- The Washington Times - Friday, October 20, 2006

Course correction

Every newspaper likes to see its articles have an impact, so of course we were delighted when a story in Thursday’s paper about the prospects for a change of course in Iraq became Topic A at that day’s White House briefing.

The following exchange between reporters and White House Spokesman Tony Snow is taken directly from a transcript of the briefing:

Q: The Washington Times says in a front-page story today that the administration is preparing for a “course correction.”

Mr. Snow: That’s a bunch of hooey. I mean, it seems to be a collection of actually old hooey brought into a piece of new hooey. (Laughter.) So, I mean, you get — I don’t know where that came from, but it didn’t come from the White House.

Q: And just to follow on hooey, the things that are raised in this hooey-filled article, such as the division of Iraq …

Mr. Snow: Yes, partition — non-starter.

Q: Non-starter? [Sen.] Kay Bailey Hutchison raised it yesterday …

Mr. Snow: Again, as I said, we have, in fact, considered — we consider lots of things. We’ve thought about partition, for a series of reasons …

Q: Phased withdrawal?

Mr. Snow: Again, you don’t — you withdraw when you win. Phased withdrawal is a way of saying, regardless of what the conditions are on the ground, we’re going to get out of Dodge.

Q: The 5 percent solution …

Mr. Snow: No.

Q: Non-starter?

Mr. Snow: Non-starter.

Q: I just think that you’re quickly dismissing several ideas here that were on the front page, but you’re not dismissing this idea and what should we do …

Mr. Snow: Well, because what you should take from it is, for instance, ideas like partition had been studied. What you’re talking now about are tactical adjustments that may be made along the way. And I’m not saying yes and I’m not saying no because I don’t know. … The most important thing is to have Iraqi troops who are able to accomplish the mission. But that’s taking time and we’re working on it.

You can read the rest of David W. Jones’s “Week in Review” this Sunday in the World section.

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