IBD falsely cited Petraeus to rebut Obama's statement that "all our top military commanders recognize there is no military solution in Iraq"

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

Commenting on Sen. Barack Obama's August 2007 statement that "All our top military commanders recognize that there is no military solution in Iraq," Investor's Business Daily wrote, "Except, of course, for Gen. David Petraeus." But three months earlier, Petraeus had said during a news conference, "I think, again, that any student of history recognizes that there is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency of Iraq."

In a March 11 editorial, headlined "The Al-Qaida Caucus," Investor's Business Daily asserted that Sen. Barack Obama "told the assembled veterans at the VFW Convention in Kansas City last year, 'All our top military commanders recognize that there is no military solution in Iraq.' " Commenting on that statement, IBD continued: "Except, of course, for Gen. David Petraeus." In fact, at a March 8, 2007, press conference, Petraeus asserted: "I think, again, that any student of history recognizes that there is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency of Iraq." Petraeus further stated:

PETRAEUS: Military action is necessary to help improve security, for all the reasons that I stated in my remarks, but it is not sufficient. A political resolution of various differences, of this legislation, of various senses that people do not have a stake in the success of the new Iraq, and so forth, that is crucial. That is what will determine in the long run the success of this effort.

Moreover, IBD failed to include the entire context of Obama's comments in his August 21, 2007, speech, which would have made it clear that Obama, like Petraeus, suggested that a military solution was not possible in Iraq without a political solution. In the speech, Obama stated:

OBAMA: All of our top military commanders recognize that there is no military solution in Iraq. And no matter how brilliantly and bravely our troops and their commanders perform, they cannot and should not bear the responsibility of resolving grievances at the heart of Iraq's civil war. No military surge can succeed without political reconciliation and a surge of diplomacy in Iraq and the region. Iraq's leaders are not reconciling. They are not achieving political benchmarks. The only thing they seem to have agreed on is to take a vacation. That is why I have pushed for a careful and responsible redeployment of troops engaged in combat operations out of Iraq, joined with direct and sustained diplomacy in the region. And that is why I will continue to push the President to change our policy.

IBD also asserted that "[t]he statement by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, that an Obama victory in the presidential race might be greeted with jubilation by al-Qaida in Iraq and other terrorists has been met with outrage in the Obama camp and discomfort in the McCain campaign," adding, "The question is why. We think it's right on target." Further, IBD stated that "King also committed the crime of mentioning Obama's middle name, which didn't seem to matter to Democrats when the first name was John and the last name was Kennedy during the first coming of Camelot." In fact, King claimed that Obama's name "does matter." In comments made to a Spencer, Iowa, radio station and published in a March 8 Spencer Daily Reporter article, King stated: "I will tell you that, if [Obama] is elected president, then the radical Islamists, the al-Qaida, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they will declare victory in this War on Terror." The article continued:

King thinks radical Islamists will say the United States has capitulated because the Obama administration would be pulling troops out of any conflict associated with al-Qaida.

"Additionally, his middle name (Hussein) does matter," King said. "It matters because they read a meaning into that in the rest of the world. That has a special meaning to them. They will be dancing in the streets because of his middle name. They will be dancing in the streets because of who his father was and because of his posture that says: Pull out of the Middle East and pull out of this conflict."

As Media Matters for America has noted, in a January 28 editorial, The Washington Post described the gratuitous reference to Obama's middle name as a "sleazy tactic." The Post noted that Obama does not use his middle name and argued that "[t]hose who take pains to insert it when referring to him are trying, none too subtly, to stir up scary images of menacing terrorists and evil dictators." The Post further stated that using Obama's middle name "would be merely juvenile if it weren't so contemptible," and that those who employ it "embarrass only themselves."

From Investor's Business Daily's March 11 editorial:

Politics: Obama takes exception to a McCain supporter's suggestion that jihadists might welcome his victory. Considering Obama wants to withdraw from the central front in the war on terror, why would they do that?

The statement by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, that an Obama victory in the presidential race might be greeted with jubilation by al-Qaida in Iraq and other terrorists has been met with outrage in the Obama camp and discomfort in the McCain campaign.

