Quit digging, Senator Reid … the U.S. is winning in Iraq
For the Appeal
I hate to pile on, but several months ago I wrote an article in this newspaper criticizing the disgraceful remarks made by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), whereby I took the Senator to task for saying, among other things, that the “war was lost” while we still had soldiers fighting and dying on the battlefield. Forget that there was no factual basis for Senator Reid’s comments – a U.S. Senate Majority Leader should NEVER be making these types of comments during a time of war, regardless of the circumstances.
Since then, several events have taken place involving the Senator which have reaffirmed my disdain for this ineffective politician, and I, along with millions of other Americans, once again question his capacity and competence to continue leading the U.S. Senate.
First, Senator Reid and his Democratic Senate colleagues railroaded General David Patraeus, senior commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq, while he was delivering his required report on the status of the surge in Iraq. Incredibly, the general hadn’t even delivered his balanced testimony before he was viciously attacked by Reid and his fellow Senate liberals as a liar who was carrying water for the Bush Administration. This disgraceful performance was crystallized by the comments from Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), who told General Petraeus that one would have to be in a “willing state of disbelief” to believe the general. This is Clinton-speak for calling the general a liar.
Well, by almost all accounts (including two Iraq scholars at the liberal Brookings Institution), the general’s assessment was pretty much on the mark. The war was not lost. The surge has in fact delivered security results, and the dynamics on the ground have changed considerably. Violence around Iraq is down, Al Sadr’s militias have stood down, Al Qaeda in Iraq has been virtually decimated on the battlefield (as Sunni tribes and insurgents have teamed with coalition forces and turned against the terrorists), and the very slow process of national reconciliation continues.
After all the dust has settled from the battles (here at home), it appears coalition forces are indeed winning in Iraq and Afghanistan, they clearly have the momentum, and the war on terror continues. Score one for the good guys.
The Senate Democrats, under the leadership of Senator Reid, have failed miserably time and again to force a premature withdrawal from Iraq, much to the chagrin of their uber-rabid liberal attackers in the Moveon.org/Daily Kos/Code Pink/Media Matters crowd. Moreover, they don’t have the political courage to cut off funding which, lacking the votes to bring the troops home, is the only recourse they have, constitutionally.
Now, desperate for anything to change the dynamics of the debate they have lost, as well as their own record low approval ratings, Senator Reid and his Democratic colleagues have zeroed in a new jihad: Trying to paint bombastic conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh as unpatriotic for talking about the “phony soldiers” who have shown up in recent anti-war ads. After all the negative comments from the Democrats (especially Senator Reid) that have been leveled against our efforts in the global war on terror, this silly stunt seems particularly hypocritical.
Notwithstanding the futility of trying to paint Limbaugh as anti-soldier (he’s perhaps one of the military’s biggest backers) with a Senate resolution condemning his statement, Limbaugh was actually referring to one Jesse MacBeth. You might recall he’s the young man who appeared in anti-war ads saying he was an Army Ranger who committed atrocities in Iraq when, in fact, Private MacBeth never served in Iraq, because he was discharged from the service while still in boot camp. To most of us who have served in the military, that’s soldier-speak for “washing out.” I, for one, would consider someone who committed that type of fraud a phony soldier, indeed.
No one has been pushing this ridiculous “resolution” louder in the media than Senator Reid, and it has the potential to blow up in the Democrats’ faces, much the same way the “General Betray-Us” ad by Moveon.org in the New York Times did a few weeks earlier.
No wonder the approval rating of Congress is so low. Under the leadership of Reid and Nancy Pelosi, there’s not much to show for after nearly one year in the majority, and this type of nonsense (trying to silence a private citizen’s freedom of speech rights using their official offices) borders on fascism. It’s unfortunate and embarrassing that our elected leaders are engaged in this type of behavior with so many more important issues to tackle. Senator Reid, of course, carries the shovel, and the hole is getting deeper. Stop digging, Senator!
• Conrad Velin is the regional finance director for Sierra Nevada Media Group, which includes the Nevada Appeal. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Publisher John DiMambro’s column, which normally appears in this space, will return next week.