W. Thomas Smith, Jr

A joint statement issued by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), on the evening of President Bush’s State of the Union address, says, “The OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of Americans, MILITARY LEADERS, and a bipartisan coalition in Congress oppose the President's plan to escalate the war.”

Not that the president plans to escalate the war, but instead wants to rework our efforts in Iraq by reinforcing and realigning our ground forces. We’ll save that for another discussion. For now, let’s keep in mind the reference to “overwhelming majority” of “military leaders,” because it’s clever how they included “military leaders” in the list without any supporting facts that an “overwhelming majority” of those leaders oppose any plan.

Surely it was obvious to Pelosi, Reid, and their writers that by placing the term second in the series, it could easily be perceived by readers that an “overwhelming majority” of “military leaders” oppose a plan by the president. Yet if called to present hard numbers to support the so-called “overwhelming majority,” Pelosi and Reid could easily deny they were referring to “military leaders,” only to “Americans.” Oh so slick.

Then there was Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) who, in his televised rebuttal to the president’s address, said, the MAJORITY of OUR MILITARY “no longer supports the way this war is being fought.” Webb’s comments were probably based on a recent poll of active-duty subscribers to the independent Military Times newspapers.

But in the comments by both Webb and the Nan-Harry tagteam, a definite “majority” is both flat wrong and a dangerous attempt to sway the thinking – thus undermine the morale – of our combat forces in the field.

Of course, this is nothing new: Recent Pelosi soundbites include such gems as “there is no success …” and “The policy and the practice is not making the American people safer … .” Then there is Reid’s latest line before the National Press Club: “The United States forces have been given an impossible mission;” and my favorite posturing-snippet from the Nan-Harry tagteam which said, “Congress will not ignore this president’s failed policy.” (Don’t forget: Though Dems seem to love to posture after their own election victories, many of them damned the remarkable Iraqi elections with cynical, faint praise.)

Yet the Dems still continue to qualify many of their statements with something along the lines of “but we support the troops.”

How can anyone honestly say they support the troops when they make false claims that a majority of both military leaders and the rank-and-file no longer support what their organization is doing, particularly when the majority does?

W. Thomas Smith, Jr

W. Thomas Smith Jr. is a former U.S. Marine rifle-squad leader and counterterrorism instructor. He is the author of six books, and he has covered war and conflict in the Balkans, on the West Bank, in Iraq, and Lebanon. Visit him online at http://www.uswriter.com.
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