OK, I borrowed the title from Josh Marshall who covered the Iraq’s Prime Minister’s visit to Washington with several posts yesterday including his interview with Jim Lehrer where Allawi suggested the continuation of a Saddam regime would have meant more 9/11’s. Allawi told Congress they had 100,000 trained troops as if being in training is the same thing as being trained. Allawi claims that his troops won the battle of Najaf, which contradicts what Juan Cole and others have reported. Cole also notes:
Allawi minimized the violence, saying that it was confined to 3 of Iraq’s 18 provinces. This assertion is simply untrue, and is anyway misleading because Baghdad is one of the three Allawi had in mind! Could an election that excluded the capital, with at least 5 million inhabitants, be considered valid?
On Hardball Norah O’Donnell noted simply:
And he had Allawi essentially echo many of the themes that President Bush says out on the campaign trail. It was as if Allawi‘s comments had been written by President Bush‘s speech writers.
Of course, Dan Burton had to attack her for saying even the obvious. As the “substance” of what Allawi said in public, Mark Kleiman writes in Go Figure:
In his public remarks, Iraqi PM Allawi stuck with the official happy horsesh*t. In private, he told the truth: things aren’t going so well. Just to rub it in, Rumsfeld publicly speculated on running an election in Iraq excluding twenty or twenty-five percent of the voters: the ones who live in areas so insurgent-controlled that no vote could be held.
Holding elections for only 80% of the voters leaving out some of the largest cities such as Baghdad. I wonder if Karl Rove has figured out a way to exclude places like Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area?
So when John Kerry noted that Allawi painted an unrealistically upbeat picture of the situation in Iraq, Dick Cheney fires off:
I must say I was appalled at the complete lack of respect Senator Kerry showed for this man of courage when he rushed to hold a press conference and attack the prime minister, a man America must stand beside to defeat the terrorists…John Kerry is trying to tear down all the good that has been accomplished, and his words are destructive to our effort in Iraq and in the global war on terror… As Prime Minister Allawi said in his speech, and I quote, ‘When political leaders sound the siren of defeatism in the face of terrorism, it only encourages more violence’
Josh notes: “In other words, democracy in America is harmful to building democracy in Iraq”. All I can is that the Bush-Cheney credo must be: “determination requires deception, while telling the truth is treason”.