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Facts Don’t Matter in Democratic Narrative on Iraq

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 5:51 pm - July 18, 2007.
Filed under: Bush-hatred,Congress (110th),Liberals,War On Terror

Just about the same time as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid failed to get the Senate to vote on withdrawing troops from Iraq, the “U.S. command” announced that it had arrested “the highest-ranking Iraqi in the leadership of al-Qaida in Iraq” (Via Pajamas). This capture, combined with recent successes in Anbar and Diyala provinces, is yet another sign of progress as General Petraeus continues to effect his “surge.”

Yet, Harry Reid’s Democrats seem to be paying little attention to the actual news from Iraq, focused more are they on repeating the same talking points they have been making since the fall elections.

They seem only to see the bad news such as yesterday’s suicide bombing in Kirkuk. While our troops have not yet completed their mission, they are clearly making headway against the enemies of the United States and the emerging democracy in Iraq.

All too often, we hear voices on the left — and some in the mainstream media — accuse the president of living in a bubble, detached from reality. Yet, so adamant are the Democrats in opposing this president that they refuse to see any success in any of his endeavors, particularly in Iraq. It seems that they, much more so than the president, are living in their own bubble.

No matter what happens there, they will continue to repeat their narrative of military quagmire and the president’s failures. Even if General Petraeus reports continued success when he testifies before Congress in September, the Democrats, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell puts it “are not going to have an epiphany. They are not going to be convinced by whatever the facts are.

For using the same tactic he excelled out in the last Congress, Reid has accused the Republicans of trying to obstruct debate, but he doesn’t seem very interested in debate, insisting instead that the war has been lost just as the first reports began to trickle in about the success of the new strategy. For the Democratic narrative on Iraq, the facts don’t seem to matter much.*

In a real debate, you consider the facts your opponents introduce and the arguments they make rather than insist on a pre-determined outcome. Harry Reid’s Democrats would rather please their left-wing base and undermine the president’s policies than consider the facts. It seems they have as little regard for the success of our military as they do for the welfare of the Iraqi people.

Not sure if I’m supposed to hat tip James Taranto of Opinion Journal’s Best of the Web on this, but I will because he inspired the language I use here. As I wrote that line, I realized I had read a similar expression earlier in the day, then recalled I had read “The narrative was right, but the facts were wrong.” in Taranto’s column today. It was such a clever notion (in his reflections of the media coverage of the Duke rape hoax) that it stuck in my mind.

Indeed so much did I like the expression that I decided to scrap the title I had intended for the post, Reid Not Interested in Serious Debate on Iraq, and replace it with the current appellation.



  1. GPW, since you’ve updated the blog with this post, I’d like to copy my post from a few minutes ago here; it’s more relevant as a response to this post than the moral-obligation post. Feel free to go and purge the other comment.
    Let’s assume that the military options are not simply stronger, faster versions of the whack-a-mole we’ve been playing for so long. Let’s assume that the military part continues to work, and we clean the cities and areas we’re targeting. Then what? Sit on them forever to keep them clean? What about the areas we aren’t targeting? How do we then clean the other areas we haven’t cleaned and aren’t directly sitting on?

    Don’t forget, Petraeus reminded everyone that there is no military solution to Iraq; that the political solution was required to solve the problem. If things are going so well, why is this blog not trumpeting the assumedly equally-excellent political progress?

    Can any insight into this progress be found in the benchmarks update released last week? The benchmarks that Bush claimed we/Iraq had met are a joke, since “meeting” the benchmark was defined so low that the passing grades don’t mean anything. Any analysis of that part of the equation?

    Comment by torrentprime — July 18, 2007 @ 6:09 pm - July 18, 2007

  2. torrent, the benchmarks are hardly a joke. They show that while much remains to be done, progress has been made.

    So when you say the passing grades don’t seem to mean anything, you just show that facts don’t really matter to your evaluation of the situation.

    Yup, there are still problems in Iraq, lots of them, but there is progress. And I believe Petraeus said that the military aspect was only one part of success in Iraq.

    And I’m not trumpeting the political progress because I acknowledge it has not been as significant as that on the battlefield. So, you decide the benchmarks are a joke and dismiss them so they fit your narrative while we recognize that the military successes are only part of the solution.

    Wonder who’s more reality-based.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — July 18, 2007 @ 6:28 pm - July 18, 2007

  3. GPW: when you say the passing grades mean something, don’t you need to first see what qualifies as a passing grade?
    Note: you tried to misrepresent my statement: i didn’t only say that “the passing grades don’t seem to mean anything;” I said that the threshold for passing was defined so low “that the passing grades don’t mean anything” It’s easy to pass a class when the teacher qualifies anything over zero as not failing!

