Once again, Spank That Donkey has tried to twist Gilmore’s Washington Post op-ed into a statement of support for the President’s Iraq policy last year, when it clearly was anything but. STD goes into detail in the comments here, but he’s not the first person who’s tried this, so I thought a post would be required to respond.
STD thinks he has me with Gilmore’s opening line:
As you know from my public statements, I have supported your increase in troops in Iraq in the belief that a new initiative was necessary to bring the Iraq war to a successful conclusion.
To STD, this meant Gilmore’s column was one of support for the President. However, if that’s what Gilmore really meant, he would have used the present tense (“I support”). Instead, he used the present perfect tense (“I have supported”) – meaning he backed the surge before June 18, 2007, but not necessarily on June 18.
To look at what Gilmore thought of the surge onthe 18th of June, we need to look at the rest of the op-ed. This is where STD’s logic train runs off the track. Here’s paragraph 3, in its entirety for context (emphasis added):
Like you, I reject the Democrats’ policy of an immediate withdrawal or a withdrawal on a timetable. Unfortunately, they are playing to the polls to obtain political advantage at home, to the detriment of the United States. But I also believe we cannot continue our present policy. We must find a third way.
With all due respect to STD et al, one cannot support the surge and look for a “third way” at the same time. Gilmore’s next paragraph reveals a something even more problematic, a spectacularly bad analysis of the situation on the ground:
First, I urge that we stop thinking it is our responsibility to solve the Iraq conflict. It is not.
As he was writing this, the evidence that the “Iraq conflict” was actually a de facto foreign infiltration was pouring in. Gilmore either ignored the information or was unaware of it – neither of which reassures me.
However, it is the final paragraph that contains the coup de grace (emphasis added):
American interests come down to protection of our national security, protection of Israel’s right to exist, and averting, if possible, a general war in the Middle East, nuclear or otherwise. Our present conduct in Iraq distracts from or is detrimental to those goals. I urge you to refocus American policy toward Iraq to further these strategic goals.
Supporter for the surge? I don’t think so.
Still, I’ll make this offer to STD et al; I agree with them that Gilmore supported the surge before June 18, 2007. Will they acknowledge that Gilmore opposed it on and after that date?