In recent days, many have criticized Harry Reid's "Iraq is lost" comments, including some Democrats, who have sought to distance themselves from Reid's remarks. David S. Broder of the Washington Post, described Reid as The Democrats' Gonzales:
As if that were not mind-boggling enough, consider the mental gyrations performed by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) as he rationalized the recent comment from his majority leader, Harry Reid, the leading light of Searchlight, Nev., that the war in Iraq "is lost."
On "Fox News Sunday," Schumer offered this clarification of Reid's off-the-cuff comment. "What Harry Reid is saying is that this war is lost -- in other words, a war where we mainly spend our time policing a civil war between Shiites and Sunnis. We are not going to solve that problem. . . . The war is not lost. And Harry Reid believes this -- we Democrats believe it. . . . So the bottom line is if the war continues on this path, if we continue to try to police and settle a civil war that's been going on for hundreds of years in Iraq, we can't win. But on the other hand, if we change the mission and have that mission focus on the more narrow goal of counter terrorism, we sure can win."
Everyone got that? This war is lost. But the war can be won. Not since Bill Clinton famously pondered the meaning of the word "is" has a Democratic leader confused things as much as Harry Reid did with his inept discussion of the alternatives in Iraq.
He called President Bush " a loser," then apologized. He said that Bill Frist, then Senate majority leader, had "no institutional integrity" because Frist planned to leave the Senate to fulfill a term-limits pledge. Then he apologized to Frist.
Most of these earlier gaffes were personal, bespeaking a kind of displaced aggressiveness on the part of the onetime amateur boxer. But Reid's verbal wanderings on the war in Iraq are consequential -- not just for his party and the Senate but for the more important question of what happens to U.S. policy in that violent country and to the men and women whose lives are at stake.
Several leading Democrats said this week that they did not agree with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's recent statement that "the war is lost" in Iraq, even while they support his broader message.
But they did agree that Reid's wording was clumsy and potentially damaging. Even the Nevada Democrat himself appeared to be backing away from his remark.
"General Petreaus has said the war cannot be won militarily, he's said that," Reid said.
Hugh Hewitt did a fantastic job exploring the general ineptitude of the political left, its opportunists, and its soporific sophists... with the help guests Mark Steyn and Max Boot.
Hewitt: Generally, we are living in extraordinarily terrible times, and it looks as though a lot of our political class doesn't know or will not pay attention in a serious way to it.
Steyn: Well, they are paying attention to it, and they're doing some truly terrible things for some of the worst possible reasons, for the most silly and trivial short term political opportunism. I know for example during recent decades there were many messy, unpleasant colonial struggles... for example the left wing of the British Labor party had no enthusiasm for, but they never did what the U.S. Congress has done, which is to attempt to cut the legs out of the executive in the middle of a war. It's well known, for example, that the British Labor party is basically sympathetic to the Irish nationalist movement, but they never attempted to set a deadline for British troop withdrawal from northern Ireland and impose it on the executive.
Hewitt: I had former Congressman Bob Schaffer on the program, he had just come back from Afghanistan. He was carrying with him a recent edition of the only English daily in Kabul, the 'Daily Outlook' in Afghanistan, and there above the fold in large caps was the headline "Iraq War Lost Says Leader of Democrats." It was like a telegram to the Taliban.
Steyn: They have a very ambitious agenda, and simply put if you're like those Taliban guys and you're looking at the English language newspaper in Kabul, it makes sense - it seems achievable. When you watch Harry Reid on CNN International... it seems within your grasp.On hypocrisy
Steyn: They're the side, the left is the side who claim to be the big international progressive-ists, who say 'we are the world,' and 'the guy born in the rice patty on the other side of the world, he's just the same as me,' well they're the ones who let millions of those people in those rice patties die from their blinkered parochial stupidity in the early 1970's.
I don't think the war is lost by any stretch of the imagination...
Hewitt: Now, Max Boot, this week I've talked to Lawrence Wright, Fred Kagan, Melanie Philipson... a lot of people who understand the war both in Iraq and globally, and what they say, and what you say and what you write just doesn't add up with what Harry Reid has said... do the Democrats not understand this war, or are they putting politics ahead of it?
Boot: You know, that's a very good question - it's just so incredibly irresponsible for the majority leader of the United States Senate to make a proclamation like that - and it makes you think - if we've lost the war, who's won it? Is he saying al Qaeda has won this war?
Boot continues: I think that there is this very naive attitude that we can pull out of Iraq, it won't be a big deal, and then we can concentrate our resources on the real fight - in Afghanistan! Ignoring the fact that Iraq right now is the front line of the struggle against al Qaeda, and if we give up there, it will be a tremendous boost to al Qaeda, similar to defeating the Red Army in Afghanistan. And they're not going to be content with fighting us in Iraq, they 're going to go fight us in Afghanistan, and the situation there will deteriorate, and then they'll fight us elsewhere around the world, and we would have to grapple with that.