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Home > News & Policies > Press Secretary Briefings

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 26, 2006

Press Briefing by Tony Snow
James S. Brady Briefing Room

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12:29 P.M. EDT

MR. SNOW: A lot of people traveling with the President -- well, good to have you all here. One little scheduling note: Tonight the Vice President will be hosting a dinner for Prime Minister Maliki. They'll be at the Naval Observatory. There will be the Prime Minister's traveling party. On the U.S. side, Liz Cheney; John Hannah of the NSC; Zal Khalilzad, our Ambassador to Iraq; Secretary Gutierrez, Secretary Bodman, and General Hayden.

Speaking of Prime Minister Maliki, he has now spoken to Congress. It's probably worth noting a couple of things. He gave, I think, an important talk on the nature of war on terror, saying that the fates of the United States and Iraq are interlinked, and furthermore, as he said, "Should democracy be allowed to fail in Iraq and terror permitted to triumph, then the war on terror will never be won elsewhere." That's why the President has said we will win the war on terror in Iraq, and we will win in Iraq. And Prime Minister Maliki demonstrating the kind of determination that I think was impressive to members of Congress.

It's also worth noting that the Prime Minister illustrates one of the benefits that we've talked about in terms of democracies. If you listen to the speech, what happens in a democracy is that it's no longer -- a government is no longer a dictator's play thing, it, in fact, becomes a servant of the people. Therefore, he talked about the fact that you've got a free press in Iraq. He talked about the fact that there's an active effort to secure equal rights for women. He talked about the fact that the economy is growing and that they are working to eliminate the vestiges of state ownership. He talked about the fact that those who try to kill innocents will meet with justice. He said that Iraq will not become a launch pad for al Qaeda -- all, I think, are important notes.

Also, Secretary of State Condi Rice has now departed Rome and she's making her way to Malaysia. But let me run through very quickly, because I know there has been a lot of talk about what was accomplished in Rome today, and what you had is a statement that very much mirrors the statement delivered by the G8 ministers not so long ago. And it is this: The status quo cannot persist in southern Lebanon. It is time to make sure that U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 -- which talks about the integrity of the Lebanese government within Lebanese borders; it talks about the inadmissability of internal militias or foreign states -- needs to be fulfilled. And that is going to require Hezbollah standing down.

And we were happy that Secretary of State Kofi Annan

-- Secretary General Kofi Annan did mention Iran and Syria. And it's important to realize also that we do regard a cease-fire as urgent. We also regard the humanitarian situation as urgent, and are acting as rapidly as we can on both fronts. The United States will remain in consultation with allies about appropriate measures and we'll try to find ways to make conditions proper for a cease-fire.

In addition, it's -- I'll repeat something I said at the gaggle, which is that Elliott Abrams and David Welch from the National Security Council and Department of State, respectively, are returning to the region to continue consulting with partners and allies on how to move forward.

And with that as preface, Jennifer.

Q Thanks. This Israeli strike on the U.N. post in Lebanon, how worried is the White House that's going to complicate efforts to get agreement on the details of how to end the violence? And how worried are you all that it's going to reduce patience overall with the Israelis?

MR. SNOW: I think those are all speculative questions. It's worth noting that the Israelis are also troubled by the attack and they are mounting a full investigation. They've told Secretary Annan that they -- Secretary General Annan that they not only intend to find out, but they're going to share with him all the results. In effect, they're going to let him see the investigation as it proceeds.

It's a terrible thing, there's no denying it. But on the other hand, it's also equally important to recognize that the conditions on the ground where Hezbollah has actively jeopardized the Lebanese democracy by acting independently and acting in a manner waging its own acts of violence on a sovereign state nearby, that has to be addressed. That status quo ante to have Hezbollah free to do those things simply cannot exist and persist. And that is something on which all parties agree.

Q So, are you saying that there have been no -- there's no sense yet so far that the patience with the Israeli campaign is reducing?

MR. SNOW: The presumption of the question is that there's lurking impatience. What we're trying to do -- again, the onus here goes on Hezbollah, not on Israel. But the Israelis also need to practice restraint, which we have said from the very beginning. And they understand all the ramifications of that. But in terms of patience/impatience, I'm not sure it's helpful to characterize it that way, and I'm not sure, even if I knew some way to calibrate it, I could describe it.

Q Doesn't it show, though, that the Israelis might have a difficult time practicing restraint?

