Helen thomas savages Ari Fleischer
Ari Fleischer took a savage beating from the feisty dean of the Washington press corps, Helen Thomas. Be sure and dig Ari’s spinning, and the insidious idea that the Iraqis are somehow respsonsible for Saddam Hussein. Comments by me in italics.
January 6, 2003
12:35 P.M. EST
MR. FLEISCHER: Good afternoon and happy New Year to everybody. The President began his day with an intelligence briefing, followed by an FBI briefing. Then he had a series of policy briefings. And this afternoon, the President will look forward to a Cabinet meeting where the President will discuss with members of his Cabinet his agenda for the year. The President is going to focus on economic growth, making America a more compassionate country, and providing for the security of our nation abroad and on the homefront.
And with that, I’m more than happy to take your questions. Helen.
Q At the earlier briefing, Ari, you said that the President deplored the taking of innocent lives. Does that apply to all innocent lives in the world? And I have a follow-up.
Here’s the setup.
MR. FLEISCHER: I refer specifically to a horrible terrorist attack on Tel Aviv that killed scores and wounded hundreds. And the President, as he said in his statement yesterday, deplores in the strongest terms the taking of those lives and the wounding of those people, innocents in Israel.
Q My follow-up is, why does he want to drop bombs on innocent Iraqis?
Pow. He really should have seen this one coming.
MR. FLEISCHER: Helen, the question is how to protect Americans, and our allies and friends —
Q They’re not attacking you.
MR. FLEISCHER: — from a country —
Q Have they laid the glove on you or on the United States, the Iraqis, in 11 years?
MR. FLEISCHER: I guess you have forgotten about the Americans who were killed in the first Gulf War as a result of Saddam Hussein’s aggression then.
I guess Ari is forgetting that of the 148 Americans who died in the first Gulf War, 35 were killed by “friendly fire,” more than 10 times the rate in other 20th century wars. And what about those Canadian troops who died in Afghanistan after a U.S. pilot bombed them?
Q Is this revenge, 11 years of revenge?
MR. FLEISCHER: Helen, I think you know very well that the President’s position is that he wants to avert war, and that the President has asked the United Nations to go into Iraq to help with the purpose of averting war.
Actually, he’s asked the U.N. to go in to find reasons to justify war.
Q Would the President attack innocent Iraqi lives?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President wants to make certain that he can defend our country, defend our interests, defend the region, and make certain that American lives are not lost.
Q And he thinks they are a threat to us?
MR. FLEISCHER: There is no question that the President thinks that Iraq is a threat to the United States.
Q The Iraqi people?
MR. FLEISCHER: The Iraqi people are represented by their government. If there was regime change, the Iraqi —
OK. So the Iraqis are now responsible for Saddam Hussein, since he was “elected” in a farce ballot back in October.
Q So they will be vulnerable?
MR. FLEISCHER: Actually, the President has made it very clear that he has no dispute with the people of Iraq. That’s why the American policy remains a policy of regime change. There is no question the people of Iraq —
Oops! Now they’re not represented by Saddam Hussein, who is evil. EVIL we tell you.
Q That’s a decision for them to make, isn’t it? It’s their country.
MR. FLEISCHER: Helen, if you think that the people of Iraq are in a position to dictate who their dictator is, I don’t think that has been what history has shown.
Helen, when it comes to being in a position to dictate who dictates in a country, that’s the United States’ job, you hippie freak
Q I think many countries don’t have — people don’t have the decision — including us.
I was thinking the same thing.