I had the distinct pleasure yesterday of joining in a bloggers’ call with White House spokesman Tony Snow and Brett McGurk, Director for Iraq, National Security Council.
Joining me on the call were N.Z. Bear of Victory Caucus, Rob Bluey, Erick Erickson of RedState, McQ of QandO, Mark Finkelstein of NewsBusters, Michelle Oddis of Human Events, John Hawkins of Right Wing News, Matt from Blackfive, Tom Bevan of RealClearPolitics, Bryan Preston of Hot Air, and Brian Faughnan of the Weekly Standard.
As Rob states,
White House spokesman Tony Snow and Brett McGurk of the National Security Council made the case for the veto this afternoon in a conference call with bloggers, outlining these four points:
1) The bill handcuffs the generals
2) It makes politicians the combat commanders
3) There is excessive pork in it
4) It hurts U.S. credibility and strengthens the hands of those who paint us as weak on the world stage
Eric of Red State says, Tony Snow
made it very clear that the President intends to fight this issue for the cause and for the troops.
My question was, How are our armed forces around the region – in the Middle East immediately affected by this delay in funding?
Tony Snow stated that there’s no direct impact at the moment, but the more the longer the debate drags on the more it’ll affect people around the world. However, Brett stated, in two weeks it will start to affect both ongoing operations and on readiness level – The military have to plan ahead and have the assurance and commitment of the funding, a point that Sen. McCain also made in his most recent Bloggers’ Call – The last thing affected would be combat operations, but the impact would be felt.
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.
John Hawkins asked,
Do you think Harry Reid’s comment that the war was lost boosted the morale of Al-Qaeda and do you think it would be appropriate for him to resign his leadership position over his comments?
A: The 2nd part is up to Democrats, but it probably had a lot of people scratching their heads. Our troops are signing back up in record numbers and they say they are seeing a lot of improvement in Iraq.
Q: What else can bloggers do about the pork?
A: Continuing plunging into details and tell people about it. You can’t make some of this stuff up.
The last question was from Mark of Newsbusters:
Asked by me to comment on the Mitchell claim [that Cuba’s “economic difficulties” were due to the embargo], Snow, flashing midseason form, observed:
As for the economic straits of the people in Cuba, there’s an unbroken record of eocnomic failure in socialist states. Certainly the economic approach of the United States has not helped the economy of the Cubans, but on the other hand, this has been an economy that now for 47, 48 years has in fact been a basket case.
It’s a direct result of policies that suppress people’s natural freedoms, and their abilities to generate wealth and also to enjoy the incentives to build fresh wealth and opportunity on their own. So, again, look around the world, and socialism is 0-for-history when it comes to producing widespread, profound prosperity.
Brian Faughnan has an excellent article about the call,
Snow argued that it is important to recognize the consequences of victory and defeat in Iraq. Victory will show that democracy can succeed against terror, and that people can choose a democratic regime with a government of their choosing, even in the face of aggressive terrorism. Failure will lead to cataclysmic violence, regional destabilization, and a haven for terror networks. It is vital that we succeed.
Go read every word.
Special thanks to Claude Chafin for inviting me. Warm regards and best wishes to Tony Snow; all the bloggers are very glad to have him back.