Here's a transcript of a CNN interview; Dana Bash is the interviewer:
BASH: Arlen Specter, a Republican, but somebody who, in many ways, is like you, a critic of the president's Iraq policy. He said this. He said: "For men and women who are over in Iraq to have somebody of Senator Reid's stature say that the war is lost, it is just very, very demoralizing and not necessary."
Is there something to that, an 18- and 19-year-old person in the service in Iraq who is serving, risking their lives, in some cases losing their life, hearing somebody like you back in Washington saying that they're fighting for a lost cause?
REID: General Petraeus has told them that.
BASH: How has he said that?
REID: He said the war can't be won militarily. He said that. I mean he said it. He's the commander on the ground there.
BASH: But, sir, there's a difference...
REID: Are they critical of him?
BASH: ... between that and saying the war is lost, don't you think?
REID: Well, I — as I said, maybe it's a choice of words. I mean General Petraeus has said the war cannot be won militarily.
Doesn't every soldier going there know that he's said that?
I think so.
Q (Through interpreter.) ... You said that the host country can determine who are the reconcilable groups. But everybody should be under the supremacy of law, and all military activities should be cancelled. So how are these people going to be part of the solution?
GEN. PETRAEUS: ... With respect, again, to the — you know, the idea of the reconcilables and the irreconcilables, this is something in which the Iraqi government obviously has the lead. It is something that they have sought to — in some cases, to reach out. And I think, again, that any student of history recognizes that there is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency of Iraq. Military action is necessary to help improve security, for all the reasons that I stated in my remarks, but it is not sufficient.
A political resolution of various differences, of this legislation, of various senses that people do not have a stake in the success of the new Iraq, and so forth, that is crucial. That is what will determine in the long run the success of this effort. And again, that clearly has to include talking with and eventually reconciling differences with some of those who have felt that the new Iraq did not have a place for them, whereas I think, again, Prime Minister Maliki clearly believes that it does, and I think that his actions will demonstrate that, along with the other ministers....
Two questions: (1) Was Crittenden mistaken, and did Gen. Petraeus say something else that fits Sen. Reid's statement?
(2) If Crittenden is right, and this is the statement that Sen. Reid is alluding to, then isn't there a very big difference between Gen. Petraeus's
[T]here is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency of Iraq. Military action is necessary to help improve security, for all the reasons that I stated in my remarks, but it is not sufficient.
— which is to say that the war cannot be won solely militarily, but requires a combination of military and political action — and Sen. Reid's characterization of that statement, which is "He said the war can't be won militarily" as support for the proposition that "they're fighting for a lost cause"?
Related Posts (on one page):
- This Sen. Reid Statement, on the Other Hand, Is Likely Just a Joke:
- Did Gen. Petraeus Say "The War Can't Be Won Militarily"?