"‘Attack Dog’ Cheney Unleashes Litany Of Misleading Claims About Reid"
Vice President Cheney and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) exchanged words today in back-to-back news conferences. Cheney accused Reid of “defeatism” and called Reid’s speech yesterday “uninformed and misleading.”
Reid assailed President Bush for again sending out his “attack dog, also known as Dick Cheney.”
Below, a rebuttal of Cheney’s main attacks:
CHENEY: “Yesterday, Senator Reid said the troop surge was against the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group. That is plainly false. The Iraq Study Group report was explicitly favorable toward a troop surge to secure Baghdad.”
FACT: Iraq Study Group says escalation will “not solve the fundamental cause of violence in Iraq.” The Iraq Study Group said that a “short-term redeployment” of troops into Baghdad could be part of a larger military, economic, and diplomatic plan to wind down the war. But the Bush escalation policy is not short-term. The ISG also states, “Sustained increases in U.S. troop levels would not solve the fundamental cause of violence in Iraq… As another American general told us, if the Iraqi government does not make political progress, ‘all the troops in the world will not provide security.'”
CHENEY: “Senator Reid said there should be a regional conference on Iraq. Apparently he doesn’t know that there is going to be one next week.”
FACT: Regional conferences mean little without diplomacy. Reid criticized Bush yesterday for failing to “launch any meaningful diplomatic efforts.” The fact that there is a regional conference means little if the U.S. chooses not to engage Iraq’s neighbors. An account from last month’s regional conference: “So they went, shook hands and chatted briefly. And that was the sum of the direct interaction between American and Iranian delegates at a long-awaited, day-long regional summit on Iraq today in Baghdad. … U.S. and Iranian officials said there were no private conversations of any substance.”
CHENEY: “Senator Reid said he doesn’t have real substantive meetings with the president. Yet immediately following last week’s meeting at the White House, he said, ‘It was a good exchange. Everyone voiced their considered opinion about the war in Iraq.'”
FACT: These two statements don’t contradict. In both, Reid simply says that Bush gave his opinion on Iraq. One is more diplomatic than the other, but they don’t contradict.
CHENEY: “What’s most troubling about Senator Reid’s comments yesterday is his defeatism. Indeed, last week he said the war is already lost. And the timetable legislation that he is now pursuing would guarantee defeat.”
FACT: Americans think Cheney is wrong. From a 4/19 Fox News poll: “[D]o you think it is accurate to compare withdrawal with surrender?” Yes: 33 percent | No: 61 percent
CNN’s Dana Bash reported that Cheney’s Capitol Hill press conference was “virtually unprecedented,” but that war critics “aren’t worried about it.” As one said in an email, “I wish Dick Cheney would come out every single day.”