Update: David Broder in the Washington Post says that Harry Reid is the Democrats' Gonzales:
HH: You come back from Iraq, you see these changes, you talk with it, and then you hear Harry Reid declare the war is lost. What was your reaction upon hearing that, Frederick Kagan?
FK: It’s very disappointing. I think a lot of people, there is a lot of hyperbole, there’s a lot of exaggeration, and we really need to look this squarely in the eye, and recognize that most wars, you don’t know who’s going to win until the end. And there’s been, there were rosy optimistic scenarios from the Bush administration early on, and declarations of victory that were mistaken, and now you’ve got Democratic opponents of the war rushing to say that the war’s lost, and that it’s hopeless. And the facts on the ground just don’t support that. The war isn’t lost. We certainly can still win, and it’s really very disappointing to hear the Senator majority leader just throw up his hands like that.
On "Fox News Sunday," Schumer offered this clarification of Reid's off-the-cuff comment. "What Harry Reid is saying is that this war is lost -- in other words, a war where we mainly spend our time policing a civil war between Shiites and Sunnis. We are not going to solve that problem. . . . The war is not lost. And Harry Reid believes this -- we Democrats believe it. . . . So the bottom line is if the war continues on this path, if we continue to try to police and settle a civil war that's been going on for hundreds of years in Iraq, we can't win. But on the other hand, if we change the mission and have that mission focus on the more narrow goal of counterterrorism, we sure can win."
Everyone got that? This war is lost. But the war can be won. Not since Bill Clinton famously pondered the meaning of the word "is" has a Democratic leader confused things as much as Harry Reid did with his inept discussion of the alternatives in Iraq.
Nor is this the first time Senate Democrats, who chose Reid as their leader over Chris Dodd of Connecticut, have had to ponder the political fallout from one of Reid's tussles with the language.
Hailed by his staff as "a strong leader who speaks his mind in direct fashion," Reid is assuredly not a man who misses many opportunities to put his foot in his mouth. In 2005, he attacked Alan Greenspan, then chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, as "one of the biggest political hacks we have here in Washington."
He called President Bush " a loser," then apologized. He said that Bill Frist, then Senate majority leader, had "no institutional integrity" because Frist planned to leave the Senate to fulfill a term-limits pledge. Then he apologized to Frist.
Hat tip to Instapundit.
Rather than condemning the attacks and the terrorists who committed them, critics trumpeted them as proof that Gen. David Petraeus's security strategy has failed and that the war is "lost."
And today, perversely, the Senate is likely to vote on a binding timeline of withdrawal from Iraq.
This reaction is dangerously wrong. It reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of both the reality in Iraq and the nature of the enemy we are fighting there.
What is needed in Iraq policy is not overheated rhetoric but a sober assessment of the progress we have made and the challenges we still face.
In the two months since Petraeus took command, the United States and its Iraqi allies have made encouraging progress on two problems that once seemed intractable: tamping down the Shiite-led sectarian violence that paralyzed Baghdad until recently and consolidating support from Iraqi Sunnis -- particularly in Anbar, a province dismissed just a few months ago as hopelessly mired in insurgency.
Read the whole thing. Hat tip to Pajamas Media.