The debate over the U.S. policy towards Iraq (and the debate over the debate) has taken several twists and turns over the course of five long and painful years, but if there’s one thing I thought the entire Republican establishment agreed on, it’s this: don’t disagree with Gen. David Petraeus. His judgment is sacrosanct, his word is gold, and his assessments of conditions in Iraq are unimpeachable.
Why, then, are John McCain and Dick Cheney contradicting Petraeus publicly?
Just four days ago, Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said that “no one” in the U.S. and Iraqi governments “feels that there has been sufficient progress by any means in the area of national reconciliation,” or in the provision of basic public services.
As it turns out, “no one” doesn’t include John McCain, who feels there’s been plenty of progress…
“Anybody who believes the surge has not succeeded, militarily, politically and in most other ways, frankly, does not know the facts on the ground.”
… nor does it include Dick Cheney, who apparently sees political progress Petraeus doesn’t.
U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday declared the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq a “successful endeavor,” pointing to security and political progress on a visit ahead of the fifth anniversary of the war.
A new schism between Petraeus and Republican leaders? Well, probably not. It’s far more likely that McCain and Cheney have their political talking points to read, and don’t much care whether they contradict Petraeus’ comments or not.