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June 14, 2007

Congress "Supports The Troops"

Today America was once again reminded how very sincerely Congress supports our armed forces:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed Thursday that he told liberal bloggers last week that he thinks outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace is "incompetent."

Reid also disparaged Army Gen. David Petraeus, head of Multinational Forces in Iraq.

...Reid, whose comments to bloggers first appeared in The Politico, also told reporters: "I think we should just drop it."

We'll just bet he does. Luckily for him, the good Senator has plenty of company on Capitol Hill:

"There is a long list of people including Senators (Carl) Levin and (Jack) Reed and others who have talked about General Pace long before I did. ...The fact is, he's not going to be the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, for which I'm happy," Reid said.

Reid ripped Petraeus for an interview published in Thursday's USA Today describing progress in Iraq.

"I have high regard for General Petraeus. When I was in Iraq, he was responsible for training the Iraqi troops. He told us it was going great. As we've looked back, it didn't go so well," Reid said. "I was a little disappointed, to say the least, today reading USA Today newspaper, where he's saying things are going fine, kids are playing soccer. The truth is, you look at another newspaper and look at a different page of USA Today, the bloodiest three months of the war has been since the surge took place," Reid said.

The thing is, when you bother to check on that USA Today article Petraeus didn't exactly say things were going "fine". Reid - as usual - is misrepresenting his comments. There were few actual comments from Petraeus in the article Reid references. This is one:

Iraq's 135,000-strong police force continues to be plagued with problems, U.S. commanders say. Up to 70% of Iraqi police leaders have been replaced because they had ties to sectarian violence, Petraeus says.

Does that sound like "everything is fine" to you? It doesn't to me, but obviously Senator Reid has an interest in portraying General Petraeus as untrustworthy and partisan regardless of what he actually said. Fine. If we are to believe such a weighty accusation, Reid's own credibility ought to be fair game. He's already been caught out once. Let's examine a bit more of what Senator Reid had to say, for example his claim that the last three months have been "the bloodiest of the war".

Actually Senator Reid, even if you insist on reducing our servicemen and women to Another Grim Milestone TM for your obscene jihad against George Bush, that one turns out not to be true either.

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The bloodiest three months of the war so far were November 2004-January 2005. Get your facts straight. And simply looking at US casualties without normalizing the monthly rates for the number of people in theater produces a dimensionless figure that is inherently (one might even say purposely) misleading. We recently increased the number of troops in Iraq by 20,000 and dramatically changed our strategy, moving forces out into Iraqi neighborhoods. In war people get killed, especially when we go on the offensive. One might expect a competent (not to mention fair) Senator Majority Leader to acknowledge these obvious facts.

One who was actually on our side might even provide a little perspective on what was purchased with those American lives:

surge052007a.JPG

But Senator Reid and Nancy Pelosi don't need facts to 'inform' their stance on the war. The troublesome notion that the big purple bars represent enemy casualties and the far smaller blue bars represent our own casualties, much less the idea that the delta between the two might be viewed by some as one small measure of the efficacy of the Surge (inasmuch as those purple jihadis won't be troubling the good folks of Baghdad anymore) doesn't seem to occur to smart folks like Senator Reid. But then perhaps, like Dick Cavett, he just doesn't give a damn about the Iraqis.

Or better yet, when he's not telling liberal bloggers how our military leaders are incompetent, maybe he entertains them with his oh-so-sensitive views on how anyone who gives his life for his country is a moron.

Senator Reid, you see, doesn't need boring reports from tiresome, untrustworthy military types who insist on trying to brief Congress on the war whilst they're busy parading disgruntled retirees before the television cameras:

Batiste and his colleagues offered their solution: more troops, more money and more time in Iraq.

"We must mobilize our country for a protracted challenge," Batiste warned.

"We better be planning for at least a minimum of a decade or longer," contributed retired Marine Col. Thomas Hammes.

"We are, conservatively, 60,000 soldiers short," added retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, who was in charge of building the Iraqi Security Forces.

Of course now that we're doing what the Democrats' pet generals advised, Senator Reid and his Congressional Democrats no longer seem to think that listening to the Generals is such a good idea, do they? Interestingly, a similar fate befell the Iraq Study Group. Senator Reid was all in favor of "listening to the experts" so long as they were useful in bashing George Bush:

Dec. 2006: “The Iraq Study Group has done a tremendous and historic service to the American people and to the troops serving in harm’s way in Iraq. Their report underscores the message the American people sent one month ago: there must be change in Iraq, and there is no time to lose. ...Like the Iraq Study Group, I urge the President to change course. He will find Congress ready and willing to work with him. The Senate will do its part next year and conduct strong oversight to ensure the President carries out an effective change in policy.

But as James Baker, co-chair of the Iraq Study Group Senator Reid lauded in December of 2006 noted, the measures Reid tried to ram through the Senate were completely contrary to the group's recommendations:

The report does not set timetables or deadlines for the removal of troops, as contemplated by the supplemental spending bills the House and Senate passed. In fact, the report specifically opposes that approach. As many military and political leaders told us, an arbitrary deadline would allow the enemy to wait us out and would strengthen the positions of extremists over moderates. A premature American departure from Iraq, we unanimously concluded, would almost certainly produce greater sectarian violence and further deterioration of conditions in Iraq and possibly other countries.

Baker had more to say:

The president announced a "new way forward" on Jan. 10 that supports much of the approach called for by the Iraq Study Group. He has since said that he is moving to embrace our recommendations. The president's plan increases the number of American advisers embedded in Iraqi army units, with the goal that the Iraqi government will assume control of security in all provinces by November. It outlines benchmarks and indicates that the Iraqi government must act to attain them. He has approved ministerial-level meetings of all of Iraq's neighbors, including Syria and Iran; the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council; and other countries.

