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Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Guest writer 

Reader jk writes:
Today's Press Briefing, proof that it's hard to keep your policy straight when you don't have a policy:

Q How are you going to get unity, strength and resolve if you have large populations in Europe opposed to what the United States has done? And if you get the leadership to shift, as happened in this election in Spain --

MR. McCLELLAN: Let's distinguish here, there's the global war on terrorism, and I think in some instances you're referring to some differences on Iraq. What's important to remember is that -- I think that we would disagree with some of the suggestions you made in your question there. I think many of the Iraqi people would disagree, and I think that the coalition in Iraq would disagree.

Then later...

Q Scott, there are some conservatives who believe that there's a real crisis in the transatlantic relationship over the war on terror. You said just a minute ago that there's a difference between supporting the U.S. in the war on terror and Iraq. But you're the one --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I said let's make a distinction there. I mean, he was --
Q All right, but you guys don't make that distinction.
MR. McCLELLAN: It's the global war on terrorism --
Q Now, wait a second. The central front in the war on terror is Iraq, according to this President.
MR. McCLELLAN: And countries are contributing in many different ways in the war on terrorism. And you have more than 30 countries participating on the ground in Iraq.

Q But in the central front -- in the central front. Is not the litmus test for Spain, for instance, whether they keep troops on the ground in Iraq as to whether they're going to really cooperate in the war on terror?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, one, let's not prejudge things. You have a new government coming into power. The President had a very good conversation with the leader of the new government just yesterday. And the President said he looks forward to continuing to work with him in the fight against terrorism.

Now, Iraq is the central front now in the war on terrorism. The terrorists have made that very clear. They realize the stakes are very high there. The stakes are high in the war on terrorism. And advancing freedom and democracy is a key component of winning the war on terrorism. The Middle East is a very dangerous part of the world. And what we are achieving for the Iraqi people will also help bring about more stability in that part of the world. And that helps make the world a safer place and a better place.

But look, we're going to work -- we're going to work with the Spanish government in the fight against terrorism.
Poor, poor Scotty. Thanks, JK.
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