This administration’s handling of the war has been characterized by deceit, mismanagement and a shocking failure to understand the social and political forces that influence events in the Middle East

Some people are upset that Senator Harry Reid said that Marine Gen. Peter Pace has been less then effective, The Politico Fails Journalism 100

Here’s exactly what Reid said:

    “I guess the president, uh, he’s gotten rid of Pace because he could not get him confirmed here in the Senate… Pace is also a yes-man for the president and I told him to his face, I laid it out to him last time he came to see me, I told him what an incompetent man I thought he was.”

So, did Reid utter the word “incompetent” in the same sentence with General Pace’s name on the conference call? Yes, he did.

Senator Reid issued this statement today in which other language is used, but amounts to the same thing, Reid: Americans Deserve Open, Honest Assessment Of Situation On The Ground In Iraq 

“The DOD’s latest quarterly report on Iraq confirms that the war is headed in a dangerous direction. Attacks on U.S. forces are up, not down. And Iraqi political leaders are frozen in a dangerous stalemate. It’s clear the President’s current strategy is not working and a change at every front is required if we are to succeed. That is why I was pleased when Secretary Gates announced his intention to nominate a new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“General Peter Pace is a distinguished military veteran and public servant. Unfortunately, in my opinion he was never as candid as he should have been about the conduct and progress of this war.

Damn that Harry Reid for being honest. If the Right doesn’t pounce on this guy and teach him a lesson pretty soon he’ll be telling some more truths and then others will follow his example then its just going to be chaos. That Pace has been less then blunt about the situation is Iraq is a disservice to the military and the American public. Pace was incompetent. he got the job because of his ideological credentials – he has some wacky ideas about American culture that jibbed with Bush’s. Pace was never known as a brilliant military strategist. With the nation tangled up in a quagmire now is not the time to hedge the truth. That seems to the Right’s problem with the distinguished Senator, he’s not towing the line. Of course the usual chorus of infantile  Republican bloggers/pundits are using this to paint Reid as anti-military; strange way to characterize a man that recently co-sponsored a bill to help vets and military- Reid Cosponsors Bill To Support Troops, Veterans, And Their Families families

Note: Because of the way the questions and answers bounced back and forth between the bloggers and Reid, the Senator might not have been referring to Pace as incompetent, but rather Bush.

Of course the usual double standard is in play. It is perfectly OK for Republicans to criticize Generals, but not Democrats – McCain Hypocritically Attacks Reid For Criticizing General 

McCain’s outrage is pure hypocrisy. Last February, when Gen. George Casey stepped down as the top U.S. commander in Iraq and was nominated as Army chief of staff. McCain was highly critical of his appointment, going so far as to issue an “extremely rare public reprimand” to Casey during a Senate hearing

I checked over at the right-wing blog Capitan’s Quarters and while he reports McCain’s criticism of Reid, but of course he fails to report McCain’s hypocrisy. Let’s go with the charge that Senator Reid said Pace was incompetent. So what. That is the Senator (or any citizen’s) right and his duty as a representative of the American people to tell the truth as he sees it. The Right as usual has come to the aid of the spinmiesters, pumping this story like they caught a robber climbing through a window rather then an honorable Senator’s legitimate criticism . This administration and it’s supporters can’t stand the light of public debate and denunciation that originates from genuine concern for the mission and the men and women sacrificing their lives to carry out that mission. It’s the Right’s Big Brother obsession with controlling the narrative. Where were the right-wingers when the Bush cabal purged General Casey for the same ideological reasons they canned the U.S. Attorneys,  FLASHBACK: One Year Ago, Bush Said He Would ‘Rely Upon Gen. Casey’s’ Advice On Troop Levels 

But Casey was always an outspoken opponent of the escalation. As early as December 2005, Casey publicly warned against an increased U.S. presence in Iraq:

    As I’ve said before this is not a conventional war, and in this type of war that we’re fighting, more is not necessarily better. In fact, in Iraq, less coalition at this point in time, is better. Less is better because it doesn’t feed the notion of occupation, it doesn’t work the culture of dependency.