MR. SNOW: I don't think so. I mean, Israelis, for one thing, have tried to do targeting -- tried to hold down civilian casualties and collateral damage. They've made that clear. The other thing is the Israelis have also made clear their concerns about the humanitarian situation, both in this specific instance by saying to the U.N., yes, we're troubled, and you're going to be able to see what's going on, but also by opening up land, sea and air humanitarian corridors. That is not the act of a nation that is calloused about what is going on.

Jim.

Q Tony, characterize for me, if you will, the -- after the Rome meetings, are we any closer to stopping the violence?

MR. SNOW: Again, the violence starts with Hezbollah. And I don't -- we don't stop the violence, they do. Now, what I -- but I think -- well, I want to say that as preface, Jim. It's pretty clear now, with the G8 statement and the Rome statement, and also actions that have been taken within the region, that it is realized that Hezbollah is a threat to peace in the region. And there is also the recognition that Iran and Syria play a role in supporting and funding Hezbollah. And they now have -- it's been pretty clear that in the region and around the world, people want them to assert pressure on Hezbollah.

Meanwhile, we've said to Israel, you need to practice restraint. We've been very clear about that, as well. But the conditions for peace begin with Hezbollah's stopping the terror, returning the soldiers, stopping firing rockets. You've heard the formulation many times. That doesn't change.

Q I understand that. But let me ask the question another way. Someone is going to hear that there was a meeting this morning -- oh, Secretary of State Rice was in Rome, met with members of the international community. The question is going to be, are we any closer to getting this thing stopped. What's the answer?

MR. SNOW: The answer is, again, the people -- it's like you're watching a fight over there and you're talking about different ways to affect it. You've got to get the people who are doing the fighting to stop, and that begins with Hezbollah, Hezbollah being the instigator. That is the key element here.

And the answer is -- I don't want to get in the position of assuming a God-like view of being able to tell you what's going to happen tomorrow, because I don't think it's a question that I can answer, or anybody else can answer. I'll tell you what is possible to answer, which is that the international community now is speaking with a pretty united voice on this, and that's the important thing. I think you're going to see coordinated efforts, diplomatically, and at some point, militarily, as well, in addressing the situation.

Q So what you think came out of there today, especially after that press availability at the end, what you think the take-away from watching all of that, is there's more of a unified voice today than there was yesterday?

MR. SNOW: Yes. And also everybody now realizes, okay, we've got to start working on certain things together. And it's not like they have a meeting, break up, and don't talk anymore. Again, we're maintaining a diplomatic presence in the region and there will be continued extensive negotiations -- I'd say consultations

-- as I've told you, each and every day. The Departments of State and Defense, plus the National Security Council are talking with people all throughout.

So this is one where I think within the region and within Europe, you've got a lot of people who are very aggressively trying to figure out how to do their part. It's not just the United States, and each and every ally I think is pitching in.

Q Tony, if I could follow. Prime Minister Siniora, after his talks, was clearly disappointed. He said they'd hoped to agree to an immediate cease-fire. He said his country is being brought to its knees. And he also said that every day that there's not an immediate cease-fire, more Lebanese are dying. How does that complicate the United States' position to move forward and not undermine support from Arab allies, who are looking at this policy and saying, look, this is going to cost civilian casualties the more we wait?

MR. SNOW: I don't think it complicates the American situation; I think it strengthens our resolve to get it solved, and solved in the right way, so that we are not back here six months, a year, two years, three years from now talking about the same sort of thing. What we're talking about is building a sustainable and durable peace, which I think is important. And, more importantly, who cares what I think, it's what the administration thinks is important. And, therefore, it redoubles the commitment there. And, again, you're finding -- this is moving on several tracks. On the humanitarian track, the United States announced a commitment of $30 million yesterday. That was followed by a Saudi commitment of $1.5 billion. Iraq has pitched in $35 million. You had Jordan providing -- cargo planes were moving into Beirut today.

So you see two things going on: number one, trying to address the root cause of the violence. You don't address the root cause, it doesn't go away. And Lebanon has been the victim of violence for way too long, and instability for way too long. This is a nation that deserves peace and democracy. And that is the ultimate goal, to create the conditions where that happens without having to worry about outside influence, without having to worry about groups working internally like Hezbollah, where the people can express their will and move on peacefully.

