Reid War Comment Echoes Kissinger, Senior Military Officials

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is under fire from the right over his statement yesterday that the war in Iraq “is lost.”

Reid was called “reckless” and accused of “playing to the worst elements of the antiwar left.” White House Spokeswoman Dana Perino said his comment was “disturbing.” In a new statement, published in full below, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) warns Reid, “We should not surrender in the face of barbarism.”

But Reid’s description of the war isn’t controversial. In fact, one of Bush’s own regular war advisers — Henry Kissinger — agrees with Reid:

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who helped engineer the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, said Sunday the problems in Iraq are more complex than that conflict, and military victory is no longer possible. […]

Reid’s remarks also echo senior military officials. Retired Gen. Wiliam Odom, head of Army intelligence and director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan, published an essay in February titled “Victory Is Not An Option.” Also, via TPM Cafe, here’s Gen. Tony McPeak, who served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first Gulf War:

The war in Iraq isn’t over yet, but — surge or no surge — the United States has already lost. That’s the grim consensus of a panel of experts assembled by Rolling Stone to assess the future of Iraq. “Even if we had a million men to go in, it’s too late now,” says retired four-star Gen. Tony McPeak, who served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War. “Humpty Dumpty can’t be put back together again.

What Kissinger, Odom, McPeak, and Reid understand is that the mission in Iraq has changed. The United States is now stuck in the middle of a civil war to which there is no military solution, only a political one. As Reid said later: “there is still a chance to change course — and we must change course.”

UPDATE: John Aravosis has several other quotes.

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Full statement:

WASHINGTON — Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) today made the following statement in response to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s comment that the Iraq War is “lost:”

“This week witnessed horrific terrorist attacks by Islamist extremists in Iraq, killing hundreds of innocent civilians and leading Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to declare that the war is ‘lost.’

With all due respect, I strongly disagree. Senator Reid’s statement is not based on military facts on the ground in Iraq and does not advance our cause there.

Al Qaeda’s strategy for victory in Iraq is clear. They are trying to murder as many innocent civilians as possible in an effort to reignite sectarian fighting and drive us to retreat from Iraq.

The question now before us is whether we respond to these terrorist attacks by running away as Al Qaeda hopes — abandoning the future of Iraq, the Middle East, and ultimately our own security to the very same people responsible for this week’s atrocities — or whether we stand united to fight them.

This is exactly the wrong time to conclude that we have lost the war in Iraq, or that our new strategy has failed. Instead, we should provide General Petraeus and his troops with the time and the resources to succeed. We should not surrender in the face of barbarism.”