    Comment by torrentprime — July 18, 2007 @ 6:41 pm - July 18, 2007

  4. I’d like to hear any analysis of these items that show how we are closer to victory in Iraq. (Credit: I pulled this from Slate.)
    On these items: failing grade (and this is the Bush Admin admitting a failing grade, not the lying traitorous mediademocratliberals):
    * Legislation on de-Baathification reform
    * Legislation to ensure equitable distribution of oil revenue without regard to sect or ethnicity
    * Setting up provincial elections
    * Establishing a strong militia-disarmament program
    * Allowing Iraqi commanders to pursue militias without political interference
    * Ensuring that the Iraqi army and police enforce the law evenhandedly
    * Increasing the number of Iraqi security forces capable of operating independently (here, the number has actually gone down)
    * Ensuring that Iraq’s political authorities are not undermining or making false accusations against members of Iraqi security forces

    So on these crucial issues facing iraq, we’re not winning. In some of these we’re going backwards. Don’t these facts matter in the GOP narrative?

    For the “passing grades,” it’s just sad. Provide 3 brigades of troops? Check! (except that each brigade is only 50-75% manned, so 2.25 brigades, at best) Allocating and spending $10 billion in Iraqi revenues? Check! (except it’s actually only 22% spent, and we’re not really sure where the money’s going anyway). 4 of the others deal with establishing committees and procedures. Not seeing if they work, or show up, or have any effect. Just establish or even be in the process of establishing is enough.

    So no progress on the actual things that effect the Iraqi civilians’ lives (not to mention our troops’ lives), and rigged passing grades on other benchmarks.

    “Wonder who’s more reality-based.”

    Comment by torrentprime — July 18, 2007 @ 6:53 pm - July 18, 2007

  5. torrentprime, the reason I include the reference to the suicide bombing in the post was to indicate that I recognized there were still significant problems in Iraq. As do many other Republicans. So, yes, these facts matter do matter in the GOP narrative. We haven’t said that we have won this thing, only that we are winning, even if we’re not winning on all issues.

    And anyway, the surge is still underway.

    And as to the things that effect Iraqi citizens’ lives, well, I will say it is something that we have stopped virtually all bombings in Anbar province. For the citizens who live there, that’s pretty significant.

    So, all you do, just like the Democrats, is point to the bad news while dismissing what we have done. The quibble you raise in #4 is #3 is meaningless for you’ve decided that the threshold was set so low. Making the city of Ramadi more livable is no small thing.

    We have been making progress, not enough to be sure, but progress all the same. And the surge is yet ongoing.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — July 18, 2007 @ 8:08 pm - July 18, 2007

  6. Per Taranto… “The narrative was right, but the facts were wrong” is a quote of Evan Thomas of Newsweek magazine. He was defending why the liberal media’s heart was in the right place when it portrayed the Duke Lacrosse players as criminally loutish racists – even though the Duke players had done nothing criminal except underage drinking, and nothing loutish except hiring a stripper, and nothing racist.

    There is another expression for a similar concept, which I am having trouble remembering. It might be “Fake but accurate”. It might have arisen when CBS tried to taint Bush in 2004 – with forged documents. Another expression certain left-liberals will say to defend bad stories – without having a clue that the expression itself indicts them.

    Incidentally, this is the same Evan Thomas who in 2004 predicted / boasted that liberal media hype in Kerry’s favor would deliver 15 percentage points’ worth of voters to Kerry. I don’t think Thomas was that far of. I think, if the media had been truly fair and objective in 2003 and 2004, Bush would have won by 58-41, instead of 51-48. So yeah, they delivered Kerry just about 15 points.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 18, 2007 @ 8:37 pm - July 18, 2007

  7. (Oh yeah, it was “fake but accurate”… Taranto mentions it 2 sentences later… D’oh!)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 18, 2007 @ 8:39 pm - July 18, 2007

  8. GPW: No one doubts that we can send another couple dozen thousand troops and pacify an area once we’re there. But that’s not victory. It doesn’t get Iraq more stable; it just means we’re holding things together, ourselves, with our blood and treasure as the duct tape. Your signs of “progress” are the same games of whack-a-mole we’ve played before. We rush into an area, pacify it, the insurgents and enemy run elsewhere, we follow them, and they come back to where we left. Unless we blanket another 100k troops on the country, where does this end? Even if we did that, where does that end?
    Again, your signs of “progress” are not actually progress steps on the path to victory; they are only more steps on the same circular path we’ve been on for years.

    And: quibble? quibble? Do you mean to tell me you read those benchmarks and their necessary-for-success thresholds and you agree that we get passing grades on them?

