Sen. Harry Reid is a confused man, at least if what he said yesterday is any indication:
The war in Iraq "is lost" and a US troop surge is failing to bring peace to the country, the leader of the Democratic majority in the US Congress, Harry Reid, said Thursday.
"I believe ... that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything, as is shown by the extreme violence in Iraq this week," Reid told journalists.
Reid said he had delivered the same message to US President George W. Bush on Wednesday, when the US president met with senior lawmakers to discuss how to end a standoff over an emergency war funding bill.
"I know I was the odd guy out at the White House, but I told him at least what he needed to hear ... I believe the war at this stage can only be won diplomatically, politically and economically."
If the war is lost how can it be won "diplomatically, politically and economically"? But let's not quibble over logic. Here's another question: Who in Washington ever said that the war could be won by military tactics alone? What the good Senator apparently doesn't understand is the difference between necessary and sufficient conditions. Military force is a necessary condition for success in Iraq, but it's not sufficient, and no one, Senator Reid's epiphany notwithstanding, ever said that it was.
We'd also like to know how he knows that the surge, which is only 60% complete, isn't working. Of course there's been a lot more mayhem in the last week but one week is no measure of long-term success in war any more than it is in baseball.
I'm afraid that what Senator Reid is doing with his defeatism is projecting his hopes onto the reality in Iraq. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I can't help thinking that Reid is so heavily invested in our failure that the last thing he wants to see or encourage is success. Victory in Iraq would mean that Democrats would be banished to political outer-darkness in '08. Bush would win the praise of history, the Republicans would win back Congress as well as the White House, and the anti-war Democrats would be viewed by historians as the biggest bunch of losers since Neville Chamberlain and his cronies.
Does Reid, or any prominent Democrat besides Joe Leiberman, really hope for an outcome to the war that entails the euthanasia of his party and quite likely his career? Maybe, but I doubt it.RLC