Praise from none other than Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and John Warner (R-VA), noted critics of the Iraq war:
WASHINGTON — After a brief trip to Iraq, Sen. Carl Levin said Monday that the Iraqi Parliament should vote no confidence in the government of Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki because of its sectarian nature and leadership.
“The Maliki government is non-functional,” Levin, D-Mich., said in a conference call with reporters.
Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Sen. John Warner of Virginia, the panel’s top Republican, just returned from a fact-finding mission to the country. The two reported that they are encouraged by the effects of the recent U.S. military surge there, but their enthusiasm is tempered by concerns about Iraq’s political climate.
“We have seen indications that the surge of additional brigades to Baghdad and its immediate vicinity and the revitalized counter-insurgency strategy being employed have produced tangible results in making several areas of the capital more secure. We are also encouraged by continuing positive results — in al-Anbar Province, from the recent decisions of some of the Sunni tribes to turn against Al Qaeda and cooperate with coalition force efforts to kill or capture its adherents,” the two said in a statement issued after leaving the country.
They are, as even war supporters will concede, and as noted if you continue reading the Fox piece, not at all impressed with the Iraqi gov’t under the leadership of Maliki. Levin also hasn’t changed his mind on when he wants troops to begin withdrawal, starting in the next four months.
It makes no sense that he wants to start doing that, considering that in order to make political changes, the Iraq government will still need us to stay there in significant numbers for security reasons.
Contrast this report with how the liberal McClatchy newspaper reported it, starting with the headline:
Senators offer bleak assessment of Iraq after governor killed
BAGHDAD — A roadside bomb on Monday killed the governor of Iraq’s Muthanna province, making him the second governor in as many weeks to become a casualty of violence between rival Shiite Muslim militias in southern Iraq.
Word of the assassination came as two prominent members of the Senate Armed Services Committee completed a two-day visit to Iraq and offered a bleak assessment of prospects here.
In a joint statement, Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the committee’s chairman, and John Warner, R-Va., the committee’s senior Republican, said that while a surge of U.S. troops had tamped down violence in some parts of Baghdad, there was no sign of political reconciliation between Iraq’s Sunni and Shiite rivals and “we are not optimistic about the prospects.” They said U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker shared their views.
Levin later told reporters during a conference call from Tel Aviv that he believed the Iraqi parliament should replace Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. “The Maliki government is nonfunctional and cannot produce a political settlement because it is too beholden to religious and sectarian leaders,” Levin said.
Check out the entire article. No where in there does it mention anything about the progress Levin and Warner praised.
Liberal bias? Nah.
Happiness is, eh? Sick.
In related news, some Democrats out there are upset that the MSM hasn’t given the appropriate amount of coverage to this op/ed printed in the NYT, written by active duty soldiers in Iraq, critical of the war. “Horse’s Mouth” complains:
By now you’ve all almost certainly read yesterday’s riveting New York Times Op-ed piece by U.S. troops in Iraq arguing that the belief that the American occupation can win this counterinsurgency is “far fetched.”
By any reasonable standard, this should have been big news. A group of soldiers with a first-hand view of the situation stepped forward and publicly proclaimed not just that the prospects for success are “far fetched,” but also that the press has been basically misinforming the American people about the situation there. As the soldiers wrote, they are “skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable.”
You’d think that the people at the big news orgs who decide whether things are news or not — the same people who lavished tons of coverage on Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack’s Op ed — would read this and say, “Hey, here is an alternative point of view being voiced by some of the troops themselves, and they say we’re giving people the wrong impression about what’s really happening here. Our readers and viewers deserve to know about this. Therefore, it is news, and we will cover it.”
Nope — of course not.
The Huffington Post, of course, invokes the Absolute Moral Authority Card with this piece: The 82nd Airborne vs. the Brookings Institution: Who Do You Trust for a Real View of Iraq?
It’s amusing to see how liberals go back and forth on when the opinions of the military matters and when they’re worthless. Like when the six retired generals came out against Donald Rumsfeld and called for his resignation, all we heard was ‘we must listen to the generals’ – ‘they, more than anyone else, know what’s best for our military.’ But when it came time to discuss again the issue of whether or not we should stay or go in Iraq, and retired generals and other military experts were saying back in November that the Dem push for withdrawal within 4 to 6 months would lead to disaster and devastating consequences for Iraq, the opinons of those retired generals and military experts didn’t matter to the Dems. Because just a few months later, they tried to figure out ways to ‘slow bleed’ the military (aka withhold necessary funds) in order to force the President into an early withdrawal.
The only time Democrats really care about the opinions of the military is when their opinions suggest at least one or more of the following: that all is lost, we have no hope, time to pack up and come home, we’re abusing the people we came to protect (see Kerry, John and “Scott Thomas” for starters), so and so’s been a horrible leader, etc. But as I’ve documented here, anyone who has criticized the Iraq war before but who now has optimistic things about the progress being made there as a result of the surge is made out to be someone who was ‘never really a war critic’ or whose opinions are irrelevant.
As far as whether or not the NYT op/ed written by the troops from the 82nd Airborne rec’d the same amount of coverage as the NYT op/ed written by the Brookings Institution’s Patrick O’Hanlon and Ken Pollack, I should note that a significant amount of the coverage on that particular piece came from liberal Democrat bloggers and opinion writers (including Horse’s Mouth himself) who were trying to dismiss O’Hanlon and Pollack as two people who were ‘never really war critics to begin with.’
Amazingly, in the deluded minds of the anti-war left, the same media who’ve done nothing but report the worst coming out of Iraq the past 4 years, and who’ve essentially lined up with liberal Democrats on the belief that the war is lost, is the same media now shilling for Bush.
Update: Hillary Clinton says the surge is “working” but that it’s still time to “honor” our troops by “beginning to bring them home.”