June 14, 2007

Reid Betrays the Selective Memory-Based Community

At Daily Kos, "BarbinMD" went to bat this afternoon for an embattled Harry Reid:

Since its inception a few short months ago, Politico, the online soul-mate to the Drudge Report, has gotten into the habit of creating news stories through innuendo, omission, outright error, and now today, out of thin air.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, "incompetent" during an interview Tuesday with a group of liberal bloggers, a comment that was never reported.

Reid made similar disparaging remarks about Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said several sources familiar with the interview.

Of course the reason this comment was never reported is quite simple: the bloggers on the call don't remember this quote. I, along with mcjoan and Kagro X, participated in that conference call and none of us heard Reid say it. And of the four other bloggers who were there, Joe and John from AMERICAblog and Jonathon Singer, have no recollection of it.

Please make note: according to this Kos frontpager, she and two other prominent Daily Kos bloggers never heard Harry Reid call General Pace "incompetent," and of the other four bloggers on the call, the two representing Americablog, and one from MyDD, didn't recall anything, either. "Ain't nobody heard nothin,'" as it were, from six of the seven highly respected liberal bloggers on the conference call with the Democrat Senate Majority Leader. But don't question their integrity.

The last man standing, Bob Geiger, recalled things a bit differently, but still attempted a fanboy's "I don't think that word means what you think it means" defense of Reid:

Here's exactly what Reid said:
"I guess the president, uh, he's gotten rid of Pace because he could not get him confirmed here in the Senate… Pace is also a yes-man for the president and I told him to his face, I laid it out to him last time he came to see me, I told him what an incompetent man I thought he was."

So, did Reid utter the word "incompetent" in the same sentence with General Pace's name on the conference call? Yes, he did.

Geiger then went on to make a pathetic attempt to wrangle Reid's mangled syntax into an attack on President Bush instead of Pace.

The seven liberal bloggers on the conference call with Harry Reid either suffered from a convenient form of group amnesia, or from the inability to honestly parse the English language, but perhaps what was important from their perspective is that they rallied together for Harry with strongly-worded claims of "I can't recall," and "I don't remember," and "It depends on what the definition of the word 'is,' is."

But sometimes irony and justice come hand in hand, and Harry Reid soon did to these radical anti-war bloggers what they are collectively trying to do to the American military and the Iraqi people: he cut and ran:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed Thursday that he told liberal bloggers last week that he thinks outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace is "incompetent."

Reid also disparaged Army Gen. David Petraeus, head of Multinational Forces in Iraq.

But Reid, whose comments to bloggers first appeared in The Politico, also told reporters: "I think we should just drop it."

For the Selective Memory-Based Community, Reid's betrayal must have been awful.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at June 14, 2007 10:49 PM

Let's remember Gates fired Pace, not Reid. We now have a War Czar, SecDef and an incoming Chair of the Joint Chiefs who are all skeptical of the surge.

What does that tell ya?

Posted by: markg8 at June 14, 2007 11:12 PM

That's silly--it's not as if Gates could fire Reid even if he wanted to. The surge itself is still being executed, as the full number of combat troops are still being added into the mix. What it does tell me is that there is no silver bullet for Iraq--if the surge is successful, there will still be a measure of internal chaos to deal with, as well as external agents (like Iran) that are helping to foment said chaos.

Posted by: Nathan Tabor at June 15, 2007 12:43 AM

As Gen. Petraeus has said before - The Surge™ - in an of itself, will not fix the problems of Iraq. Will it enable central Iraq to be a bit more stable? Yes. Will it enable former insurgent groups to fall in line (ala 'Sunni Awakening' councils)? Yes. Is it allowing those Iraqi who want peace and stability a better chance at 'standing up'? Yes.

There is still a long way to go. Tribal and social customs prevent an immediate turnaround. It took Germany, Japan and S. Korea 40 years to develop into thriving democratic societies where freedom and equality under Rule of Law hold sway. In addition there are many powers in the area that want Iraq to fail. It's in Saudi Arabia and Iran's best interest since thriving democracies tend to make despotic regimes look bad.