Going back to the comments I made about Iraq, when you have a democratically-elected government, absent the kinds of situations you have in Lebanon, people do what they do here and in every other democracy, which is that they cater to the will of the people. And at this point, you've got a faction within Lebanon that is operating as an independent entity, and that's not only unacceptable in terms of the United Nations resolutions, but it makes the nation untenable. And it's important to make sure that the Siniora government not only survives, but is able to assert effective sovereignty throughout the country in all ways, and that is the goal.

Civilian casualties we hate; we deplore, we mourn the loss of all of them. That has been clear. And it's one of the reasons why the United States has pressed hard not only for humanitarian assistance, also for those that have been displaced, because that is also an ongoing tragedy. So we are concerned about those things, but also, we are concerned about a country that has been living under occupation for quite a while, has gotten a whiff of democracy, and we want to make sure that that flower has an opportunity to grow.

Q The Siniora government and other world leaders are saying, however, that the U.S. policy, the more you delay the cease-fire, that it's not immediate, that that will cause more casualties, more civilian lives.

MR. SNOW: No, that's argumentative, and I think, again, the calculation here -- for instance, you take a look at the statement out of Rome today is -- it's urgent. It was not a call for an immediate cease-fire. This was an agreement that was signed by all parties. But is it urgent? Yes. As I've said many times, we would love a cease-fire yesterday. But, unfortunately, the conditions for a durable and sustainable peace are not yet present. And most importantly, the people who started the fight, Hezbollah, have given absolutely no indications -- those who are involved in military activities -- that they intend to cease and desist. Quite the contrary. We are hoping that diplomatically, others can persuade them to lay down arms and join civil society, and choose a political rather than military course. But that simply hasn't happened yet.

Helen.

Q Earlier, we touched on this subject, and my question is, does Syria have any place at the peace table?

MR. SNOW: I don't think that there is an official role, but it is obvious that at this point that there are consultations with the government of Syria. And, again, the Syrian government certainly knows what the U.S. position is. But other nations have been speaking with the Syrians, and we're aware of some of those conversations.

Q Does the U.S. have a new sense of urgency about a cease-fire?

MR. SNOW: No, the U.S. has had a sense of urgency all along. Again, we dispatched diplomats to the region very shortly after this began. There is no new sense of urgency. There's been a sense of urgency all along.

What has been, I think, an important commitment on the part of this government is to build the kind of diplomatic might so that we're not simply acting alone, but, in fact, you've got a lot of people with a lot of interest and a lot of equity in the region who can, all in different ways, support the mission of creating those conditions for a sustainable peace.

Jessica.

Q Going back to the U.N. observers that were killed, the Israelis have said they were not deliberately targeted. Does the President accept that as --

MR. SNOW: I haven't spoken to the President, but I think you've -- look, the Israelis -- I think you take the Israelis at their word, but also, the Israelis are doing an investigation into it, and they're trying to figure out precisely what happened. Clearly, something went wrong. And it's important to find out what went wrong and to try to ensure that it never happens again. And I think I'll let the Israelis speak for themselves on that.

Q Tony, understanding that terrorist groups are very unpredictable and that they obviously want to cause terror, you and others in this administration have said it's hard, if not impossible, to negotiate a cease-fire with a terrorist group, paint a picture of an end game here that does not get to eliminating Hezbollah.

MR. SNOW: I can't do that, and I don't think it's appropriate for me to do that. Look, I think what you've got to talk about here -- you are talking about a coordinated international effort, and I am sure people are trying to figure out what the appropriate benchmarks are. This would sort of fall under the category of my trying to negotiate from the podium, or also try to dictate terms and conditions.

I think the important thing is Hezbollah has to make the decision: Does it use terror as a weapon, does it use it as a political tool, or does it cease using it? Does it want to take a military path, or does it want to take a political path? And we've seen those choices posed in a number of other places, including in Iraq. That is the choice that terrorists around the world are going to have to make. And if they choose the terror path, you have to find ways to make them cease and desist.

Q If somebody sitting at home hears the sustainable cease-fire and hears it's tough to negotiate, or impossible to negotiate a cease-fire with a terrorist group, and then they hear the Israelis saying the Americans essentially have given us 10 to 14 days to finish this up, what is that person supposed to think?

MR. SNOW: Two things. I'm not aware that the Israelis have said that, but I'll take your word for it. The second thing is people at home probably realize that wars, again, don't operate according to calendars, they operate according to conditions on the ground. What we were hoping to do is to get conditions that are going to be conducive.

