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Tony Snow: Next Operation Will be Factual Surge

5:29 PM, Jul 12, 2007 • By BRIAN FAUGHNAN
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Ask and you shall receive...

Earlier today I wrote about the need to change how Americans think about Iraq, and this afternoon White House Press Secretary Tony Snow explained to a number of bloggers his planned contribution: a 'surge of facts.'

Snow spoke about the new audio/visual features of the revamped White House briefing room. He plans to take full advantage of the new features to give the American people 'a surge of facts.' He explained that representatives and senators aren't shifting stances on Iraq in a vacuum; they're responding to what they hear from their constituents. And all the American people see, Snow said, is imagery of carnage and death in Iraq. In the face of what's presented to them, Snow indicated surprise that anyone supports the effort.

The surge of facts will give a "fuller, richer, more nuanced and accurate picture" of what is going on in Iraq today. New data on progress in Iraq will be made easily available; it will be properly sourced; and, it will be done with visuals that make it more accessible. Snow plans to show video and slides with hard data as part of the online feed. There will be no spin, just the facts--good and bad.

Snow hit on several points frequently. One was that the American people don't want failure. They want to know that the United States is in Iraq to win. They want to know about the progress being made--the transformation of regions like Anbar, and the shift by ordinary Iraqis away from the insurgency and toward the political process. Snow pointed out that as the people realize that al Qaeda offers not a glorious caliphate, but injustice and the slaughter of men, women and children, they will become increasingly grateful to the United States. As the American people come to understand this better, Snow was optimistic that their attitudes will change.

In response to one question, Snow told us to think about a simple image: a seed. He said that the United States has planted a seed in Iraq, and it will yield either democracy or tyranny. If we leave Iraq, we create a vacuum for al Qaeda and give them access to that nation's vast wealth. Arab states and Iraq's neighbors will reconsider the security equation--downgrading the value of a partnership with the United States and attaching more importance to al Qaeda and Iran.

Late in the call, Snow talked about a video conference that recently took place between American students and Iraqi college students. Both groups were asked whether the US should leave Iraq. All the Americans said the United States should depart, and they were surprised when all the Iraqis said the United States should stay.

Snow asked for our help in convincing those Americans that it's the Iraqis who have it right.