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Schumer slanders Marines

Posted by Richard on September 6, 2007

The Democrats have long insisted that they really do support the troops, that they have nothing but respect and admiration for the troops. Oh, yeah? Wednesday on the Senate floor, Sen. Charles Schumer labeled the Marines in Anbar province incompetent and said they're part of the problem, not the solution. And he insulted Iraqis, too, dubbing the tribal sheiks who are cooperating with us — the men President Bush met with on Labor Day — "warlords."

Duane Patterson has a 5-minute clip from Schumer's speech, but here's the money quote (emphasis added):

And let me be clear, the violence in Anbar has gone down despite the surge, not because of the surge. The inability of American soldiers to protect these tribes from al Qaeda said to these tribes we have to fight al Qaeda ourselves. It wasn't that the surge brought peace here. It was that the warlords took peace here, created a temporary peace here. And that is because there was no one else there protecting.

Patterson observed that "Not only is Schumer calling the American military incompetent, he's calling them liars, as well," and offered relevant quotes from Generals Petraeus and Simmons.

But you don't have to take the generals' word for it. Over at the Outside the Wire blog, JD Johannes has a short clip of LTC Valery Keaveny, one of those inept Marines in Anbar who actually talks with and fights alongside the tribesmen Schumer claims we couldn't protect. Johannes, a former Marine, director of the Iraq war documentary Outside the Wire, and independent war correspondent, added his own observations:

I've been on missions with tribal fighters. I've broken bread with them. I've asked them why they started standing up against Al Qaida and the insurgents.

The answer always involves the brutality of Al Qaida. Never once have I heard an Iraqi say they turned on Al Qaida because the coalition could not protect them from Al Qaida.

Which brings us back to LTC Keaveny's point. If a former insurgent is now working with the coalition–how is it possible the joined he joined the Awakening for protection from Al Qaida.

The second major error in Schumer's revisionist history is that he is trying to rewrite a claim no one should be making–that the surge caused the Anbar Awakening.

The Awakening started around this time last year–way before the surge was ever announced.

Schumer isn't just lying about Anbar and the Marines, though. He claimed that we've just been "pushing on a balloon" and that the improvement in Anbar was offset by a worsening situation in "many other provinces." Bunk. Check out the metrics at The Victory Caucus, especially the map showing attacks per day per province. One, Baghdad, has 51. Three others are in the low 20s and one averages 15. Another six range from 1 to 7. The remaining seven provinces average zero (0) attacks. So Baghdad accounts for a third of the violence, and four of the eighteen provinces account for fully three-quarters of it.

While you're at TVC, check out the Info and News links for more stuff you won't hear on the evening news. Then sign the Stand by the Mission petition.

UPDATE: There is no coherent theme underlying Schumer's opposition to the mission, it's just gainsaying — throwing out whatever comes to mind and hoping some of it sticks. The U.S. failed to protect the Sunni tribes from al Qaeda, he now claims. But until very recently, he and his pals insisted strenuously that al Qaeda wasn't present or was an insignificant factor in Iraq, an administration fiction to divert attention from the "civil war" between Sunni and Shia. And since these Sunni tribesmen were previously fighting us, not al Qaeda, the idea that we let them down is just nonsense. 

UPDATE 2: Rush made a good point today (Thurs.): Since forever, Schumer and other Democrats have argued that the Iraqis need to step forward and take responsibility for their own security. So when the Iraqis in Anbar successfully do that, Schumer sees it as a bad thing. This nonsense on stilts.  

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