I think people also understand that if you have the presence of a destabilizing force within a nation and it is still able to weaken the government, that is a situation that cannot persist. And there are many different ways of measuring it. I'm just not sure I have, Brett, the wisdom or the ability to try to come up with a metric for that. It's something though that I think in its own way becomes apparent to those involved.

Q Tony, a couple of questions. One --

MR. SNOW: Is this on Iraq? Or is this on --

Q No, it's different.

MR. SNOW: Okay, let's -- I want to stay on Iraq. Victoria.

Q Yes, this is on Iraq. In Iraq right now, there are -- of fatwas being issued, banning women from driving, or being seen out alone; you've got women being stoned for wearing make-up and professional women being murdered. And in his speech this morning, al-Maliki praised the high status of women in Iraq. Would you acknowledge that, in fact, the status of women in Iraq is perilous right now?

MR. SNOW: I don't know that it would be perilous because that would assume that the things that you talk about are, in fact, universal. But I will go back to what the Prime Minister did say, because he acknowledges that -- he says that it's important to acknowledge the rights chartered in the constitution will also help consolidate the role of women in public life and help them play a greater role in public life. It is clear that he thinks that there still is the importance of having a greater role. But I'm not going to try to do a full human rights analysis. It is clear that Prime Minister Maliki is devoted to the cause of the rights of women. And I would redirect to Iraqi officials specific questions about fatwas. A, I don't know anything about them, and, B, I think it's their job to respond.

Q The stance of many human rights groups is that what's happening with women now is, in fact, worse than what was happening under the regime of Saddam Hussein.

MR. SNOW: Again, I redirect to them. I have a feeling -- the Prime Minister also made the point that Iraq has moved to a point of elections and not mass graves. We can argue this both ways, I suppose, but I think a situation where people are being dumped into mass graves by a regime that used murder as simply a way of clearing up what it saw as political difficulties is far different than one that tries to deal with its political difficulties by appealing to the needs and desires of the people.

Q Even if you can't control the people?

MR. SNOW: I don't think the purpose of a government is to control the people, it's to respond to their will.

Q Also, the Maliki speech, there was no reference to Hezbollah in there and responsibility. Did the White House make any request that there be such a reference?

MR. SNOW: No. No. But I think the Prime Minister -- I don't know why everybody here wants the Prime Minister to come and talk about a different set of problems. He's the Prime Minister of Iraq.

Q He also spoke about the global war on terror, about how fighting terror --

MR. SNOW: That's right. And he also understands that Iraq is the centerpiece of that, and that a failure to address and combat and vanquish terror there would have catastrophic effects throughout the world. His job is to be the Prime Minister of Iraq, and I would expect him to go before the United States Congress and not only talk in general terms about where they've gone, but where he intends to go.

This is a chance for members of the Congress and for Americans to assess somebody who is now the head of a sovereign state. We have put much -- we have committed some of our finest young men and women to service there; 2,600 have lost their lives; we've spent billions of dollars. This is important for many Americans. And the Prime Minister, I think, is making it clear that he is not somebody who takes these sacrifices lightly. The first thing he did was to thank the American people, and also to give a sense that he is determined to make sure -- and this gets to the point Victoria was making -- that you get a democracy that secures the rights of all people, and also demonstrates to the region that such a thing is possible in that part of the world.

Q On this trip, he's, in effect, giving a group that the administration has identified as a terrorist group a free pass?

MR. SNOW: No. As a matter of fact, I think Senator Harry Reid was saying that he has received some word that the Iraqi foreign ministry is going to come out with a statement condemning Hezbollah. Prime Minister Maliki has never delivered a statement supporting it.

So, again, what you're trying to do is to pick a fight. And I understand it; it's colorful, it's interesting, but it's the Prime Minister's job to serve as the Prime Minister of Iraq. And he understands how the war on terror operates far more personally than any of us. He's living in Baghdad, he's living in the condition; he's seen people try to destabilize his government every day. He understands the human toll, he understands the economic toll. And I think he talked very directly about those things, and I think it's -- again, it's a message that I'm glad people get to hear.

Q Tony, did the President speak with Secretary Rice since the morning news conference in Rome? And, if so --

MR. SNOW: I don't know. I don't have any readout of conversations.

Q He has talked to her?

