While Discussing Bush's Admission Of Mistakes In Iraq, Hadley Offers Bait-And-Switch To Russert
National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley played bait-and-switch with host Tim Russert on Sunday's edition of NBC's Meet The Press.
The subject: Whether President Bush has admitted the U.S. was wrong about the number of troops needed to successfully fight the Iraq War.
RUSSERT: (C)ould the president step forward and say, “I acknowledge we were wrong about WMD, we were wrong about troop levels, we were wrong about the length of the war, we were wrong about the cost of the war, we were wrong about the financing of the war, we were wrong about the level of sectarian violence, we were wrong about being greeted as liberators. We made some fundamental misjudgments, and they were wrong, but now we’re all in this together”? Could he do that?
HADLEY: He’s done a lot of that. He’s acknowledged that ...
RUSSERT: All those mistakes?
HADLEY: He has acknowledged that — for example, that there were not stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
RUSSERT: How about troop levels?
HADLEY: He’s, he’s acknowledged that, that in terms of troops we need to be building Iraqi forces to provide greater security. You know, Tim, people forget that, that we had hoped to have 150,000 to 200,000 Iraqi army forces to help in the security proposition, and those forces melted away at the close of the war. ....
Russert was clearly referring to the claim Gen. Eric Shinseki, the Army chief of staff at the time, made to Congress, saying the U.S. would need several hundred thousand troops in Iraq. Shinseki's suggestion was refuted by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Undersecretary Paul Wolfowitz, among others.
Last month, the top military commander in the Middle East, Gen. John Abizaid, admitted Shinseki was right.
So it's a nice bit of bait-and-switch by Hadley. Bush has admitted to the mistake of not having the right number of troops ... oops, he didn't.
Unfortunately, as is too often the case, Russert failed to notice.
Hadley was also spinning when he said that Iraqi "forces melted away at the close of the war."
As JABBS noted last year: "The first head of what would eventually be known as the Coalition Provisional Authority, Army Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, championed using the Iraqi military to reconstruct Iraq -- akin to a 'Works Project Administration,' as he told UPI. Instead, the U.S. retired Garner, and replaced him with L. Paul Bremer, who dissolved Iraq's 400,000-strong army soon after American forces overthrew Saddam's regime in April 2003."
To Hadley, the troops "melted away" like magic. No need to claim a mistake was made by our guy on the ground.
Kind of brings new meaning to "stay the course," huh?