Again, in January 2007, Casey insisted that an escalation of troops was not necessary and could be “counterproductive.” But Bush quickly canned Casey, claiming that Casey “had become more fixated on withdrawal than victory.”

Did Captain Ed or the other right-wing bloggers come to Casy’s defense when he dared question The Decider Bush. Of course not, because the draft avoider from Connecticut said in so many words that Casey was incompetent. It was a clear choice between supporting a knowledgeable military strategist and a frat boy and the Right supported the frat boy.

Now this is outrageous, The Clinton administration has hired a state deputy political director who is actually a non-citizen. Nope, wait I got that wrong, the Republican party searched high and low for a U.S. citizen qualified for the job and couldn’t find one. State GOP goes outside the U.S. to hire top aide 

Matthews was hired by Michael Kamburowski, an Australian citizen who was hired this year as the state GOP’s chief operations officer. But neither new official has experience in managing a political campaign in the nation’s most populous state — and as foreign citizens, neither is eligible to vote.

Tony Snow is under the impression that he works for General Eisenhower or Henry V,

Q: Are there any members of the Bush family or this administration in this war?

SNOW: Yeah, the President. The President is in the war every day.

Q: Come on, that isn’t my question –

SNOW: Well, no, if you ask any president who is a commander in chief –

Q: On the frontlines, wherever…

SNOW: The President.

Tony needs to look up the word humility and then read the definition to Dubya.

Let’s remember that some of Bush’s harshest critics have been generals that worked with him and Donald Rumsfeld – Retired Generals Slam Bush’s Iraq Plan 

The President’s troop build-up — already taking political fire from both Democrats and Republicans — came under withering attack on Thursday from a panel of retired generals on Capitol Hill, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports.

“The proposed solution is to send more troops and it won’t work. The addition of 21,000 troops is too little and too late,” former Marine Gen. Joseph Hoar said.

Hoar once commanded all American forces in the Middle East and has nothing good to say about the war.

“This administration’s handling of the war has been characterized by deceit, mismanagement and a shocking failure to understand the social and political forces that influence events in the Middle East,” Hoar said.

Retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who commanded a division in the first Gulf War and was consulted by the president in drawing up the new Iraq strategy said, “They’re going to try to muscle this thing out in the next 24 months with an urban counterinsurgency plan that I personally believe, with all due respect, is a fool’s errand.”

It will take political compromise to end Iraq’s sectarian violence, and retired Lt. Gen William Odom, who once headed Army intelligence, doubts it will happen.

“The Sunnis certainly are not committed to it, and I don’t think the Shiites have ever been committed to it,” Odom said.

Even the build-up’s lone supporter, former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Jack Keane, acknowledged that success depends on an unknown quantity — the performance of Iraqi Prime Minister al-Malaki and his government.

The Rightie blogs have also been talking a lot of pure smack about ear marks and how Democrats have failed to make reforms, When Chutzpah is an Understatement

The truth is that a lot of progress has already been made. On the first day of the new Congress, rules were adopted that:

* Prohibited the use of earmarks to reward or punish a member of Congress for any vote he or she might cast.
* Required that any member of Congress requesting a district-oriented earmark disclose in writing the name and address of the intended recipient, the purpose of the earmark, and whether the member has a financial interest in the organization or would benefit personally from the inclusion of the earmark.
* Required that all matters before a conference committee (including earmarks) must be subject to full and open debate, that a final version of a conference report must be voted on by a meeting open to all members of the conference committee, and that no item (including earmarks) may be added to the legislation after the conference committee has adjourned.

If actions speak louder than words, the clearest message was sent when the new Congress excluded earmarks entirely from the nine fiscal year 2007 appropriation bills they had to complete in January—more than three months into the fiscal year.