The question is why. We think it's right on target.

During a stop at the studios of station KICD in Spencer, Iowa, announcing his bid for a fourth term in Congress, King asked:

"When you think about the option of a Barack Obama potentially getting elected president of the United States - I mean, what does this look like to the rest of the world? What does this look like to the world of Islam?"

He continued: "I will tell you that, if he is elected president, then the radical Islamists, the al-Qaida, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on Sept. 11, because they will declare victory in this war on terror."

Oh, yeah: King also committed the crime of mentioning Obama's middle name, which didn't seem to matter to Democrats when the first name was John and the last name was Kennedy during the first coming of Camelot.

But then the pledge was to pay any price and bear any burden to ensure the success and survival of liberty. Obama's pledge is to run and hide.

Think about it a moment. If you're a leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, which given the short life expectancy isn't a good career move these days, would you rather have John McCain be our next president or Barack Obama? What would your reaction be to either event?

McCain has supported our goals in Iraq, if not always our strategy, from Day One. He supported the surge that is kicking al-Qaida's butt and says we should stay until we win. He also has said that he will follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell to capture or kill the monster.

Obama has proudly proclaimed his opposition to the war from Day One and has opposed the surge. We're not sure what he would do to AQI's collective butt, but kicking it is not an option. More likely he would follow al-Qaida to the gates of the U.N., conducting his "aggressive personal diplomacy" all the way.

Al-Qaida in Iraq is not in Iraq, according to Obama, or at least wasn't there until we liberated, er, invaded the country. But if it ever goes there, he might send some of the troops he has precipitately withdrawn to restore the democracy he threw away, making young Americans do it over again.

Obama, whose foreign policy consists of talking to our enemies while bombing our allies, told the assembled veterans at the VFW Convention in Kansas City last year, "All our top military commanders recognize that there is no military solution in Iraq."

Except, of course, for Gen. David Petraeus.

From Petraeus' March 8, 2007, press conference:

QUESTION: I have two questions. The first question is about the additional forces which will guard the detention facilities. Why do you focus on the detention camps? Why don't you give this task to the Iraqi security forces?

Second question: You said that the host country can determine who are the reconcilable groups. But everybody should be under the supremacy of law, and all military activities should be cancelled. So how are these people going to be part of the solution?

PETRAEUS: First of all, there -- you asked about detention facilities, coalition and Iraqi. And in fact there is an effort ongoing -- in fact, it's part of the rule of law effort that I mentioned -- that will assist Iraq and the Ministry of Justice in expanding its detention facilities.

The fact is that Iraq has a very, very small capacity in that regard, compared with any of the other states in the region or even just to a state of the United States. And so the assessment of leaders and so forth is that there -- especially as you have a security crackdown that does target these extremists, that a number of them need to be detained and to be put into the correction system. And so that is an effort -- there is an effort ongoing to do that, just as there is an effort ongoing to expand the U.S. capacity for detention.

And in fact, in one of the locations -- in fact, several of the coalitions -- we are actually helping to train Iraqi corrections officers. In some cases, they are training alongside our soldiers and will transition to take over some of the detention facilities you can see, again, in the years hence.

So there's a short-term capacity increase effort ongoing, and there's also a longer-term plan that has been being executed and will also be reinforced to increase the Iraqi capacity over time as well.

With respect, again, to the -- you know, the idea of the reconcilables and the irreconcilables, this is something in which the Iraqi government obviously has the lead. It is something that they have sought to -- in some cases, to reach out. And I think, again, that any student of history recognizes that there is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency of Iraq. Military action is necessary to help improve security, for all the reasons that I stated in my remarks, but it is not sufficient.

A political resolution of various differences, of this legislation, of various senses that people do not have a stake in the success of the new Iraq, and so forth, that is crucial. That is what will determine in the long run the success of this effort. And again, that clearly has to include talking with and eventually reconciling differences with some of those who have felt that the new Iraq did not have a place for them, whereas I think, again, Prime Minister Maliki clearly believes that it does, and I think that his actions will demonstrate that, along with the other ministers.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Iraq
Network/Outlet
Investor's Business Daily
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.