Schieffer didn't refute Rep. Hunter's false claim that "nobody" ever offered goal of insurgency-free Iraq

››› ››› JOE BROWN

On the August 8 broadcast of CBS' Face the Nation, anchor Bob Schieffer left unchallenged a statement by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) that "nobody" has claimed that Iraq can be free of insurgents and violence. Commenting on the future of U.S. operations in Iraq, Hunter stated, "There are always going to be insurgents in Iraq. ... I think this idea of requiring the standard to be that we're going to have a nation which is free of violence is unrealistic, and nobody has ever posited that as a goal."

Instead of pointing out that President Bush and leading members of his administration have repeatedly committed to the goal of defeating the Iraqi insurgency and creating a peaceful future for the country, Schieffer simply responded "All right." Some of the strongest examples from the past year that Schieffer could have cited include:

  • A February 4 speech in Little Rock, Arkansas, in which President Bush stated:

We will continue training the Iraqis as fast as possible so they have the capacity to meet their will, which is to defeat these terrorists. See, they voted in overwhelming numbers in the face of terrorism. I'm convinced that when given the tools, they will defeat the terrorists.

  • The June 24 broadcast of CNN Live Today, during which Vice President Dick Cheney predicted that "we will, in fact, succeed in getting a democracy established in Iraq. And I think when we do that will be the end of the insurgency."
  • A June 23 appearance before the House Armed Services Committee by Gen. George W. Casey Jr., commander of the multinational forces in Iraq, during which Casey claimed:

But this insurgency and these terrorists will ultimately be defeated as Iraqis elect a government based on an Iraqi constitution that respects the human rights of all Iraqis, as they build Iraqi security forces that could maintain domestic order and deny Iraq as a safe haven for terrorists, and as they continue the economic development programs that help Iraq recover from decades of neglect.

From the August 8 broadcast of CBS' Face the Nation:

SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just go back to Chairman Hunter because David Martin, our Pentagon correspondent, who's very well informed on military thinking if I do say so, reported this week that the military is no longer trying to win this war in the sense of trying to defeat this insurgency. He said basically what's going on now is they're trying to hold things together until, as you say, we can build up this Iraqi security force and get this constitution approved and get the National Assembly elected this fall. Is that correct?

HUNTER: Well, I think he's defining this mission in the wrong way. There are always going to be insurgents in Iraq. There's a porous border with Syria and with other nations, and there's always going to be bombs going off and that's the nature of that neighborhood. The key is as we stand up this free government, which is elected by the people, will we have a military which is strong enough to protect that government and to be accountable to that government? And I think that's going to happen. I think this idea of requiring the standard to be that we're going to have a nation which is free of violence is unrealistic, and nobody has ever posited that as a goal.

SCHIEFFER: All right.

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