Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader John Boehner appeared on CNN’s Late Edition today. Pelosi went out of her way yet again to downplay success in Iraq since the surge:
BLITZER: The president says, quote, “The surge is working. I know some don’t want to admit that and I understand, but the terrorists understand the surge is working.”
Is the surge working?
PELOSI: The president is wrong in several respects. First of all, the military aspect of the surge is working. And God bless our troops. They’ve performed excellently. And any time they engage in battle, we want them to succeed. The president knows that. He shouldn’t say we don’t want admit that that military aspect of the surge is working.
PELOSI: But the purpose of the surge was to create a secure time for the government of Iraq to make the political change to bring reconciliation to Iraq. They have not done that.
BLITZER: But they’ve taken some steps…
BLITZER: … on the Baathists being allowed to come back…
PELOSI: … baby steps, very late — to the point that the generals in Iraq — and I think we had this conversation before — have said the biggest obstacle to reconciliation in Iraq is not the Iranian militias or the Sunni militias or the Al Qaida terrorists. It is the government of Iraq. Because they have not acted.
BLITZER: I spoke with General David Petraeus, the U.S. military commander in Iraq. And he pointed to all the statistics showing that casualties are down; stability is coming to the Al Anbar province, elsewhere.
And the increased troops that they sent over for the surge — they’ll be back out by July or so. But he then said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, COMMANDER, MULTINATIONAL FORCES, IRAQ: We will, though, need to have some time to let things settle a bit, if you will, after we complete the withdrawal. We think it would be prudent to do some period of assessment, then, to make decisions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: He’s basically suggesting there should be a pause, this summer, to assess where it stands, so that all of the gains will not have been lost, squandered. Are you open to that?
PELOSI: We will be entering the sixth year of this war in about another month, March 19. It will be five years that we’ve been in this war, over a year and a half longer than we were in World War II.
We all know the history, the mistakes, the bad judgment, and the rest. I believe that stability will come to the region and that stability can only begin when we begin the redeployment of our troops out of Iraq. That’s what the generals tell us, the retired generals.
Certainly, we have to leave a few people there to protect our embassy, for force protection, to fight the terrorists and that.
BLITZER: Are you not worried, though, that all the gains that have been achieved over the past year might be lost?
PELOSI: There haven’t been gains, Wolf. The gains have not produced the desired effect, which is the reconciliation of Iraq. This is a failure. This is a failure.
Am I the only one who finds it odd that Democrats keep referring to “retired generals” to back up their case, when the general who is actually in command probably knows a bit more about what’s going on in Iraq? That would be Gen. Petraeus, whom the Democrats’ MoveOn masters smeared as “General Betray Us.”
As for the military surge creating the time window in which the Iraqi government could get on with reconciliation, aren’t we in that time window now? Does the Democrat noise to pull troops out help our hurt the environment?
House Minority Leader John Boehner appeared on the show after Pelosi, and said that she and the other Democrats are “in denial.”
Boehner has the better argument. The Democrats almost to a man opposed the surge and have actively fought it for a year now. Harry Reid declared the war “lost” before all the surge troops were even in place, while the Democrats have all along insisted that the idea that the surge was working was a fantasy. Reid also said that no matter what Gen. Petraeus said during his testimony last fall, it wouldn’t matter. Sen. Hillary Clinton concurred.
But now that even Pelosi has to recognize that the surge has worked militarily, the Democrats are shifting to accelerating pulling out because the Iraqi government hasn’t met each and every benchmark of success yet. Pelosi and her ilk are dangerously irresponsible and in denial of the fact that they have been dead wrong about the surge for a year and that their unnamed retired generals are wrong now. These people have never wanted to give either the surge or the Iraqi government one of the most important things that both needed to be able to reach success: Time.