One of the nice things about being out of power is that Helen Thomas is now the Democrats’ problem. I doubt that her face ever launched any ships, but by now she must have alternately confused and terrorized close to a thousand White House press secretaries. Today, at Robert Gibbs’ White House press conference, she teed off on the President’s plans for Afghanistan and Pakistan (the transcript doesn’t identify the questioner, but it could only have been Thomas):
QUESTION: What proof does the president have to become so hawkish now and to raise the ante on troop level going in? We were misled so much on Iraq. Why shouldn’t we be misled again?
GIBBS: Well, regrettably, I think in — in 2001 we learned the danger of giving extremists that hope and wish us harm the space and the safe haven to plan, practice, coordinate, and ultimately execute deadly attacks on this country.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) why don’t the American people get more evidence?
GIBBS: Well, I — I — one, I think the American…
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) going back to 2001.
GIBBS: Well, no, I’m using 2001 as — as certainly one example, obviously, a fairly poignant one. But I — I think it is — without getting into details that I can’t get into, when the president talks about continuing to get assessments on just how dangerous this part of the world is, I think they can be assured that this region of the world presents many dangers for this country. I think this region of the world dangers for Afghanistan.
And, look, regrettably, just today we can see that extremists in this area pose danger to Pakistan. You know, the leader of Pakistan is in power because the leader before was assassinated. I forget the exact number of people that were killed today in a bomb blast. I think there’s very credible evidence that — that the threat exists and that the president will do all in his power to protect the American people.
QUESTION: Are they wrong to not want us there?
GIBBS: Is who wrong?
QUESTION: Are the Afghans?
GIBBS: Well, again, we’re — we’re — we’re there to ensure that Al Qaida and its affiliates don’t create a safe haven and don’t topple the Afghan government and ultimately use that space to plan and execute those attacks. The president, obviously, has spoken with leaders of both Afghanistan and Pakistan and they understand why we’re there.
Given the confusion the Democrats sowed over Iraq, it serves them right to have to deal with the paranoid left on Afghanistan. I’m still not sure, though, what sort of “evidence” Ms. Thomas has in mind.
By the way, I think I heard somewhere that someone is making a movie about Helen Thomas. Can that possibly be true? Is is possible to imagine a movie more certain to lose money? I thought the banks had stopped lending…
Actually, one nugget of possible news did emerge from today’s press conference, in this exchange on Afghanistan:
QUESTION: The president also said, “We will insist that action be taken one way or another.” Does that suggest that, if the Pakistanis do not act, others will have to?
GIBBS: I think that’s a reasonable reading of that. And I think it’s consistent with the president’s policies and what he’s said throughout the campaign.
I don’t know how to read that except as a pledge that the U.S. will invade (or attack inside) Pakistan, if necessary. Obama talked about invading Pakistan during the campaign, but I don’t think many people took him seriously. Maybe we should have.