    What about those 8 items that we haven’t made satisfactory progress on– are they also “quibbles”? All of the necessary political changes which Petraeus said have to happen to make this thing work aren’t happening. So how are we winning? Which of these facts are in the GOP narrative?
    Let’s take just one of them: “Increasing the number of Iraqi security forces capable of operating independently” Wasn’t the plan, “As they stand up, we stand down”? So we now have less Iraqi troops able to defend the country than before, and that is a quibble? And that’s when the Iraqi police we’re training aren’t using that training to kill us.

    All quibbles huh?

    Comment by torrentprime — July 18, 2007 @ 9:28 pm - July 18, 2007

  9. Torrentprime in 38, didn’t say it was victory. I said we were winning.

    I never said that the 8 points where we haven’t made satisfactory progress were quibbles. Nor did I say there weren’t problems. What I called a quibble was how you somehow decided the benchmarks we reached were too low.

    I’m just pointing to progress being made. And you’re just saying it’s part of the same circular path. It seems Petraeus has a plan to make sure that once we pacify an area, it remains pacified.

    I — and many supporters of the plan — do acknowledge that there are many areas where work needs to be done. It’s fortunate that you can’t accept the reality that some progress has been made. You just discount any success we achieve.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — July 19, 2007 @ 3:23 am - July 19, 2007

  10. Torrentprime and the democrats arguments belie their desire to lose for political gain.

    This was an INTERIM report. The Senate confirmed general Petraeus unanimously. He said at the time, and ever since, that he would report back in September. That he would need at least until the fall to make a success of this new strategy. He was very frank and upfront about that.

    Congress agreed to those terms.

    Yet, here it is only July and Democrats are calling the new strategy a failure, despite all evidence to the contrary, and demanding we pull the troops out immediately.

    Under no circumstances did anyone suggest that all of the benchmarks would be met by July. Petraeus said he would need until September at least to accomplish A, B, C and D, and even before all the troops had arrived Democrats were calling it a failure.

    Now here it is a few short weeks after all the troops are in place and the general is saying I’ve accomplished A and B, but havent yet accomplished C and D. And democrats screech that halfway through the operation having only accomplished half the goals is proof that the whole thing is a miserable failure and we must pull out immediately!

    The only rational explanation for such irrational behavior is that the surge is working, and Democrats, ever putting their political power above the national interest, are scared shitless.

    “So within the first calendar month, good progress, steady momentum, hard fighting, going places where they haven’t been before, I see unequivocally — unequivocally — that this surge is making a difference.”
    ~ Deputy Commander of Multinational Force-Iraq and Senior British Representative in Iraq Lt. Gen. Graeme Lamb

    The surge is working, and Democrats want to put a stop to it immediately!

    They voted for the war, they claimed Saddam was just as dangerous as Bush did–even more so in some instances. Then when things went wrong for a while, as they do in every war in human history, they saw their opportunity for partisan gain! Suddenly they were never for the war, they were only for the war because Bush (and all 16 US intelligence agencies, and the intelligence apparati of britain, France, Russia, Germany, Egypt, Istael, etc…) LIED to them!

    Now they have bet against the United States. they have invested so heavily in defeat that they can, will, and ARE doing everything in their power to ensure that defeat happens.

    Including pulling the rug out from under general petraeus and the military a month after theyve begun and two months before they were supposed to have met any goals. As has been proven this week.

    Comment by Will — July 19, 2007 @ 7:05 am - July 19, 2007

  11. If there is any doubt in your mind that Democrats are on the side of the terrorists, read this now.

    Comment by V the K — July 19, 2007 @ 10:11 am - July 19, 2007

  12. Will, GPW:
    You are ignoring the very words of Petraeus: he said “There is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency of Iraq.” The surge will not make the political solution happen. It can possibly provide a safer environment to do so, but the surge has *nothing* to do with the political and social changes necessary to declare victory in Iraq.
    None of the necessary political actions are happening. All we are doing is sending more troops to quiet some areas down.

    You have ignored, at every turn, the fact that political changes are non-existent. Lt. Gen. Lamb’s statement is only a military one. Can you all acknowledge, just for a second, that victory in Iraq is more involved than just a military push and assess the progress on the whole picture? You have never done so, and all of your pathetic attempts to mindread me and impugn my motives don’t make your position any stronger. How is the political situation, that which Petraeus said was necessary, making progress? If you have good news, I think we’d all like to hear it.

