acrimonious White House press corps, then he must have found today’s briefing very disappointing (Helen Thomas is asking the questions):
MR. SNOW: Let me just repeat again, none of these things are simple. And in life, anytime somebody is looking for a new way forward — and we’ve all been in businesses where people look for new ways forward — those take a lot of time. And the most important thing for the President is to do it thoroughly and do it right. And when he is satisfied that all the pieces are put together in a way that he thinks is comprehensive and will, in fact, help us move toward the goal of an Iraq that stands up on its own, then he’ll present it to the American people and to the world.
Q Has the President factored in any of how many people will die?
MR. SNOW: Helen, you ask that question every day, and I don’t know how I can —
Q It’s a very valid question.
MR. SNOW: And it’s a question he thinks about every day.
Q And does he care about it? Does it matter how many die?
MR. SNOW: Yes, it does. Absolutely.
Q Well, you have a benchmark now — this fall has been so lethal.
MR. SNOW: And the people who have been killing will kill even more if we walk away. I would turn you to The New York Times op-ed page today, where a Marine Major talks about —
Q Written by a Marine.
MR. SNOW: I’m sorry, does that make it suspect that he’s on the ground trying to save lives?
Q No, that doesn’t. But, I mean, he has to take the military attitude.
MR. SNOW: Well, you might want to read it, because the military — the military attitude is, warriors don’t like to be engaged in war if you can have peace, and generals don’t like to send people into battle unless they have to. The people who are instigating the violence in Iraq are ones who are determined to kill.
Q You don’t think our occupation is a factor?
MR. SNOW: I think the biggest factor right now — if you take a look at what’s going on, who are they killing? They’re killing Iraqis, aren’t they? They are primarily killing Iraqis. And what they’re trying to do is to destroy hope and peace and democracy.
Q How do you know all that? I mean, why do you think people would want to do that? In the first place, they don’t like an occupation.
MR. SNOW: Could it be they’re suffused with hatred? Could it be that people, in fact, who are in unoccupied lands, who have been slaughtering, also do so because they hate people? The question is —
Q Do we hate them? Are we killing any of them?
MR. SNOW: Yes, we are.
Is there no brutality Thomas can’t excuse by finding its root cause in the policies of the United States? Rich linked and commented on Major Connable’s piece earlier but, according to Thomas, you shouldn’t waste your time. Connable is a Marine, thus his opinions on warfighting can’t really be trusted. Nor, according to Thomas, can people who forwent military service credibly advocate the use of military force. By process of elimination, the only people qualified to weigh in on national security policy, according to Thomas, are those who share her anti-war views. Makes sense from her point of view, right?