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How Harry Reid Won the Iraqi War

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Posted on September 7 2010 9:00 am

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It has often been observed that whoever controls the past controls the future. Unhappily for Harry Reid in an age of Google, YouTube—and golly even the tape recorder–this is easier said than done.

Thus it is that Senator Reid, who finds himself in the fight of his life with Sharron Angle for reelection in November is attempting to use a very small eraser to expunge details of his past that might as well be carved in granite.

Preeminent among these (although there are multiple contenders) are a series of statements he made in April 2007 declaring the war in Iraq “lost,” at precisely the time the surge was demonstrably succeeding. Those of us unfamiliar with the subtleties of his thinking interpreted this as a craven and cynical political maneuver designed to undermine President Bush at the expense of our fighting men and women. Reid however–for reasons wholly unrelated to the firestorm his remarks initially created and whose consequences are repeating on him like a bad pizza in an election year–is happy to set the record straight.

Just to set the stage though here’s what he said in April, 2007:

Truly a speech for the ages, right up there with “we will fight on the beaches,” and — bonus! — ready-made for tight rotation on every conservative talk radio station on the planet.

But wait, here’s what his campaign is saying now:

At the time Sen. Reid made this comment, President Bush had been pursuing a failed, stay-the-course strategy that had cost thousands of American lives and billions of taxpayer dollars. Iraq appeared to be on the verge of a sectarian civil war. He was simply pointing out what our military leaders, including Gen. Petraeus, had been saying for months: that we could not win by staying the course; the war needed to be won diplomatically, politically, and economically. Sen. Reid and his colleagues were successful in forcing President Bush to finally abandon his failed approach and refocus on political reconciliation. This is what ultimately paved the way for the Iraqi government to take greater responsibility for Iraq’s future. Sen. Reid’s comments were directed at President Bush and his following of misguided policymakers, not at the heroic troops who continue to serve our country with incredible courage.

Okay, Bush had already authorized the surge, which was a radical and politically risky departure from his previous Iraq policy, but he was definitely guilty of stubbornly staying the course … on the new course.

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