Less than two months ago, President Bush said explicitly that the United States was “winning” in Iraq. 10/25/06:
REPORTER: Are we winning?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Absolutely, we’re winning.
This weekend, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said that “we’re not winning. We are losing.” Asked about Powell’s comments, Snow replied, “I’m not playing the game any more.” Watch it:
Q Can I just come back to Powell one more time? Just to be clear, one of the points of disagreement, we are losing, you disagree with that?
MR. SNOW: Again, the President has said before that we are winning. Look, what Colin Powell is saying, we’re not winning, so therefore we must be losing, and then he says, all is not lost. So I’m just — I’m not going to get — what I am saying is that we will win and we have to win, and that’s the most important — that’s the most –
Q You’re not disagreeing with him?
MR. SNOW: I’m just — I’m not playing the game anymore. It’s one of these things where you end up — it all ends up trying to — you’re trying to summarize a complex situation with a single word or gerund, or even a participle. And the fact is that what you really need to do is to take a look at the situation and understand that it is vital to win, that there is — by winning, that means to have an independent Iraq that really does stand on its own as a democratic and free state that supports us in the war on terror.
Q Can I ask the gerund another way? The President said in October, “Absolutely, we’re winning.” Is that still his belief today?
MR. SNOW: Again, the President — that’s why I’m just — I think at this point it ceases to be fruitful to jump into this. We think that what is happening is we are going to win and that we need to find better ways of dealing with the sectarian problem.