Helen Thomas got no answers from Tony Snow at Friday's gaggle. Why won't the White House release any combat figures, hmmmm? And of course they won't comment on any investigation on Hadley's memo. Everyone else that leaks is a traitor, but since the WH was the leaker of Hadley---"no comment."
Q I have two questions. Since the President knows how many Iraqis were killed in the two months period, how many were killed in the four years of war?
MR. SNOW: Two things; I know you asked the question in the gaggle. What you had was the President had a briefing on how many people were killed in combat activities. The Iraqi government, itself, compiles its own statistics on those who have died in the violence. I am sure that there is a briefing paper that has that exact number on it, or at least their best guesses on it.
Maybe the one important number is the nearly 27 million Iraqis no longer have to live under the terror and despotism of Saddam Hussein. They have an elected government, which many of them risked their lives to vote for. It's a unity government. And one of the chief aims, as we've just pointed out, is to get rid of the violence that is claiming lives unnecessarily and to allow that democracy to move forward peacefully.
Q That isn't an answer.
MR. SNOW: Yes, it is.
Q Why? Why can't you count the number who were killed in four years?
MR. SNOW: Well, apparently it's a difficult task, and I would refer you to the government of Iraq.
Q How do you know 5,900 were killed in two months?
MR. SNOW: I'm telling you, those are the confirmed kills on the battlefield as passed on by commanders.
Q And what about going after ACLU, when you didn't go after the Hadley memo --
MR. SNOW: We do not talk about any ongoing court activities. You know that, Helen.
Q But you are going after the ACLU, aren't you?
MR. SNOW: As I said, we don't -- you could chase me around the table as many times as you want on it, but we do not comment on ongoing court activities.
Q That's not fair.
MR. SNOW: It may not be fair, but it's the policy of any administration not to talk about ongoing court activities.
Q As a former newsman --
MR. SNOW: As a former newsman, I know when to stop chasing somebody around the podium. This is a case where it has always been the standard of administrations, Democratic and Republican, that you do not talk about ongoing court issues.