Same man, different minute

Tony Snow on the politics of terrorism.

Published September 5, 2006 9:13PM (EDT)

White House press secretary Tony Snow, responding, during this morning's press gaggle, to a letter in which Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats urged George W. Bush to consider firing Donald Rumsfeld: "Creating Don Rumsfeld as a boogeyman may make for good politics, but would make for a lousy strategy at this time."

White House press secretary Tony Snow, during the same press gaggle, explaining why there's nothing political about the president's latest speeches on terrorism: "Do you think it's suspect to discuss in the final stretches of the campaign the issues that are foremost in the mind of the American public? I don't think it's suspect at all. I don't recall somebody calling up Harry Reid and saying, this letter is suspect; Nancy Pelosi, this letter is suspect, why are you doing this now?"

Update: As Think Progress reports, Snow had a busy day on the selective-memory front. Appearing on CNN this afternoon, Snow brushed off a question from Wolf Blitzer about Gen. Eric Shinseki's pre-war warning that it would take several hundred thousand soldiers to prosecute the Iraq war.

"As I recall, what Eric Shinseki was talking about at the time is what was required to go in and take Baghdad," Snow said. "It turns out that it was the most effective military operation in history . . . so swift and more rapid than anyone perceived at the time."

In fact, what Shinseki told the Senate Armed Services Committee in February 2003 was that "something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers" would probably be required for "post-hostilities control over a piece of geography thats fairly significant with the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems." Shinseki added, rather presciently: "It takes significant ground force presence to maintain safe and secure environment to ensure that the people are fed, that water is distributed, all the normal responsibilities that go along with administering a situation like this."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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