On Fox News Sunday this morning, Brit Hume attacked Senate Democrats for “setting a goal that all U.S. combat soldiers withdraw from Iraq by December 15, 2008,” claiming that they have an “aura of unreality” because they’re trying “to force troop withdrawals, impervious to the fact that troop withdrawals have already begun”:
This whole debate has this aura of unreality about it, at least on the Democratic side, because they keep talking about events in Iraq that do not comport with the reality on the ground over there. You hear it again and again. You hear it in the attitude they have, you know, they’re going to force troop withdrawals, impervious to the fact that troop withdrawals have already begun. It’s happening.
NPR’s Juan Williams called Hume on his false spin, pointing out that the reduction in troops is only returning to pre-surge levels:
You’re making the case that troop withdrawals are starting now, but they’re troop withdrawals given that a surge was put in place this year that took troop levels to a new high. So it’s not really much of a withdrawal at all.
Unfazed, Hume later told Williams that it’s time he declared “victory” in Iraq. “The things you have been calling for have largely been met,” said Hume. “In terms of violence is down, troops are coming out, war’s winding down. Isn’t that victory on your terms?” Watch it:
As Williams noted, in the context of the surge, the withdrawals to which Hume is referring bear no relation to the type of withdrawal pushed for by war critics and the majority of Americans. In fact, as the Washington Post recently reported, troop levels were the highest they’ve ever been this past week with 175,000 soldiers in Iraq.
In reality, the return to pre-surge troop levels has more to do with the fact that the Army is overstretched then it has to do with any sort of progress on the ground. Just this week, Army Chief of Staff General George Casey told the Senate Armed Forces Committee that “the current demand for our forces exceeds the sustainable supply” because of Bush’s open-ended commitment in Iraq.