ABC's Raddatz suggested that Democrats can't support Iraq withdrawal and "support the troops"
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On ABC's This Week, Martha Raddatz argued that Democrats "don't want" to call for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq because "the lesson from Vietnam ... was you have to support the troops or there's tremendous backlash." This is not the first time the media have suggested that opposition to the Iraq war and support for U.S. troops are mutually exclusive positions.
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On the August 13 edition of ABC's This Week, chief White House correspondent Martha Raddatz argued that Democrats "don't want" to call for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq because "the lesson from Vietnam ... was you have to support the troops or there's tremendous backlash." In other words, supporting the United States' withdrawal from Iraq -- where, according to the U.S. military, nearly 2,600 U.S. soldiers have been killed and more than 19,000 have been wounded -- is not supporting the troops.
Media Matters for America has documented numerous similar instances of media figures suggesting that opposition to the Iraq war and support for U.S. troops are mutually exclusive positions. The coverage of anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan's ejection from the 2006 State of the Union address is a case in point. Sheehan was removed from the House gallery for wearing a t-shirt with the political message: "2,245 Dead. How Many More?" Meanwhile, Beverly Young, the wife of Rep. C.W. "Bill" Young (R-FL), was also ejected for wearing a political t-shirt. Hers read "Support the Troops -- Defending our Freedom." But as Media Matters noted (here, here, and here), media characterizations of Young's shirt included "pro-military," "more patriotic," and having the "opposite message" of Sheehan's. CNN's Kyra Phillips labeled Young a "staunch advocate for the troops."
From the August 13 edition of ABC's This Week with George Stephanopolous:
ROBERT REICH (former Clinton Labor Secretary): I think that the Democrats do have this 40-year legacy of anti-war -- and anti-war, unfortunately, in the public's mind often means anti-security, anti-defense. And that's why the Democrats have to say very clearly and specifically, "We are against the Iraqi war. It is causing more problems for us and more terrorism, but we are in favor of national security."
RADDATZ: It's a very different kind of war. And it's a war that the Democrats don't want to say, "This is terrible. The troops should come home," because, you have -- the lesson from Vietnam also was you have to support the troops or there's tremendous backlash from that. And I think that's where one of the complication comes in in all of this.