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On the January 16 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, while discussing President Bush's decision to deploy more than 20,000 additional U.S. troops to Iraq, New York radio host Mark Simone falsely asserted: "Remember, a month ago, both [Speaker of the House Nancy] Pelosi [D-CA] and [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid [D-NV] were for more troops. As soon as Bush was for it, they were against it." In reality, on December 20, Pelosi issued a statement to TPMmuckraker.com rejecting an increase in troop levels for Iraq. She wrote: "There are no easy answers in Iraq, but there are wrong ones. I do not support increasing troop levels in Iraq to further the President's current failed policy." Additionally, on March 13, 2006, in a press release in response to a Bush speech on Iraq, Pelosi called for a change in policy and the withdrawal of U.S. troops, saying: "Instead of launching yet another public relations campaign, President Bush should use his speeches this week to provide a strategy to bring our brave men and women home safely and soon."
On the December 17 edition of ABC's This Week, Reid told host George Stephanopoulos that he would "go along with" an increase of troops in Iraq "[i]f it's for a surge that is for two or three months and it's part of a program to get us out of there by this time next year." He then added: "If the commanders on the ground said this is just for a short period of time, we'll go along with that." On December 19, Reid posted an item on the website, The Huffington Post, in which he wrote: "I do not believe more troops is the answer in for Iraq." Reid added: "I believe we should start redeploying troops in 4 to 6 months (The Levin-Reed Plan) and complete the withdrawal of combat forces by the first quarter of 2008."
Also, on January 5, prior to Bush's January 10 speech in which he revealed his proposal for a troop increase, Pelosi and Reid sent a joint letter to the president asking him not to increase the number of troops in Iraq. They wrote: "Rather than deploy additional forces to Iraq, we believe the way forward is to begin the phased redeployment of our forces in the next four to six months, while shifting the principal mission of our forces from combat to training, logistics, force protection and counter-terror." Moreover, both Pelosi and Reid signed a letter sent by U.S. House and Senate Democratic leaders to the president on October 20, 2006, that called for "the phased redeployment and transitioning of the U.S. mission in Iraq by the end of the year."
From the January 16 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight:
DOBBS: Looking forward to it, Wolf. Thank you. Joining me now, three of the country's very best talk radio show hosts. Here in New York, Mark Simone, WABC. And Michael Smerconish, WPHT in Philadelphia. Good to have with you us. And in Los Angeles, Doug McIntyre, KABC. Good to have you with us. Mark, let's start with you. The president is -- he's up against it. He's going against the Iraq Study Group, he's going against his own party, going against the Democrats and whatever allies are still in connection with the -- this nation. What do you make of it?
SIMONE: Well, I don't know what all the fuss is about. First of all, it's not a surge; it's more of a trickle. It's just going back to last year's levels. The problem is, he used the wrong strategy. He should have said, "There is no way on earth I will send more troops." Then Pelosi and Reid would have demanded more troops. Remember, a month ago, both Pelosi and Reid were for more troops. As soon as Bush was for it, they were against it.
From the December 17 edition of ABC's This Week:
STEPHANOPOULOS: I know what the Iraq Study Group called for. If the president calls for adding more troops to Baghdad, adding more troops to Iraq, will you oppose it?
REID: If it's for a surge that is for two or three months, and it's part of a program to get us out of there as indicated by this time next year, then sure, I'll go along with it. But if it's put 40,000 more troops in there -- you know, we've lost in Nevada about 30 troops killed. Scores have been wounded. We've now are approaching 3,000 dead Americans, costing the American people $2.5 to $3 billion a week. This is a war that we have to change course. The president has to do that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You say you'd support it if it's temporary. I guess the question is, how will you know that it's going to be temporary? I mean, once -- even -- even if that condition is set, even if the president says we'd like them to come home in two or three months, there's no way you're going to know they're going to be able to come home, is there?
REID: If the commanders on the ground said this is just for a short period of time, we'll go along with that. But to put more troops in there -- keep in mind, I repeat, the situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating. Those aren't my words. Those are words of some of the finest patriots we have in this country, Democrats and Republicans, Iraq Study Group.