Afghan President Hamid Karzai said of the May 12 anti-US riots that left at least 17 people dead, "Those demonstrations were, in reality, not related to the Newsweek story."
White House Spokesperson Scott McClellen denied on Monday that he ever made the link between the Newsweek article and the deaths of the 17 Afghanis. Let's go to the transcripts, shall we?
From May 16: MR. McCLELLAN: I mean, it's -- this report has had serious consequences. It has caused damage to the image of the United States abroad. It has -- people have lost their lives.
He didn't say that.
From May 17: MR. McCLELLAN: This report, which Newsweek has now retracted and said was wrong, has had serious consequences. People did lose their lives.
He didn't say that, either.
I know that it's Scotty's job to spin everything in a positive way for the Administration, and he does pretty well at repeating talking points and giving long, non-answers to simple questions, but this is rediculous.
From Monday, May 23:
Q: One other question. Karzai was quite definite in saying that he didn't believe that the violence in Afghanistan was directly tied to the Newsweek article about Koran desecration. Yet, from this podium, you have made that link. So-
MR. McCLELLAN: Actually, I don't think you're actually characterizing what was said accurately.
Q: By whom?
MR. McCLELLAN: As I said last week, and as President Karzai said today, and as General Myers had said previously, the protest may well have been pre-staged. The discredited report was damaging. It was used to incite violence. But those who espouse an ideology of hatred and oppression and murder don't need an excuse to incite violence. But the reports from the region showed how this story was used to incite violence.
Q: But Karzai seemed to think that that wasn't what led to the violence, that it was-
MR. McCLELLAN: That's right, he actually -- he talked about -- President Karzai spoke about how the demonstrations were aimed at undercutting the progress being made toward democracy in Afghanistan, and the progress on elections. They have elections coming up soon. And I spoke about that, as well, last week.
Q: So could it be said that the Newsweek article played a role, but was not --
MR. McCLELLAN: John, I think we've made our views known when it comes to the discredited report. There are some that want to continue to defend what is a discredited report that has been disavowed by Newsweek, and that's their business. We're perfectly willing to trust the American people to make their own judgment about it.
Q: Who's doing that, exactly?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?
Q: Who wants to defend it?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you can see in the media coverage, there are some that want to continue to do that.
Yeah, see? He never said, "I never said that." He said, "I don't think you're actually characterizing what was said accurately," and remained ambiguous about who said "what was said." This leaves us wondering, was the reporter asking about Scotty's quote or President Karzai's? In his next sentence he paraphrases himself, Karzai, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Myers as if they all were saying the same thing, when in fact Karzai and Gen. Myers contradicted what he said on May 16 & 17. Very clever. These press briefings are contentious at times, and Scotty gets a little testy when reporters ask him to tell the truth. I wish i could see them on the TV, but i don't know if they air them all. I wish i had C-Span wired to my office so i can watch all the action. I do, however eagerly anticipate the release of the transcripts, and read them thouroughly, playing out the drama on the TV in my head.
Sunscreen is not necessary...
Unless it helps you escape an attacker.
More casualties in Iraq means we are winning!
From the White House, May 23:
Naive Reporter: And if I may ask you, Mr. President, as you know, the casualties of Iraq is again high today -- 50 more people dying. Do you think that insurgence is getting harder now to defeat militarily? Thank you.
PRESIDENT BUSH: No, I don't think so. I think they're being defeated. And that's why they continue to fight. The worst thing for them is to see democracy. The President [Karzai] can speak to that firsthand. The worst problem that an ideologue that uses terror to try to get their way is to see a free society emerge. And I'm confident we're making great progress in Iraq.
Oh, how reassuring! And here i was thinking things weren't going so well. Silly me.