Wednesday, September 06, 2006

More Gross Distortions on Iraq From James Inhofe

Sen. James Inhofe from Oklahoma took to the Senate floor this evening to give a grossly inaccurate picture of the state of the Iraq war. Inhofe argued that immense progress has been made in Iraq, that violence was not, in fact, on the rise, and that Iraqis are quite happy about the American presence there. “Civil war is not going on,” said Inhofe. He could not have been more wrong.

On Friday, the Pentagon released a rather dismal report on the progress that has been made in Iraq. According to the Associated Press, Iraq is experiencing a rising tide of sectarian violence, and increasing security problems. From the report, “Conditions that could lead to civil war exist in Iraq, specifically in and around Baghdad, and concern about civil war within the Iraqi civilian population has increased in recent months.”

The report also detailed how optimism among Iraqi citizens has declined as well, contrary to what Inhofe said on the floor. When asked if things will be better in the future, the number of respondents answering positively has been steadily declining, according to polling in the report. (AP, 9/1/06) Doesn’t exactly sound like the pretty picture Inhofe painted.

Inhofe went on to say that the only reason the Democratic senators were expressing this criticism is because they are all running for president. In fact, only two senators even rumored to be running for president had spoken thus far, Senator Clinton and Senator Kerry. Others included Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Carl Levin, Edward Kennedy, Mark Dayton, Barbara Mikulski, Tom Harkin, and Frank Lautenberg. Inhofe must be reading some pretty strange newspapers if he thinks they’re all running for president…

At the end of his speech, Inhofe urged his colleagues to keep politics out of the debate:

“The greatest possible disservice we can do, not just to the Iraqi people, but to our troops over there, is to use Rumsfeld and the war politically, for advancement.”

This from a Republican? Maybe Inhofe should direct his comments elsewhere, like to those in his own party, as they have openly admitted that they will use the issues of national security to better their chances of winning in November.

Sadly, Inhofe’s mischaracterizations shouldn’t be all that surprising. After all, it is certainly not the first time this has happened. Remember that “nothing short of a miracle” comment?


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