Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Um... Knowing Would Be Far Worse
Twice today, President Bush said something bizarre at his press conference, yet not when reporter (not even yesterday's Snow battler, CNN's Ed Henry) called him on it.
"General Pace says that these bombs found in Iraq do not by themselves implicate Iran," one reporter said at the conference. "What makes you so certain that the highest levels of Tehran's government is responsible?"
Bush responded, "Mm. Let me -- the -- what we do know is that the Qods Force was instrumental in providing these deadly IEDs to networks inside of Iraq. That -- we know that. And we also know that the Qods Force is a part of the Iranian government."
"That's a known," Bush continued. "What we don't know is whether or not the head leaders of Iran ordered the Qods Force to do what they did."
The president added, "But here's my point: either they knew or didn't know, and what matters is is that they're there. What's worse -- that the government knew or that the government didn't know?"
"I'd like to follow on Iran," another reporter said later. "Critics say that you are using the same quality of intelligence about Iran that you used to make the case for war in Iraq, specifically about WMD that turned out to be wrong, and that you are doing that to make a case for war against Iran. Is that the case?"
Bush answered this question almost identically, "I can say with certainty that the Qods Force, a part of the Iranian government, has provided these sophisticated IEDs that have harmed our troops. And I'd like to repeat, I do not know whether or not the Qods Force was ordered from the top echelons of government. But my point is, what's worse, them ordering it and it happening, or them not ordering it and it's happening? And so we will continue to protect our troops."
How could it possibly not be worse if the orders came from the top? And how could no White House reporter throw that talking point back?
In what scenario would a rogue element in the government be worse than a nation's leaders approving what most other countries would consider an act of war?
Who would argue that if the president were behind the leaking of a CIA operative's name then it would be a lot worse than if White House officials did it on their own initiative? Evidently, Bush wouldn't argue with that logic, since he later ducked questions about whether or not he authorized Administration officials to leak Valerie Plame's name.