Weekend Watchdog Wrap-Up

Bill Scher

Better than usual performance from our Sunday shows this week. (Perhaps I set the bar too low this time.)

Face The Nation’s Bob Schieffer asked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell point blank, “what did you mean” when he said there would be a “new direction” in Iraq come fall.

McConnell inferred he expected troop levels to be reduced, but also made clear he did not want a full redeployment out of Iraq. It appears he wants to put some superficial political distance between his party and the unpopular president, but without actually supporting want the public wants: the end of the occupation.

Both NBC’s Meet The Press and Fox News Sunday asked their respective guests, Amb. Ryan Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus, about the general’s claim that Baghdad shows “astonishing signs of normalcy”.

The two offered similar talking points in response, essentially that all Petraeus is doing is offering “the good and the bad” in Iraq.

Compare that to the assessment given by Lee Hamilton of the Iraq Study Group, on Face The Nation:

Grave, dire, deteriorating. American casualties up, sectarian violence up. Still a very grim existence there for the Iraqi people. If you look at all of the metrics, you can find some, maybe, that point somewhat positively. But overall, that assessment stands today.

Finally, no one brought up the premise of the Watchdog’s third question: the recent opinion piece from a U.S. Naval War College Professor describing the war as “faulty grand strategy.” Discussion center on how well the “surge” is being executed, not on the flaws of the strategic objectives of the occupation.

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