House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC): Positive Petraeus report would be a “problem” for anti-war Dems

****scroll to the bottom for updates****

This is very revealing, isn’t it? (emphasis added)

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Monday that a strongly positive report on progress on Iraq by Army Gen. David Petraeus likely would split Democrats in the House and impede his party’s efforts to press for a timetable to end the war.

Clyburn, in an interview with the video program PostTalk, said Democrats might be wise to wait for the Petraeus report, scheduled to be delivered in September, before charting next steps in their year-long struggle with President Bush over the direction of U.S. strategy.

Clyburn noted that Petraeus carries significant weight among the 47 members of the Blue Dog caucus in the House, a group of moderate to conservative Democrats. Without their support, he said, Democratic leaders would find it virtually impossible to pass legislation setting a timetable for withdrawal.

“I think there would be enough support in that group to want to stay the course and if the Republicans were to stay united as they have been, then it would be a problem for us,” Clyburn said. “We, by and large, would be wise to wait on the report.”

Many Democrats have anticipated that, at best, Petraeus and U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker would present a mixed analysis of the success of the current troop surge strategy, given continued violence in Baghdad. But of late there have been signs that the commander of U.S. forces might be preparing something more generally positive. Clyburn said that would be “a real big problem for us.”

Isn’t this sort of along the lines of wishing for failure …?

Update: Via Don Surber, I read this about a recent smackdown Senator Joe Lieberman gave Dems regarding their cut and run wishy washy Iraq stance:

“I think either [Democrats] are, in my opinion, respectfully, naïve in thinking we can somehow defeat this enemy with talk, or they’re simply hesitant to use American power, including military power. There is a very strong group within the party that I think doesn’t take the threat of Islamist terrorism seriously enough.”

Read the rest here.

Wed AM Update: Great news: U.S. commanders encouraged by drop in U.S. deaths in Iraq:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — The U.S. military is expressing hope that the recent troop buildup in Iraq is making strides as commanders point to the American death toll in the war zone — the lowest monthly total since November.

As of Wednesday, 77 U.S. troops were killed in July, a striking drop from earlier this year when spring brought the worst three-month period for U.S. troop deaths since the war began: 104 in April, 126 in May and 101 in June.

“Any time you are talking about coalition forces being safe, we gladly welcome that and hope to see it continue as a trend, that due to our operations the level of violence and level of attacks against coalition forces goes down,” said U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, according to Reuters.

“We said at the beginning of the summer, it’s going to get harder before it gets easier. Now we hope to see that payoff.”

CNN still sees a dark cloud:

Still, July’s U.S. death toll is almost twice as high as for the same period last year — 43 fatalities — a sign of the persistent violence in the long conflict. The numbers come from a CNN count of Pentagon figures.

The news that troop deaths are decreasing could mean we’ll be hearing other positive things about the surge in September which, as Clyburn suggested, would be a “big problem” for anti-war House Democrats. Boo hoo.

And speaking of Clyburn and other cut and run Democrats, did you hear about Kansas Rep. Nancy Boyda’s little “I don’t wanna hear good news” stunt yesterday? (h/t: ST reader GWR)

Washington — Kansas Rep. Nancy Boyda is defending her decision to step out of a hearing room last week while a retired Army general testified about U.S. progress in Iraq.

But Republicans on Monday accused Boyda of refusing to listen to the positive aspects of the Bush administration’s new Iraq strategy.

Boyda, a freshman Democrat from Topeka, said she left the House Armed Services Committee hearing on Friday for about 10 minutes during the testimony of retired Gen. Jack Keane.

“There was only so much that you could take until we in fact had to leave the room for a while” Boyda said after she returned, according to a transcript of the hearing. “So I think I am back and maybe can articulate some things — after so much of the frustration of having to listen to what we listened to.”

Keane had testified that since the troop surge began, U.S. forces “are on the offensive and we have the momentum.” He also said that security has improved in every neighborhood and district in and around Baghdad, and that “cafés, pool halls, coffee houses that I visited are full of people.”

And the anti-war faction of the Democratic party certainly does not want to hear anything that would make their desire to cut and run “problematic.”

On a related note, check out Michael Yon’s latest dispatch here.

And last but not least, a must-read from Thomas Sowell on the possibility that defeatism is being defeated.

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