In other words, as they had done with their parade of Generals, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid paid cynical lip service to the Iraq Study Group and then proceeded to ignore every one of their recommendations. The Democrats soon abandoned their Useful Idiots, once they could no longer be used to embarrass the administration. In retrospect, the President is the one who has listened, and Reid and Pelosi have fought him every step of the way for doing what they publicly called for him to do not six months ago.

Their hypocrisy is staggering:

Top US congressional Democrats bluntly told President George W. Bush Wednesday that his Iraq troop "surge" policy was a failure.

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi challenged the president over Iraq by sending him a letter, ahead of a White House meeting later on Wednesday.

"As many had forseen, the escalation has failed to produce the intended results," the two leaders wrote.

Yes, with his lightning wit the brilliant Senator Reid has flashed on what beings of lesser intelligence might have missed: simply deploying more troops but not yet fully implementing the Surge plan has - surprisingly! - just as General Petraeus warned Congress! not yet achieved the results he warned Congress would not be achieved until September at the earliest.

But after all, should anyone really be surprised here?

Reid has never listened. He didn't listen to the Generals he cynically paraded before Congress and then abandoned.

He didn't listen to the Iraq Study Group whose recommendations he proceeded to completely disregard after he savaged the President for not "listening" to the experts. Even James Baker's endorsement of Bush's new measures failed to shame Reid into honoring his December promise to work with the White House if they changed course and adopted the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group.

And now he has publicly insulted two honorable men who have served this country well, calling one "incompetent" and insinuating that the other is a liar who cannot be trusted to report honestly on our progress in Iraq.

This is how Congressional Democrats "support the troops" - by accusing them of dereliction of duty:

Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher, D-Calif., said Wednesday she thought Pace was guilty of a dereliction of duty because of his support for Bush's Iraq policy.

Four weeks ago, I talked to my husband in Baghdad.

I told him how deeply disturbed I was at what I am beginning to see and hear back here at home. I said that that the backlash is beginning, that America is starting to turn against the military. It is being led by our leaders in Congress. When I read ugliness like this, I remember how it was to be a child during Vietnam when I was often afraid to tell people what my Dad did for a living.

And I am ashamed of my country.

These are people who are filled with contempt. They are moved to tears by the hundreds by a man who confuses childish rants about his opponents' excess body fat and facial tics for insightful political commentary; by someone who is amazed, in a free nation, that people are allowed to disagree with him, who (despite abundant evidence to the contrary) prefers to see the military as victims, "(largely unprivileged) youth" and those who volunteer and - God forbid - die for a cause they believe in as "idiots". I understand where that last shot, shocking though it was to read, came from. I can understand, and grieve for, and respect the horror that gave rise to it.

What I cannot understand is the cynical decision of a man who never went to war himself to use that statement to score political points without regard for the deep wounds it might inflict. I cannot understand the casual, stunningly ignorant assumption of so many civilians that all combat vets are interchangeable; that somehow, the experience or opinions of one war vet are magically representative of all military people, everywhere and that having an Uncle with PTSD and bitter memories gives you the right to call decent men and women who disagree with you idiots.

Because they disagree with you politically. What a harsh, uncharatable thing for a young widow, or a mother, or a father to read in the Times. Did Dick Cavett ever think of that? Did it move him to tears as he was waxing hyperbolic about how much he detests the way George Bush purses his lips? I doubt it.

These are not people I recognize. They are arrogant.

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They do not even see us as human beings:

We hear a lot about troops these days. Well, troops are for apes and monkeys. Human beings can do better, can't we?

I guess Nancy Pelosi was right. America sent a message in November of 2006.

Message received. Loud and clear.


Reid photo via Lex

Bumper sticker via Jules

Posted by Cassandra at June 14, 2007 09:31 PM

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Comments

And I conclude from my visit that victory is still possible in Iraq--thanks to the Iraqi majority that desperately wants a better life, and because of the courage, compassion and competence of the extraordinary soldiers and statesmen who are carrying the fight there, starting with Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. The question now is, will we politicians in Washington rise to match their leadership, sacrifices and understanding of what is on the line for us in Iraq--or will we betray them, and along with them, America's future security?

Mr. Lieberman is an Independent Democratic senator from Connecticut.

No. Mr. Lieberman is an American with a brain. A rarity in Washington these days.

Posted by: spd rdr at June 15, 2007 07:59 AM

Harry Reid is a cipher.

Posted by: MathMom at June 15, 2007 08:58 AM

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 06/14/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

Posted by: David M at June 15, 2007 10:23 AM

If the Republicans don't rake Reid over the coals, don't show a clip of him saying that on every commercial, maybe we don't deserve to win, maybe we deserve whatever we get down the road.

Posted by: ZZMike at June 15, 2007 08:21 PM

Silence, Worm!

I have not given you permission to speak.

Posted by: Senator Reid at June 15, 2007 08:35 PM

Let's see now, on one side we have Reid, an insignificant twerp whose only military experience was a college job with the Capitol Police. On the other side, we have a group of American generals, highly trained and accepted as the best military minds in the history of the planet. Hmmm, when the twerp who can't carry water for the Beatty Badminton Team criticizes this team of generals, should I believe it? It must be evident to everyone by now that this insignificant bug-of-a-man was picked on when he was a chile, perhaps even abused by his sister.

Posted by: tom2 at June 15, 2007 11:46 PM

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