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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Beam Me Up Scottie


“Ok, so I’m feeling a little lazy today. Here’s a few minutes with everyone’s favorite stand-up comedian, White House spokesman Scott McClellan, and his take on the classic ‘Who’s on First’ routine.”
-Skippy


Q Scott, in the document you all write, ‘It's not realistic to expect a fully functioning democracy able to defeat its enemies three years after Saddam is finally removed from power.’ Does that mean, then, that the administration now believes that it was unrealistic in its own expectations three years ago? Or, did, in fact, you always expect the war to be as intense as this point, three years later -- almost three years later, as it is?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, it's a time of war and Iraq is the central front in the global war on terrorism. And you have to be flexible and be able to adapt. That's what the President was emphasizing in his remarks, that as conditions have changed, we have adapted. We have a dynamic strategy that is in place. Our tactics are flexible and we adjust those tactics as needed. So I think that's one thing that is important to listen to, in terms of what the President said today in his remarks.
[…]
Q But when you say here that it's not realistic, it seems to suggest that people had unrealistic expectations. And I'm trying to figure out what was the source of these unrealistic expectations? Was it something --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, look, I think that over the course of history, we're going to look back and look at the decisions that were made and the steps that were taken over the course of the time in Iraq. And we'll let history be the judge of those different aspects. But what's important is when you're at war, is that it's important to learn from your experiences and be able to adapt in order to prevail.
Q And then the last question on this is, if it's not realistic to expect this in three years, when is it realistic to expect this?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you shouldn't have arbitrary timetables when you're talking about achieving victory when you're engaged in a war. The President made that very clear. It sends the wrong message to the enemy; it sends the wrong message to our troops.
The timetable should be based on conditions on the ground. It's a conditions-based withdrawal that we are pursuing. And that will be based on the commanders on the ground.
Q But we're not setting an artificial timetable --
MR. McCLELLAN: And as the President said, it takes time and patience as you move forward on building a lasting democracy.
[…]
Q But when you say, it's not realistic, without setting an artificial timetable --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the political milestones that are in place, and the Iraqi people are meeting those political milestones time and time again. They are meeting those political milestones here in just a couple of weeks -- December 15th -- the Iraqi people will, again, go back to the polls, this time to choose a permanent representative government. And that will be a significant milestone in Iraq's future.
Q You seem to suggest we know what's realistic, and I'm trying to explore what you think is --
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not sure that that's accurate. But I'm glad you're reading through this. We encourage the American people to read through it. And I think you have to look at the whole document --
Q -- suggests people who had any expectations of the war being in better shape today than it is, they're unrealistic. And I'm trying to see what is realistic.
MR. McCLELLAN: I think it would be wrong to have an expectation that you're going to have a lasting democracy in place in just two-and-a-half years. But it is realistic to -- well, I would say that the fact that the Iraqi people have made this progress in just two -- I'm sorry, able to defeat in just two-and-a-half years is something that is quite remarkable.
Were you were saying, able to defeat?
Q No, I'm just saying there was -- the phrase says, it's not realistic to expect a fully functioning democracy able to defeat its enemies in three years. And I'm just trying to explore, then, what our expectations are. I think the public is looking for, maybe not necessarily a specific time table --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the expectations I think --
Q -- but what should we find realistic --
MR. McCLELLAN: I think that's spelled out in the document, and people can go and read through that document. I mean, we can go and sit through and look through each different aspect of the document. I'll be glad to do that. It talks about the progress that's being made to meet some of the benchmarks that are in place for the political process.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Scott McClellan, November 30, 2005

“So timetables are bad, and really, really hard to nail down. So how are we doing with our benchmarks for success?”
-Skippy


“Q In the document, you say victory is defined in stages, three stages: short, medium and long-term. Two questions. First is, does the President believe we have actually achieved any of these stages -- short-term, steady progress of fighting terrorists --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, each of those stages is defined in the document.
Q I understand --
MR. McCLELLAN: We're making real progress on all three tracks of the strategy for victory in Iraq. And --
Q These aren't the tracks of strategy. These are the definitions of short, medium and long-term victory.
MR. McCLELLAN: Right, and it spells out --
Q Does the President think we have achieved --
MR. McCLELLAN: -- how you define that.
Q Does the President think we have achieved short-term victory in Iraq?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, if you look at what the short-term -- what it says in the short-term, it says we're -- it says, short-term, Iraq is making steady progress in fighting terrorists, meeting political milestones, building democratic institutions, and standing up Iraqi security forces.
Medium-term, Iraq is in the lead defeating terrorists and providing its own security with a fully constitutional government in place and on its way to achieving its economic potential. The President believes that we're making real progress when it comes to achieving victory in Iraq and implementing our strategy. We are making progress on the political front, we're making progress on the economic front, and we're making progress on the security front.
And in terms of more specific information, I think that our commanders on the ground and our leaders -- civilian leaders within Iraq would be in the best place to talk -- best position to talk about it in more specific terms.
Q On this spectrum, are you willing to say that we have achieved short-term victory, medium-term victory -- any of those?
MR. McCLELLAN: I want to say we've made real progress on all three fronts of the strategy for victory.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Scott McClellan, November 30, 2005

‘So several years into this lovely war and we have made real progress in meeting our short-term victory. At this rate in just a few decades we should be able to meet our medium-term goals.”
-Skippy

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