Posted by: Dan Irving at June 15, 2007 09:39 AM

So the Kos Kidz accuse the Politico of lying. They claim that they, not one of them, heard the quote and when it turns out that the Politico's story was accurate and BarbinMD flatly denied it: grudging update with caveats. No apology, even in the comments. No indication of contrition for a rush and a mistaken statement.

Which website is staffed with liars? Who is incompetent, if not one of three separate hand-picked citizen journalists even registered the words that would assuredly be red meat to their base? Why should anyone believe them, if they didn't have their hearing-aids plugged in?

1st deaf blogger: happenstance.
2nd deaf blogger: coincedence.
3rd deaf blogger: concerted lies from an agency organized against reporting or even acknowledging the truth.

Posted by: Uncle Pinky at June 15, 2007 08:03 PM

"For the Selective Memory-Based Community, Reid's betrayal must have been awful."

Well, maybe, but they won't remember it for long.

Posted by: George Bruce at June 20, 2007 01:33 PM

"The Army strives for a "rule of threes": for every combat unit on a mission, a second is recovering and a third is preparing. But today, more than half the Army's fighting units are deployed abroad…

…Deep inside the Pentagon...a nightmare scenario hangs in the air, unmentioned but unmistakable. With 140,000 U.S. troops tied down stabilizing Iraq, 34,000 in Kuwait, 10,000 in Afghanistan and 5,000 in the Balkans, what good options would George W. Bush have if, say sometime next spring, North Korea’s Kim Jong Il decided to test the resilience of the relatively small "trip-wire" force of 37,000 American troops in South Korea…

…America’s military has been shrinking for the past 35 years...All four services have been cut in strength, and leaders of both parties have overseen this decline. President Bush's father reduced the number of Army divisions from 18 to 14; Bill Clinton cut it further, to 10...The Bush team's vision for the U.S. Army involved making it learner, faster, more efficient and more open to change…" – TIME ‘03.

The impression I had was that the surge amounted to 30,000 more troops. However, I think that means all troops and not just "combat” troops. I have heard before that if the military has around 1,000,000 people, somewhere around 1/2 are support personnel. So, if there are only 500,000 "combat" troops and they are supposed to have an equal amount at home to rest and recuperate as they do at war, plus taking into consideration the other commitments such as Korea and Japan, etc., you have a better idea of what is really being asked of the troops:

"Inside a fortified conference room, through the prism of U.S. and Iraqi
military officials, a security plan to pacify the country was working on
Wednesday…Outside, extremists blew up mosques, lobbed mortars into Baghdad's heavily protected Green Zone, and generated a steady drumbeat of violence." The Kansas City Star - 6-21-07.

Conditions in Iraq will not improve sufficiently by September to justify a
drawdown of U.S. military forces, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said Sunday. Asked whether he thought the job assigned to an additional 30,000 troops deployed as the centerpiece of President Bush's new war strategy would be completed by then, Gen. David Petraeus replied, "I do not, no. I think that we have a lot of heavy lifting to do." The Kansas City Star - 6-18-07.

"In Washington, Pentagon officials urged patience...But Pentagon planners
privately expressed concern. 'We don't have enough troops,' one said. 'It would take another 100,000' to properly protect Baghdad."

(That day there was an inset saying the troops would get extra days off in lieu of extra pay for the extra deployments. I guess times are tough all over.) The Kansas City Star - 4-19-07.

"Last summer the U.S. military in Iraq, led by Gen. George Casey...increased the U.S. forces patrolling Baghdad's neighborhoods by 3,700, to a total of more than 15,000...The current surge was to be different. U.S. forces in Baghdad were to increase by at least 17,000, bringing the total U.S. force in Baghdad to more than 30,000. The troops were to work alongside 30,000 Iraqi army and national police forces and 21,000 policemen...That hasn't happened as rapidly as U.S. commanders had hoped..." The Kansas City Star – 6-09-07.

"Most Iraqi military units arriving in Baghdad...have only 75% of their assigned soldiers...About one in six Iraqi policemen trained by U.S. forces has been killed or wounded, has deserted or has just disappeared..."
The Kansas City Star – 6-14-07.

Posted by: incognito at June 22, 2007 06:45 PM