MR. SNOW: No, I don't know. I don't know. I mean, it was pretty tight, because she made her way from Rome and is now in the air, I know, on her way to Malaysia. Certainly there have been contacts with members of the State Department -- I was doing some of these. So I don't honestly know if there was a direct conversation with the President, but I guarantee you the President will have gotten a readout, and may, in fact, be getting calls from the plane, as well. I'll try to find out. We'll attach a footnote if we've got any context on it.

Let's stick with questions on the area. Richard.

Q Yes, Tony, you said that the United States government is urging Israel to be -- to use restraint.

MR. SNOW: Yes.

Q Are they using restraint?

MR. SNOW: I'm not going to characterize. I will give you our position, but I'm not going to get into the position -- we've been through this a lot of trying to grade the activities -- because among other things, it would require my knowing what all the conditions and considerations are. And I don't. And I dare say even very wise and involved people in this country don't know each and every consideration that goes into specific battle plans. That is a question that I think can only be answered in hindsight, not from here.

Q I'd like to button this up on Syria.

MR. SNOW: Okay.

Q Every time we sort of ask, you say, well, they probably know our position, et cetera. They have an ambassador in town, et cetera.

MR. SNOW: Right.

Q But can you tell us directly, have United States officials formally spoken to either the Syrian ambassador here, the folks in Damascus, to say, hey, you are a sponsor of these folks, help us stop them, rein them in, whatever?

MR. SNOW: I am not aware of recent conversations along those lines. I am aware that they have access to electronic communications including this. So let me be clear one more time: You need to do your part. But the ambassador -- so I don't know -- and I also don't know what would count as a contact. I honestly don't know if Ambassador Mustafa has spoken to people at State or elsewhere.

Q Do you have a sense that there's a feeling that there would be a value to that? Or are we --

MR. SNOW: No, as a matter of fact, let me -- Secretary Rice sort of addressed this a little bit today, and let me see if I've got the comments with me, because she's talked about the fact -- Colin Powell, Richard Armitage, Bill Burns, a number of others over the years maintained pretty active contact with the Syrians. In addition, the President, I think as recently as 2004, had dispatched a letter to President Assad. So it is clear that there have been, over the last 30 years, many, many, many attempts to deal directly with the Syrians and it has yielded no discernable fruit.

And so at this particular point, the Syrians know our position. But more importantly, a number of other countries that may in the past have been silent about it are no longer silent -- both publically and privately. And this would include people in the neighborhood. So the more significant -- the Syrians know what our position is, but now that they know their neighbors share substantially the same concerns, that may make a difference. I don't know. We'll have to see.

Q Tony, I have one on that area and one domestic.

MR. SNOW: Okay, we'll sever it -- well, okay, let's just do it. Let's get it over with. (Laughter.)

Q I appreciate it. Thank you. Since Hezbollah is a terrorist organization that has killed hundreds of Americans, why is it that the President wants Israel to cut short its war to destroy its infrastructure, since that is what the President pledged to do to all international terrorist organizations after September the 11th?

MR. SNOW: Counselor, the question is argumentative, presumptuous, and makes assumptions not in evidence. (Laughter.)

Q That was a network question, but all right. Tony, The Washington Post --

MR. SNOW: Let me just apologize personally to the network for legal jargon. Continue. (Laughter.)

Q Well, we'll quote you. The Washington Post this morning quoted Maryland's Lieutenant Governor and Republican U.S. Senate candidate, Michael Steele, as saying that being a Republican is "like wearing a scarlet letter," and that he does not want the President to campaign for him this fall. And my question: Since Nathaniel Hawthorne's original scarlet letter was "A" for adultery, and Mr. Steele has, in effect, told the President to stay away from his campaign, are you just going to respond to this with an icy silence or an irritable evasion?

Q Beautiful smile -- he's got a gorgeous smile.

MR. SNOW: We have the broad sweep of literary history here. Let's walk through a couple of things. I am told by some of the reporters who were at the scene that it was mischaracterized. But I will leave to people who were there to characterize more fully the statements that were made.

Number two, the President, the First Lady, the President's father, I believe the Vice President -- the Vice President, Karl Rove, this administration has been in Maryland campaigning for Michael Steele. We want him to become the next U.S. senator.

Q Yes, and how grateful has he been? He said he doesn't want the President to campaign any more.

MR. SNOW: Well, again, I've received characterizations, but having not been in the room, I think it's probably not up to me to say exactly what happened. There are probably different versions, and I would refer you either to the people who are elbowing up with him, or

-- because, apparently -- well, in any event, or to Mr. Steele, himself. I'm just not going to --

Q You remember Tennyson's a great statement that "in gratitude thou marble-hearted fiend"? (Laughter.)

