(This was published in 2007 at Redstate.com. In light of Harry Reid's recent departure from honesty regarding Mitt Romney's tax payments, it's still relevant.)
There has been some uproar in the last week over Harry Reid’s contentious statement that the "war is lost" in Iraq. He has even claimed that General Petraeus agrees with him, and he has pointed to Petraeus’s own statement for support.
This is what General Petraeus said:
"It is, however, exceedingly difficult for the Iraqi government to come to grips with the toughest issues it must resolve while survival is the primary concern of so many in Iraq's capital.
"For this reason, military action to improve security, while not wholly sufficient to solve Iraq's problems, is certainly necessary and that is why additional U.S. and Iraqi forces are moving to Baghdad."
It’s clear that the meaning of those sentences is that military action is a necessary component of our battle plan against the terrorists bedeviling the Iraqi attempt to create a stable government and a viable Baghdad.
Yet, Harry Reid’s spin on the words turns them on their head. Here's an excerpt of an interview of Reid by Dana Bash on CNN:
REID: General -- General Petraeus has said the war cannot be won militarily. He said that….So I -- I stick with General Petraeus. I have no doubt that the war cannot be won militarily, and that's what I said last Thursday and I stick with that.
BASH: Is there something to that, an 18- and 19-year-old person in the service in Iraq who is serving, risking their lives, in some cases losing their life, hearing somebody like you back in Washington saying that they're fighting for a lost cause?
REID: General Petraeus has told them that.
BASH: How has he said that?
REID: He said the war can't be won militarily. He said that. I mean he said it.
Yes, he did say that. But in its context, the meaning was exactly the opposite of what Reid professes to believe. Petraeus means not that we cannot win with the help of military force, but that we cannot win without it.
Reid, however, twists the words to pretend they mean our military forces are useless to us in Iraq because "the war cannot be won militarily;" we have lost and should therefore abandon the battlefield. He doesn’t exactly misquote Petraeus, he just leaves out some important modifying and explanatory phrases and interprets what's left to suit his own purposes.
And that’s how a Democrat lies without lying.
(Comments on original post available here.)