Iraq War 'Myths' vs. 'Facts'
After President Bush's speech yesterday in Cleveland, the White House distributed talking points titled "Iraq Fact Check: Responding to Key Myths." The following are e xcerpts from the document's 13 "myths" regarding the war -- without specifying who is spreading them -- and the administration's "facts" that rebut them:
MYTH: The war "is lost."
FACT: Our commanders and ambassador do not believe that. . . . The surge of operations is just beginning. . . . We have seen promising indicators since the President announced the new strategy in January.
MYTH: The U.S. is playing "whack-a-mole" in Iraq.
FACT: U.S. and Iraqi forces are conducting offensive operations against terrorists while simultaneously providing security in neighborhoods with joint security stations and patrols. . . . The primary reason for the "surge" in troops was to give U.S. and Iraqi forces the ability and flexibility to conduct such offensive operations in and outside of Baghdad without having to shift troops out of so many areas where they were needed for security. This is why commanders held off on many of them until the brigades were in place -- to avoid the problems of past offensives.
MYTH: Setting a timeline and pulling troops out of Iraq regardless of conditions on the ground would be a responsible end to the conflict and/or would put needed pressure on Iraq's government.
FACT: The collective judgment of our intelligence community is that this would increase, not decrease, the violence and hinder national reconciliation.
MYTH: Gen. [David H.] Petraeus does not believe the U.S. military can make a difference in Iraq.
FACT: Democrats sometimes quote Gen. Petraeus when arguing that the U.S. should give up in Iraq, but they completely misrepresent the General's views. While Gen. Petraeus has indeed said the ultimate solution to Iraq's problems is a political one, he has consistently argued that such a solution can only come with the improvements in security he is trying to achieve.
MYTH: Iraqis are going on a two-month holiday and are not defending their own country.
FACT: Iraq's Parliament decided not to take a two-month recess and instead will continue working on legislation critical for Iraq's future.