According to Merriam-Webster, the word shameless is defined as, "Having no shame; impervious to disgrace."
It's a word that comes to mind when reading Harry Reid's audacious new spin on his remark in 2007 regarding the ongoing US war effort in Iraq. The infamous clip is linked above.
In a candidate Q&A forum published today by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Reid now appears to claim that his disgraceful assertion of American defeat actually helped spur policymakers to adopt a more productive course of action.
Behold, distilled shamelessness:
REID: At the time Sen. Reid made this comment, President Bush had been pursuing a failed, stay-the-course strategy that had cost thousands of American lives and billions of taxpayer dollars. Iraq appeared to be on the verge of a sectarian civil war. He was simply pointing out what our military leaders, including Gen. Petraeus, had been saying for months: that we could not win by staying the course; the war needed to be won diplomatically, politically, and economically. Sen. Reid and his colleagues were successful in forcing President Bush to finally abandon his failed approach and refocus on political reconciliation. This is what ultimately paved the way for the Iraqi government to take greater responsibility for Iraq’s future. Sen. Reid’s comments were directed at President Bush and his following of misguided policymakers, not at the heroic troops who continue to serve our country with incredible courage.
Perhaps the Reid campaign might have consulted a calendar before cobbling together this howler.
January '07: President Bush announces the Iraq surge.
February '07: Reid sponsors a (failed) non-binding resolution in the Senate expressing the chamber's opposition to the president's decision.
February '07: Additional American combat brigades begin deploying to Iraq.
April '07: Reid uncorks his "lost" comment.
Reid's statement came four months after the so-called "misguided policymakers" had already "abandoned [the] failed approach" by instituting a new strategy. It was that very strategy, opposed tooth and nail by Reid, that ultimately "paved the way for the Iraqi government to take greater responsibility."
Harry Reid was therefore not "successful" at forcing Bush to do anything whatsoever. Bush had already exerted leadership--over Reid's incessant undermining efforts and objections, culminating in his rock-bottom politically-motivated surrender comment.
It's also worth noting that the quote above was not an off-the-cuff, improvised answer. The Review-Journal told me this reply was a written response to a questionnaire designed to allow candidates ample time to think through and respond thoroughly to its queries. In other words, that quote is the unambiguous, official position of Sen. Harry Reid.
Bottom line? He wants Nevadans to believe that in 2007, he deliberately declared an American war lost in a calculated maneuver to influence other leaders to adopt a new, winning approach in Iraq; An approach that he opposed, but has proven so effective that it's been begrudgingly embraced in the current Democratic administration's Afghanistan strategy.
UPDATE: Sharron Angle's campaign responds, calling Reid's explanation unacceptable. "We should remember that during the challenging moments of the war, Harry Reid undermined our men and women in uniform and basically called their commander, General Petraeus, a liar," said Jarrod Agen, Angle's Communications Director. "Senator Reid’s comments about General Petraeus were shameful, and he refuses to apologize for them to this day. The arrogance of this man knows no bounds and is yet another reason he has to go.”
Spokesman Jerry Stacy added that Reid's remark constituted, "a dangerous declaration that put our soldiers at serious risk."
Angle's campaign has launched the self-explanatory website, PetraeusApology.com
The answers in the questionnaire are on-the-record as those of Harry Reid himself. In the very unlikely event that this answer was a result of a random staffer going rogue and riffing on his own with no public correction, then the Reid campaign is even more inept than previously thought.