Last week, I actually saw and heard Dana Perino say these words: “We’re fighting them there so we don’t have to fight them here, Helen.” I’m pretty sure she was talking to Helen Thomas wherein Helen had
trapped Dana asked a question of Dana. Or maybe it wasn’t even Helen. Maybe I just want it to be Helen since Helen does an extraordinary job of schooling Ms Perino.
[See here: It was March 24, 2008 – press briefing; the reporter is not identified. It’s halfway down the page/screen.]
Q You mentioned the brutal enemy in Iraq. To what extent was that enemy present before the U.S. invaded?
MS. PERINO: You know, I’m — there was a report last week that came out from the Defense Department that I would refer you to. It has lots of experts providing input and it’s detailed all throughout there.
There’s no doubt that Secretary — I’m sorry, excuse me, Saddam Hussein was a state sponsor of terrorism. So let me refer you to that report; it’s quite detailed.
What we know is that al Qaeda has decided to make Iraq the central front in their war on terror and we are fighting them there so that we don’t have to fight them here. And one of the things that has helped us is a hugely significant event of the Sunni Arabs in Iraq deciding to turn against al Qaeda and to work with us instead to fight against them.
Q But al Qaeda wasn’t in Iraq, in its current form or in its post-invasion form —
MS. PERINO: In its current form, no. But let me refer you to that report, they have some very interesting information in there.
I wonder if this is what Dana meant?
A total of 923 civilians were killed in March, up 31 percent from February and the deadliest month since August 2007, according to data compiled by Iraq’s interior, defense and health ministries and obtained by Reuters.
The figures are a blow to the Iraqi government and the United States, which have pointed to reduced overall levels of violence in recent months as evidence that a major security offensive has made significant progress.
In passing yesterday afternoon I heard Barbara Starr on CNN mention that 200 civilians had been killed in the last six days. It just blows me away how so acceptable that appears to be.