The Long, Long War (on Reason, Language, and Honesty)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 at 11:12 AM

Another beauty from yesterday's press gaggle at the White House:

Q Does public opinion enter into his review at all, in terms of the election and --

MR. SNOW: The President -- in this sense, Helen, the President understands that you cannot win the war without public support. And it is important to continue -- because it's going to be a long war and it is going to need the determination of the American people --

Q Why is it going to be a long war?

MR. SNOW: Because as far as we can tell, terrorists don't have any desire to stop entertaining thoughts of terror any time soon. And that the global war on terror, which is not confined to Iraq or Afghanistan, but instead has people who are still committed to committing acts of violence on our shores. The President outlined some of those this fall when he was talking about particular operations that had been intercepted as a result of intelligence that we had gleaned from planners of attacks, that they have no desire to back away, that there's an ideology of hatred that involves not only destroying the United States of America, but also the notion of personal freedom.

So that being the case, it is going to require a commitment over a long period of time to make sure that we deal with the problem effectively. And that's not just militarily -- it means diplomatically, it means economically, it means by example, so that if you have a democracy that demonstrates to people in the Middle East you can practice your faith, you can pursue your future, you can vote for the people who are going to govern you, you can have control over your destiny -- these are things that have not been -- that people in the Middle East have not been able to take for granted. And when they see that they have those options, that in and of itself will probably be the most powerful discouragement to terror imaginable.

Q Why can you identify all the Iraqi resistance as terror?

MR. SNOW: I didn't.

Q We are the occupiers, do you realize that? And do you realize what an occupation is?

MR. SNOW: Do you also realize -- I do -- I think people not only understand occupation, people in Iraq also understand --

Q Your broad brush everything.

MR. SNOW: And that was a precise characterization you just gave me?

Q I am saying that you --

MR. SNOW: No, you just used a broad brush on responding. If you wish to get into pointillism, I'll be happy to go along.

Q Do you think that people are resisting our occupation?

MR. SNOW: I think that there are some people -- as a matter of fact, if you take a look at Saddam rejectionists, they're absolutely resisting the occupation. As a matter of fact, their avowed goal -- it's right here in the 90/10 report -- that says that their avowed goal is to push Americans out. Why? Because they want to reestablish the kind of supremacy they enjoyed during the days of Saddam.

There are many people who want to end the occupation and, in many cases, they want to end the occupation because they, themselves, want to restore or to create their own tyranny over the Iraqi people. They do not want to support the goal of a democracy in which the human rights of all are protected and --

Q What gives you the right to impose anything on them?

MR. SNOW: I think what we're -- you know, what's interesting is the government of Iraq and people of Iraq look upon us not as imposing. I don't know how you impose liberty. I think what you do is you -- you impose tyranny and you relieve tyranny by creating the possibility for freedom.

That's verbatim from the transcript, folks, not a word made up, not a thought interpreted.  But reach your own conclusion; I wouldn't want to impose anything on you, I just want to relieve the tyranny imposed by Mr. Bush, by way of Mr. Snow.