Mehlman on Iraq: Adapting to Win!

Was Ken Mehlman auditioning to become the anchor on the Colbert Report during last segment of today’s Meet the Press. David Gregory set up Mehlman by noting: (a) Mehlman had praised Lieberman as believing in a strong national defense (Mehlman was trying to paint the rest of us Democrats as not caring about security); and (b) noting some of Lieberman’s criticisms of the ineptitude of the Bush Administration in handling post invasion Iraq. So was this a joke:

Look, the fact is that our mission in the war in Iraq is critical. We agree on that; we agree it’s wrong to cut and run. But look, we’re not coming in and saying “Stay the course.” The choice in this election is not between “Stay the course” and “Cut and run,” it’s between “Win by adapting” and “Cut and run.” Let me tell you what we’re doing. The fact is, before the successful Iraqi elections, the number of troops went up from 137,000 to 167,000. That’s adapting to win. Recently, the increased troops in Baghdad, adapting to win. We changed how the training of Iraqi forces occurred to involve more Iraqis. That’s adapting to win.

So why did the Bush Administration stay the course for three years and only recently decide to adapt to win? Could it be that they are trailing in the polls for our November 2006 elections? Of course, they are not adapting their strategy of smearing Democrats as weak on national security.

More jokes from comedian Mehlman:

But every one of the points you mentioned – North Korea successfully tested six missiles. The people want to vote for Democratic leaders who have been against missile defense. You mentioned Iran, Harry Reid said we should take the use of force off the table. How are we going to be able to negotiate and prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon – which Chairman Dean is right, is a terrible thing if it happens – if they don’t think force is a possibility?

The previous Administration relied on a strategy of diplomacy where we told Iran and North Korea that there would be severe consequences if they built nuclear weapons. That way we would not have to rely on shooting down a nuclear missile. The Bush Administration’s lack of diplomacy leads to nuclear missiles being developed by North Korea and Mehlman wants to rely on Star Wars to shoot them down? Never mind, we’ve been trying to develop such a defense for a generation to no avail. Now we have to rely on this pipe dream to prevent the infamous “mushroom cloud”? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

But the real joke was how Mehlman opened his interview:

If you listen to what Osama bin Laden says, if you listen to what Mr. Zawahiri says, they both say their goal is to drive America out of Iraq the way we were driven out of Vietnam and to use that as a base to launch further attacks. They’ve said what their goal is if there’s a failed state sitting in between Syria and Iran.

It would not have been a failed state open to the likes of Al Qaeda had the White House listened to John Dean and many others who warned going into Iraq in the first place was a mistake. But yes, we now have a lose, lose situation thanks to that stupid decision on March 19, 2003. Go back and read what Howard Dean said this morning about the need to address this nightmare in the right way – since obviously Ken Mehlman failed to listen to Mr. Dean’s comments as he was too busy rehearsing his dishonest talking points.

Update: With a hat tip to Judd who notes that Bill Kristol gives Ken Mehlman some real competition as joker of the week:

The Bush administration, I think, is deeply correct about this. And what you do on one front affects what happens on the other front. Cheney’s statement is indisputably correct. It doesn’t mean that Ned Lamont likes al Qaeda or wants al Qaeda to win. But the notion that a retreat in Iraq would not embolden terrorists elsewhere in the Middle East, and terror recruiters in the suburbs of London, is ludicrous. Of course it would. Now, if you want to say we should get out of Iraq anyway because we can’t win and this is the price we have to pay, fine.

No Billie boy – getting into Iraq is what was deemed by Osama bin Laden to be his “gift from God”. But you are correct – what we did on the Iraq “front” on March 19, 2003 did have a catastrophic effect on the “other front” – the real GWOT.

Update II: Jim Rutenberg exposes the “Defeatocrats memo” penned by Fox News spokesperson (or was it White House press secretary) Tony Snow:

The entire effort was swiftly coordinated by the Republican National Committee and the White House, using the same political machinery that carried them to victory in 2004. It began in the days before the anticipated loss of Mr. Lieberman, a staunch supporter of the war in Iraq, to Ned Lamont, a vocal war critic whose victory Republicans used to paint Democrats as “Defeatocrats.” That word originated in a White House memorandum by Mr. Bush’s press secretary, Tony Snow, suggesting ways to frame the debate, that was shared with officials, including Ken Mehlman, the Republican chairman, and Karl Rove, the president’s top strategist … The plan came together at the same time that Mr. Bush and his top security aides, as well as Vice President Dick Cheney, were being intensively briefed on the unfolding British investigation.

I see – a plot to kill thousands of American and British citizens – and all these demagogues can think of as how to (dishonestly) smear Democrats as Al Qaeda sympathizers. How did we ever let such clowns into the White House in the first place? Hat tip to Christy Hardin Smith who adds:

the US rushed Britain on arrests in the terrorism bust from last week, that came on the heels of the Lieberman loss. Hmmm…anyone think that the CT referendum against Joe Lieberman and his support of the “Stay the Failing Course” Bush Presidency had anything to do with the push on this?

as she links to this fund raising effort.