U.S. News

White House: "I Would Not Characterize It As A War"...

Partial Transcript From Wednesday's WH Press Briefing With Tony Snow.

Q Does the President, Tony, believe that this is as much the United States' war as it is Israel's war?

MR. SNOW: No. What the President believes is -- what's interesting about this, David, is that you've got a situation where Hezbollah, I think, miscalculated. They thought they'd be able to get some soldiers; they'd be able to get some PR, they'd be able to sort of say, "look at what we did." And instead what they ended up doing was incurring the wrath, not merely of Israel, but of the entire region.

Again, if you take a look at it, the extraordinary statement by the Arab League, where the Saudis and Jordanians -- the Arab League, was condemning Hezbollah; and, furthermore, the G8 condemning Hezbollah and it's sponsors.

Now what you had, I think, was a guerilla incursion that has turned into just an absolute miscalculation on the part of Hezbollah because what it has done is it has forged, I think, a sense of determination on all parties opposed to the activities of Hezbollah not to let it stand, and also, not to return -- revert to the status quo ante where Hezbollah was operating, in some ways, as an occupying force in southern Lebanon, independent of the government, in some ways contemptuous of the government, using the people in southern Lebanon as human shields, you know, a lot of Druze and Christians in that part of southern Lebanon. And serving not only as an obstacle to having the Siniora government function in an independent and credible way, but in some ways, as a threat to peace.

Q I don't think you really answered the part about why is this not our war?

MR. SNOW: Why would it be our war? I mean, it's not on our territory. This is a war in which the United States -- it's not even a war. What you have are hostilities, at this point, between Israel and Hezbollah. I would not characterize it as a war.

Read entire transcript here.

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