MR. SNOW: Once again, you're leaping ahead. I think I've made my point on this.

Q Did the President have an emotional reaction when he heard about Steele's comments?

MR. SNOW: Not that I'm aware of. I wasn't there.

Q And does he still support his candidacy?

MR. SNOW: Yes, he does.

Q We're all going to have to start wearing A's for "American" in a minute. On Beirut, NBC and -- I hope I've got the right network -- NBC had a fascinating report about Beirut, showing the Christian section saying it hadn't been changed at all. There are other reports that said only one percent of Beirut has been bombed. Is this true, and if so, what --

MR. SNOW: I honestly don't know. I'm just not in a position. Look, whatever the case, Connie, we are certainly concerned about civilian casualties. And we realize that the process of building and rebuilding democracy in Lebanon has two parts to it. Number one is the military part, which is developing the conditions for peace in the south. And the second is reconstruction, because there is going to be the need to rebuild. There is going to be the need to repatriate people who have lost their homes. All those things need to be done, and we're trying to work on both tracks.

Peter.

Q Going back to the questions about the Iraqi Prime Minister's approach or no approach to Hezbollah, he was asked in a private session with the senators today the same question he was asked at the news conference yesterday, and he again refused to characterize, in a private session, his feelings. So, to paraphrase what the President said after 9/11, "you're with us or you're with the terrorists." When it comes to Hezbollah -- we know where he stands on terrorism, in general, but when it comes to this group that the administration says is fomenting so much trouble, is this guy with us, or is he against us?

MR. SNOW: Look, I'm just not going to play the game. I don't think any of us -- what the Prime Minister is doing is he's playing a pivotal role in the war on terror, and by setting the example, he's going to make it clear to everybody that democracy can succeed in the region, despite sectarian strife, despite attempts to assert terror, despite being wedged between Iran and Syria.

So I think those are the important points. And again, I don't know if there are going to be subsequent statements out of his government, or not. He has never said he's for Hezbollah. So what you're -- so what everybody is complaining about is something that he hasn't said. And it strikes me that that is an attempt to draw American politics -- for American politics to become a consideration, rather than realize -- why did he come here? He came here because he's fighting a war on terror on his own soil.

Q But, Tony, this is his neighborhood --

MR. SNOW: Yes, and? And? And?

Q And since he's an ally, wouldn't you expect him to speak out about it?

MR. SNOW: You know, we understand that allies have their own concerns, and what we're not going to do is to say to the Prime Minister, this is what you should say. We're not going to tell him, we want you to issue a statement against Hezbollah. It's inappropriate. He's the head of a sovereign state. He has the ability to say what he thinks, or, if he chooses not to answer the question, he has that right, too.

Q How much of this approach do you think is designed for domestic --

MR. SNOW: I don't have --

Q -- situation that he has there?

MR. SNOW: Don't know.

Q Tony, with respect to the legislation on the detainees at Guantanamo, the Attorney General was interviewed today and he said that the administration has been looking to international tribunals, such as those that have been held in Yugoslavia and Rwanda, as a guide. He also said that, these are ideas, but they're just ideas. So, two questions. First, to what extent is the administration trying to base this new commission approach on those kinds of international tribunals? And also, how much is this open to negotiation?

MR. SNOW: Well, I don't -- I think, probably, Sheryl, the way to talk about it is "consultations." As your own story indicated, there has been considerable conversation with members of the United States Senate -- Senator Graham, as a Judge Advocate General, is somebody who has got special interest in this -- to figure out ways of bringing to justice those who were taken off of battlefields in a way that harmonizes with the letter of the Supreme Court's decision, and also does it in a way that's consistent with the American Constitution and American law.

It's not a simple putt, as you've probably figured out. And so I think it is accurate to say that everybody is trying to figure out the best way to achieve all these aims. There's a lot of labeling and a lot of attempts -- I don't think that there's anything that is a clear parallel to this. I think you look for guidance in various experiences to see how you can do this effectively.

Q How close is this draft to being final?

MR. SNOW: I think you're going to have to talk to the people involved directly. A final -- I suspect you'll see a final draft when there's a piece of legislation. That will be the final draft.

Q When will that be?

MR. SNOW: Don't know.

Q Thank you.

MR. SNOW: Okay, thank you.

END 1:00 P.M. EDT