Last week, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) compared the war to a Cardinals-Cubs baseball game. Reinforcing the notion that conservatives are deeply out of touch with the realities of the war, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) today compared Iraq to the small plastics and packaging company he used to run in Ohio.
Boehner used his analogy to justify setting teethless benchmarks for the Iraqi government. “I owned a small business. I have benchmarks every month, but if I didn’t meet the benchmarks and if I missed the profit margin, I didn’t shut down the business. I didn’t yank the funds and close up the door.”
The war in Iraq isn’t a small business, and 100 U.S. soldiers weren’t killed every month if Boehner couldn’t sell enough bubble wrap. This war is threatening U.S. security, crippling the U.S. military, and drawing resources from other critical priorities. Conservatives just can’t wrap their heads around those facts.
Indeed, they actively ignore U.S. intelligence. Boehner said this morning, “At the end of the day, Chris, Iraq is not about a civil war. Iraq is about al Qaeda… It is not a civil war.” This directly contradicts the findings of both the U.S. intelligence community and the Pentagon.
WALLACE: The Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, as well as your number two man in the House, Roy Blunt, are both talking about attaching this idea of political benchmarks to a spending bill with the possibility of cutting off not military aid, but foreign aid, if the Iraqi politicians fail to meet these political benchmarks.
Could you support that?
BOEHNER: I don’t know. I’m clearly for benchmarks. I had a benchmark proposal I introduced in January with a number of my colleagues that laid out benchmarks.
It laid out a way to measure the progress in Iraq. It required the president to report to Congress every 30 days. And the idea behind it was to try to measure the progress, intervene when you need to, to try to ensure success.
I used to run a small business. I owned a small business. I have benchmarks every month, but if I didn’t meet the benchmarks and if I missed the profit margin, I didn’t shut down the business. I didn’t yank the funds and close up the door.
I tried to figure out, Well, what do I need to do in order to meet those benchmarks? And that’s the whole point. I’m for benchmarks that are for success. I’m not for benchmarks with artificial timelines, yanking funds, trying to ensure that there’s failure in Iraq.
BOEHNER: Well, I think this fall, people are going to want to assess how well is the plan working. Are there changes necessary.
And I think the Bush administration on a monthly basis will be looking at how is the plan working, are there changes necessary to the plan.
At the end of the day, Chris, Iraq is not about a civil war. Iraq is about Al Qaida and 76 other terrorist groups operating there, and all of their effort is aimed at defeating the United States.
Earlier on your program, you had — Senator Dodd talked about this being a civil war. It is not a civil war. There is some sectarian violence between the Sunni and Shia, most of it being stirred up by the Iranians.
But it’s Al Qaida and their affiliates who have made Iraq the central front in their war with us. And we have to remember they started this, not us.