    Vtk: What’s ironic in this, “I heard a rumor that the Democrats were going to try something shady” “breaking news” report is that even if the Dem. leadership tried to make this happen, clearly all the D’s aren’t onboard, since, as your links mentions, there is “overwhelming, bipartisan support for [the King amendment] in the House and Senate”. Last time I checked, it took members of both parties to make something bipartisan, and given the current makeup of the House and Senate, wouldn’t it take a lot of Ds voting in favor to make the support “overwhelming”? So, basically, your report admits that a lot of Ds support the King Amendment, and the original source says that Andy said he was “reliably informed” that someone was going to try something, somewhere. Conclusion (if you’re trying desperately to maintain intellectual cohesion for supporting Bush)? The Ds are on the side of the terrorists. Rock solid, as always.

    Comment by torrentprime — July 19, 2007 @ 12:55 pm - July 19, 2007

  13. Another way of looking at it is that the Democrat Leadership is so pro-terrorist, they are willing to go against a anti-terror provision with broad bi-partisan support.

    Comment by V the K — July 19, 2007 @ 1:38 pm - July 19, 2007

  14. BTW, try and spin the fact that 121 Democrats voted against the John Doe Act, versus 0 Republicans.

    Democrats, voting on the side of terrorists.

    Comment by V the K — July 19, 2007 @ 1:42 pm - July 19, 2007

  15. Also, Steny Hoyer, John Murtha, and Barney Frank all sided with the terrorists and voted no.

    Comment by V the K — July 19, 2007 @ 1:46 pm - July 19, 2007

  16. torrentprime, it is all but impossible to have a conversation with you. I never said that the military victory alone would be enough. I’m just saying there has been progress and recognize that more needs be done.

    No, I have not ignored that political changes have been non-existent. I do agree (and have indicated as much) that to success there, we must do more than just win on the battlefield.

    What I have faulted you for is not acknowledging the progress we have been making. General Petraeus is right, there is no military solution to the problem of Iraq (in the sense that military victory alone will not solve the problem. The context of his remarks (and actions) makes clear though that a military victory is an essential aspect of the solution. And on that front, we are making headway.

    I began this post with a clear indication of our military success–capturing a leading terrorist. You could at least acknowledge our military victories, just as I recognize that more work needs be done (as I said in my previous comment).

    The point of this post is that Democrats say we are losing the war whereas the facts tell quite a different story. We are winning, but we have not yet won.

    It’s too bad you refuse to acknowledge the significance of the recent successes, noted even by some in the mainstream media.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — July 19, 2007 @ 1:46 pm - July 19, 2007

  17. torrentprime, it is all but impossible to have a conversation with you.

    GPW, you’re not the first to discover that 🙂

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 19, 2007 @ 2:19 pm - July 19, 2007

  18. Torrent Prime was wrong. Democrats Sided With Terrorists Against American Citizens and killed the John Doe provusion.

    Comment by V the K — July 19, 2007 @ 8:08 pm - July 19, 2007

  19. the surge has *nothing* to do with the political and social changes necessary to declare victory in Iraq.

    of course it does. what a silly statement. you have to have some semblence of law and order and security before any political changes can happen.

    and as far as political changes…just exactly how long do you think is reasonable to expect these political changes to take place? three weeks? four?

    Do you realise it was 15 years between the time our first continental congress met and the first session of our first federal congress????

    Iraq has formed an interim government, held elections, written a constitution, ratified it, and held more elections all in a fraction of the time. But Democrats cant even give them a couple months or wait until basic security exists in order for them to work out their differences.

    Its blatantly obvious that Democrats want to pull out immediately, precisely because the surge is working. And if the surge works, they lose power. Thats what this is all about.

    Theyre reprehensible.

    Comment by Will — July 20, 2007 @ 4:10 am - July 20, 2007

  20. And in the Senate, 39 Democrats vote to kill the John Doe provision. All Republicans voted to keep it.

    Does TP want to try and spin that Democrats are not siding with the terrorists against American citizens on this issue?

    Comment by V the K — July 20, 2007 @ 8:13 am - July 20, 2007

  21. Democrats can’t give Gen Petraus 2 months or 12 months for success because what would happen if America made improvements and success in Iraq happened? The Democrats look like fools. They wouldn’t win an election for 12 years. Who has the most to lose if the surge is successful? After Al Qida it’s the Dems who lose the most. They pray every night for us to lose. How sad. Shame.

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — July 20, 2007 @ 9:40 pm - July 20, 2007

  22. Unfortunately, the President had it right: you are either with the USA, or you are with the terrorists.

    It mystifies me as to why some prominent libtards (Rosie O’Donnell, Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, Dave Letterman) cannot or will not choose our side. And why they are still in the country.

    (Shaking head)

    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — July 23, 2007 @ 4:50 pm - July 23, 2007

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