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Parsing Pelosi: Military Usefulness

First emerging at Commentary's Contentions blog and at Ace of Spades, we learn of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stating that "some of the success of the surge is that the goodwill of the Iranians - they decided in Basra when the fighting would end, they negotiated that cessation of hostilities - the Iranians." The sheer ignorance of that statement should be self-evident. It's as if to say that, if we were only negotiating with them (without preconditions, of course), just imagine the peace we could gain.

But it is also an unforgiving slap in the face to the United States and Iraqi military forces. For it was they who defeated the Iranians and their proxy militias in Basra. The victory was not negotiated in words scribed upon a mahogany table, but in blood on the streets of Basra. And it was not a 'peace' won by Iran nor even the Brits, safely barricaded away in a nearby airfield.

But if one cares to examine the shallow depth of Speaker Pelosi's admiration of our fighting men or her dismissal of the Iraqi people as worthy of defense, listen to the below audio, just 60 seconds early on in the 80-minutes generously given to the editors and reporters of the San Francisco Chronicle. It is difficult to describe the exchange as anything but disgraceful.

To download this audio file, click here or right click then select 'Save Target As'.

She went to Iraq last week to visit the troops "in preparation for Memorial Day." How does that work, exactly? How does visiting Iraq prepare one for Memorial Day? Forgetting the 'how' for a moment, perhaps it should be asked 'why.' Speaker Pelosi answers that question unequivocally, after a very flat and tellingly unarticulated "they're so great" reference to the troops, as she immediately spells out casualty figures of dead and wounded. Of course, she didn't meet any of the dead honored by the nation, but somehow her trip was "in preparation for Memorial Day."

And, just as she offered that the troops in Iraq are "so great" without articulating how they are so, she says, "We've lost, what's it - 4,075 - something like that now, every one of them precious to us." This is immediately followed by an uneasy silence, seemingly struggling for words and incapable of expounding on just why they are so precious to us. Not a word of what they have done. They're just dead. And I am just disgusted.

Unable to articulate, she breaks the pause by immediately reminding of the over 10,000 wounded. And, without pause, of course informs also that she has just been to the hospital and is in fact going right back yet again to the local VA hospital in San Francisco just as soon as her media brief at the Chronicle is over. One must wonder if the military patients there received the full 80-minute allotment afforded the Chronicle staff. Quite honestly, the Marine in me wonders if they would afford her such. It's not a flippant question considering the trouble she encountered with her Baghdad itinerary.

The transcribed quotes do not effectively convey her hollow words. They have to be heard as spoken in the brief audio above.

Perhaps it has not occurred to Speaker Pelosi that so profound is "the goodwill of the Iranians" that over 10% of the 4,075 dead American military men and women she speaks of were felled by the hands of the same. In fact, 18% of US combat deaths in the last quarter of 2006 came at the hands of the EFP, an Iranian "goodwill" gesture to their proxy Iraqi militias. If we're going to have a discussion of casualties and "the goodwill of the Iranians," Madame Speaker, let's please do. But let's first get the context properly framed.

Hopefully readers will forgive the rant, but I am just without patience for any more utilization of the troops for all the usefulness their casualty rates afford by politicians who lack the decency to acknowledge what they have done besides expire in their service. After all, if the surge is such a success that "there is nothing that is happening there that would justify continuation of the policy," then how was the enemy thus presumably now defeated?

Ah, yes. The 'message of peace' brought to Bashar al-Assad in Damascus is now bearing fruit in "the goodwill of the Iranians" in Tehran. And all that with no preconditions, apparently.