Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Distortions And Misrepresentations

Via Real Clear Politics today, former NYC Mayor Ed Koch ostensibly pleads with Republicans and Democrats to try to work together more cohesively, to "stop destroying the country we love." Unfortunately, while I agree with Mr. Koch's sentiments, his language leaves us with several distortions and misrepresentations that need to be examined.

He starts off with a conclusion, that Republicans "are headed for a seismic crash in the congressional election of 2006," but later in the piece indicates that it was Democrats in the House who were forced to vote in line with the Republicans on the non-binding resolution to leave Iraq "immediately" to avoid looking weak.

They knew Democrats would vote against such a resolution fearing to be held accountable in the 2006 election as, at best, fools, and, at worst, cowards.
He indicates that this isn't what Mr. Murtha suggested, but Murtha's resolution calls for withdrawal "“at the earliest practical date,” a phrase which is meaningless - after all, who decides when that date has been reached? Isn't that the President's job? If so, then Murtha's resolution calls for withdrawal when the President decides it is appropriate. I agree.

Mr. Koch does write one of the best descriptions of pre-war intelligence, one with which I think we can all agree.

There is no question that while Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in the 1990s and used poison gas against both Iraqi Kurds and Iranian soldiers, somewhere along the line, it disposed (ed: or moved) of those weapons without establishing when and how to UN inspectors. To date, no WMDs have been found in Iraq.

I might quibble with the "no WMDs" part, given the enriched uranium and VX gas armed shells that have been found, but certainly no large stockpiles have been discovered.

He also writes this:

The many Democrats who initially supported the war would like to explain away their votes by claiming they were misled by the President. That claim is the real lie. Bush relied on Tenet, who was appointed not by him, but by President Clinton.

Amen to that. Unfortunately, when it comes to proposing a policy change is where Mr. Koch's piece starts to unravel.

I propose we put our NATO and regional allies on notice that unless they come to Iraq and place boots on the ground and bear their share of the casualties and costs of the war, the U.S. and its allies in Iraq will leave within six months.

So we don't need the current coalition, with Britain, Australia, Japan, etc., etc., etc. We need NATO. I'm not sure how having the French involved improves the situation. This is besides the fact that by proposing exchanging our troops for NATO troops Mr. Koch is as much as admitting that troops are still needed there. So withdrawing, even setting a timetable for withdrawal is not a reasonable choice.

This morning on The Today Show Norah O'Donnell gave a report starting with "the real question in Iraq is 'How do we get out?'" Actually, the real question is how do we win? Mr. Koch doesn't have an answer either. One way we don't win is by leaving. Perhaps Ms. O'Donnell should have looked at this.

Mr. Koch finishes by pleading with both parties to stop unfairly attacking the other, and I think we can agree on that. He urges Sen. Reid and Rep. Pelosi to stop saying that Bush "lied." He urges Republicans to stop attacking Rep. Murtha. (ed: they didn't, except perhaps for Ms. Schmidt). And he found President Clinton's remarks while overseas to be inappropriate from a former president. They were.

No comments: