A spokesman for President Bush has told WND that the goal in Iraq still is to create freedom and destroy terror, no matter what recommendations were made, or will be adopted, from the new Iraq Study Group report.
Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House, asked presidential spokesman Tony Snow about the situation.
“Yesterday, leaders of Islamic Jihad, Hamas and al- Aqsa Martyrs Brigade told WorldNetDaily’s Jerusalem correspondent how very pleased they were with the Iraq Study Group’s suggestion, and proclaimed it as a great victory for them over America. And my question: If we were to remove all our troops from Iraq, how could be prevent these terrorists from moving West and committing a new kind of 9/11 here in the U.S.”
“There are two pieces to understand,” Snow said. “Number One, the report, itself, talks about the importance of going after terror within the region. And it says very explicit things about the roles of Syria and Iran… But the fact is that in this particular case, the president has been pretty clear that the purpose here is not to foment terror or to create vacuums, but to create freedom and also destroy the case for terror.”
Snow also had said in the press briefing that the president thinks there will be some disagreement on Capitol Hill about some of the study group recommendations.
“Having said that, when it comes to troop movements, it’s always been the case that we think that you’re going to have to have it dependent upon the facts on the ground. … What the Baker-Hamilton commission did reject is what it referred to as ‘precipitous withdrawal’ from Iraq, and it also rejected partitioning of the country, and even dividing up into semi-autonomous units,” Snow said.
He said the president will do what is expected of a commander-in-chief, “which is to take a careful and thoughtful look at the report.”
Snow also noted the report conceded the goal of “an Iraq that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself.”
“So having accepted the goal, you now have the practical responsibility on the part of the president – and we certainly hope, with the bipartisan support of Democrats and Republicans – to find out the most sensible way of achieving that goal,” Snow said.
But Snow declined to discuss another issue, the pending imprisonment of U.S. Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who were sentenced to prison after they shot a suspected drug dealer in the buttocks while he was trying to escape.
WND raised the question because U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and more than four dozen others have petitioned the president to intervene in the case with pardons.
“Rohrabacher said, (the agents) ‘are heroes because of their actions. Over a million dollars in illegal drugs were stopped from being sold to our children. Bringing felony charges against them is a travesty of justice beyond description,'” WND asked.
“It’s inappropriate for me to talk about pardons. … It’s appropriate for me to comment about pardons,” Snow said.
A third question from WND brought a “Talk to Congress” response from Snow.
“Syndicated talk radio host Michael Savage said yesterday that co-chairman Jim Baker belongs to a law firm that represents Saudi Arabia, which he said major media is refusing to report. Is that true? And, if so, why was Baker made co-chairman with no members from any of our armed forces?” WND asked.
“Number One, Jim Baker’s legal connections are well known. And, Number Two, Congress appointed Jim Baker and Lee Hamilton as the co-chairs, so that’s the appropriate place to take it,” Snow said.
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