In an August 25 article about President Bush's most recent pledge to stay the course in the war in Iraq, The Washington Post failed to report that some prominent Republicans, not only Democrats, have grown "skeptic[al]" of the Bush administration's handling of the war. In fact, a number of Republicans, including potential presidential candidates, have publicly criticized the Bush administration over Iraq in recent weeks. This is the second time within a week that the Post has failed to note Republican criticism of the Iraq war while reporting Democratic criticism.
From the Post article by staff writers Sam Coates and Mike Allen:
Asserting that "the stakes in Iraq could not be higher," Bush contended that the nation is "achieving our strategic objectives in Iraq." It is that last contention -- that the United States is moving purposely toward its goals and an accompanying exit from Iraq -- that has been subject to growing skepticism by Democrats.
As Media Matters for America has noted, potential presidential candidate Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) has twice argued since August 18 that the United States is getting "bogged down" in Iraq much as it did in Vietnam. An August 18 New York Times article reported that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, another potential Republican presidential candidate, focused on what he perceived as the Bush administration's poor explanation of the war:
"Any effort to explain Iraq as 'We are on track and making progress' is nonsense," Newt Gingrich, a Republican who is a former House speaker, said. "The left has a constant drumbeat that this is Vietnam and a bottomless pit. The daily and weekly casualties leave people feeling that things aren't going well."
The Times article also documented three Republican House members who have publicly criticized the administration's Iraq policy and now oppose the war:
- Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. (R-TN) said that "[t]here is just no enthusiasm for this war," adding that "[n]obody is happy about it."
- Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest (R-MD) noted that he has seen "a lot of Republicans grousing about the situation as a whole and how they have to respond to a lot of questions back home."
- Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC) stated, "If your poll numbers are dropping over an issue, and this issue being the war, than [sic] obviously there is a message there -- no question about it."
The August 25 Post report was the second this week to ignore internal Republican tensions over Iraq. An August 22 front-page Post article on internal Democratic divisions about the war also omitted any reference to similar divisions within the Republican Party, as Media Matters previously noted.