Thursday, October 07, 2004

Rewriting History, Indeed

TPM points us to an article in NEWSWEEK by the hacktacular Isikoff and some other guy, Hosenball, which among other things, criticizes Cheney's brazen misstatements and lies. The article, titled 'Rewriting History', does some of that too by repeating at least one RNC lie about what Edwards said.

Their article says:

Republicans last night were able to point to their own lengthy list of instances when Edwards misspoke or made “inaccurate” claims during the debate...Among claiming that the United States has absorbed 90 percent of the casualties in Iraq (by leaving out uniformed Iraqi casualty deaths that would bring the figure down to 50 percent)

Here's what Edwards said (transcript):
You know, we've taken 90 percent of the coalition casualties.

So, for the record, Edwards did not claim that the U.S. had absorbed 90 percent of the casualties in Iraq. Therefore, this statement in the above NEWSWEEK article is wrong, and it should be corrected, Isikoff. Use some bleepin' fact checkers if you're too incompetent or lazy to do it yourself!

In response to this statement by Edwards, Cheney said:
Well, Gwen, the 90 percent figure is just dead wrong. When you include the Iraqi security forces that have suffered casualties, as well as the allies, they've taken almost 50 percent of the casualties in operations in Iraq, which leaves the U.S. with 50 percent, not 90 percent.

So Cheney calls Edwards' figure wrong (it wasn't), then proceeded to mix apples with oranges in order to confuse viewers and Isikoff - it seems it worked.

Follow a few minutes later when Cheney attempts to smear Edwards by suggesting that Edwards' criticism of the Administration's lack of coalition-building skills is equivalent to demeaning the contribution of Iraqi security forces:

EDWARDS: ...Not only that, 90 percent of the coalition casualties, Mr. Vice President, the coalition casualties, are American casualties. ...

CHENEY: Classic example. He won't count the sacrifice and the contribution of Iraqi allies. It's their country. They're in the fight. They're increasingly the ones out there putting their necks on the line to take back their country from the terrorists and the old regime elements that are still left. They're doing a superb job. And for you to demean their sacrifices strikes me as...

EDWARDS: Oh, I'm not...

CHENEY: ... as beyond...

EDWARDS: I'm not demeaning...

CHENEY: It is indeed. You suggested...

EDWARDS: No, sir, I did not...

CHENEY: ... somehow they shouldn't count, because you want to be able to say that the Americans are taking 90 percent of the sacrifice. You cannot succeed in this effort if you're not willing to recognize the enormous contribution the Iraqis are increasingly making to their own future.

So, Dick is a dick, but what remains clear is that Edwards did not make an inaccurate, nor misleading statement on coalition casualties, and he did not address overall casualty numbers at all. Cheney did address 'overall casualty' numbers, however, in order to turn attention away from the exacting criticism from Edwards.

Of course, all of this took place within the context of Edwards ripping Cheney for not building a proper coalition, so Edwards talking about 'coalition casualties' made perfect sense. At least Isikoff didn't repeat this nonsensical lie, too.

Rewriting history, indeed. Too funny. Or not.

p.s. The only explanation Cheney could use to confront his lie is that he was considering Iraqi forces to be part of the 'coalition'. Wouldn't be the first time this Administration tried to rewrite history.

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