Snow Struggles to Explain Bush's Delay

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Snow Struggles to Explain Bush's Delay

Yesterday, the White House announced that plans to announce a new strategy for Iraq by Christmas would be pushed back until January. At Tuesday's White House press briefing, reporters asked Press Secretary Tony Snow the reason for the delay:

REPORTER: Tony, it has been the President's own desire to do a speech prior to Christmas, right?

SNOW: Right.

REPORTER: So this wasn't a staff decision?

SNOW: Right.

REPORTER: So some might infer that the delay means he doesn't know what to do.

SNOW: No, well, that would be the wrong inference to draw. You probably -- as we've said all along, it's a complex business and there are a lot of things to take into account, and we said we would like, but we didn't make any promises. ... the fact is you would expect and desire a Commander-in-Chief, in looking at a situation, to examine military concerns, security concerns, diplomatic concerns, internal political concerns within Iraq, regional ramifications, how you get people to work in concert with one another. It is enormously complex. .... [it] requires tasking of people to go in and come back with better answers ....

REPORTER: Tony, even you have said, though, that this thing is not just driven by Baker-Hamilton, that this has been going on -- this reconsideration has been going on through -- back at Samara.

SNOW: It's been going on for some time, that's right.

REPORTER: Right. So something happened here in the last week that he realized that there was more time needed?

SNOW: No, no -- no, I don't think so. I think what happens is over time, people begin to sort of whittle away at options and to narrow things down, and to come up with different points for discussion. And what happens is, as you narrow in on certain options, then you say, okay, what are practical considerations we have to take into account? There has been no inflection point in the last week that has dramatically changed things ....

It's reassuring to know that this delay wasn't cause by an "inflection point" -- whatever that is. That term and Snow's use of the word "tasking" were among the linguistic highlights from yesterday's press briefing.
REPORTER: So just to get this clear, the reason for the delay is, number one, the complexity of the Iraq issue, and not because the President learned something in the last week that changed his mind?

SNOW: That is correct. There are also even other considerations that I've not yet mentioned ...
So what this boils down to is that Bush has now realized that the situation in Iraq is complex. What a revelation.

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