09 March, 2005

McClellan response on Maskhadov

It's been a day since Maskhadov's death, now confirmed by Chechens*, and still no official reaction from the White House other than this weak bit:
Q On Russia. The Russians have just announced they have killed the secessionist leader, Aslan Maskhadov. First, do you have any independent confirmation of that?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, the last I heard before I came out here, I'd seen the reports, but I did not have any confirmation on those reports at this point. Our views, in terms of the situation, is that we believe it should be resolved through a political process, and that remains our view.

Q How can it be resolved in a political process if the leader of the secessionists have now been killed -- has now been killed? And a number --

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I've seen the reports. I don't have confirmation on that. But we've consistently said that when it comes to Chechnya, that it needs to be -- in this situation with Russia, that it needs to be resolved through a political process.

Q I don't -- I don't see the logic there. Why is it different from capturing and killing terrorists in other countries? Why is it different from capturing Saddam Hussein in --

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I mean, you're talking about a specific report. I've not confirmed that report. I would want to find out more about the information on this particular report.

Q I'm asking --

MR. McCLELLAN: Obviously, our views on terrorists are very well known.

Q I'm asking about your --

MR. McCLELLAN: We work very closely with Russia in the global war on terrorism.

Q I'm asking about your general approach to the situation. Suppose the report comes true -- suppose the report does not turn out to be true, why do you insist that in this particular instance, the political approach is what should work, whereas in other situations involving Americans themselves, you do not have much regard for political processes, as far as I can see, in Iraq, or maybe some other places?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, first of all, again, I don't -- I'm not going to suppose anything. I do not have official confirmation on the reports that I have seen, and I would want to have that first. But we have a longstanding position when it comes to the situation in Chechnya. And our view has not changed. Our view remains that it ought -- there ought to be a political resolution to the situation.
Kudos to the reporter, who is unnamed in the transcript, for sticking it out. I hope to god this isn't the last we hear of this, and the U.S. will have the guts to step forward and (hypocritically, I'll admit) condemn Russia for this killing. But I'm betting they'll stay mum and continue to spout the weasely "Russia is our partner in the war on terrorism" garbage.

*Ramzan Kadyrov, the warlord prick who has Russian "approval", claimed that Maskhadov was killed in a botched capture operation when he was shot accidentally by his own bodyguard. The Russians, meanwhile, claim that the entire compound Maskhadov was in blew up - astounding since we've already seen Che Guevara-esque published photos of the body.

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