Patterico's Pontifications

12/5/2006

Yahoo: Gates Says Exactly the Opposite of What He Says

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:58 pm



Robert Gates said yesterday that we are not winning in Iraq — but that we are not losing, either. Here’s a representative quote:

SEN. INHOFE: [Y]ou were asked the question, “Are we winning in Iraq?” General Pace was asked that question yesterday. He said, no, we’re not winning, but we’re not losing. Do you agree with General Pace?

MR. GATES: Yes, sir, at this point.

So on Yahoo News, the headline for an AP story read as follows: “Gates says U.S. losing Iraq war.”

Media bias. You gotta love it.

More here.

In the extended entry is a link to a transcript of Gates’s full remarks, as well as a selection of relevant quotes on winning and losing — just so you don’t think I’m taking anything out of context!

[Extended entry]

So here (thanks to Allahpundit) are the relevant exchanges from Robert Gates’s testimony regarding whether we are winning or losing the war in Iraq:

SEN. WARNER: Yesterday I was present at an open forum when General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, was asked a question, “Are we winning the war?” end quote.

His response was as follows, and I quote him: “We’re not winning, but we’re not losing,” end quote. It seems to me a parallel between what I said when I got back and that distinguished chairman’s observation yesterday.

. . . .

SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Gates, do you believe that we are currently winning in Iraq?

MR. GATES: No, sir.

. . . .

SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Dr. Gates. Your acknowledgment that we’re not winning in Iraq, frankly, is a necessary, refreshing breath of reality that is so needed if we’re going to look at ways of changing course in Iraq to maximize the chances of success. I thank you for that and the other candid responses that you’ve given here.

. . . .

SEN. McCAIN: I’d like to follow on just what Senator Levin said. We are not winning the war in Iraq. Is that correct?

MR. GATES: That is my view, yes, sir.

. . . .

SEN. INHOFE: [Y]ou were asked the question, “Are we winning in Iraq?” General Pace was asked that question yesterday. He said, no, we’re not winning, but we’re not losing. Do you agree with General Pace?

MR. GATES: Yes, sir, at this point.

. . . .

MR. GATES: Yes, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, before I answer that question, with your indulgence could I amplify on one of my answers this morning?

SEN. WARNER: Yes.

MR. GATES: And only because I’m concerned that the troops in the field might have misunderstood something I said. While I was having lunch and eating my sandwich, I was watching the news, and I certainly stand by my statement this morning that I agreed with General Pace that we are not winning, but we are not losing. But I want to make clear that that pertains to the situation in Iraq as a whole. Our military forces win the battles that they fight. Our soldiers have done an incredible job in Iraq, and I’m not aware of a single battle that they have lost. And I didn’t want my comments to be interpreted as suggesting that they weren’t being successful in their endeavors. And I think we all applaud and appreciate what they’re doing. The situation in Iraq is clearly much more complex than just the military actions, and it’s — the areas where we’re having our challenges, frankly, are principally in the areas of stabilization and political developments, and so on. And I just wanted to make that clarification, Senator.

I think he’s trying to say that we’re not winning — but we’re not losing.

Or, if you’re Yahoo! — he’s trying to say we’re losing.

Losing, not losing . . . what’s the dif?

6 Responses to “Yahoo: Gates Says Exactly the Opposite of What He Says”

  1. Robert Gates repeatedly said we are not winning in Iraq. When he saw how his answer was being spun by the media, he modified his remarks to focus on reconstruction efforts rather than military action.

    Nevertheless, he should have known that it’s ridiculous (both factually and politically) to answer an “Are we winning?” question with “No, sir.” It was a foolish answer. I hope it’s the last foolish thing he does, but I’m not confident in light of this beginning.

    DRJ (a41dd4)

  2. I wonder if once upon a time a journalist actually sat through a Senate hearing and listened to the entire testimony of a nominee and then wrote an article based upon the totality of that testimony. Nowadays, I think they only listen for interesting soundbites that they can then toss up on their paper’s website as breaking news and then fashion an article around that one snippet of the testimony. This phenomenon is at its worst during campaigns, where a candidate’s half-hour speech gets defined by the two or three statements that a reporter fixes upon, even if they were meant to be bland and benign.

    JVW (255a81)

  3. “Are we winning?”
    “No, sir.”

    True enough.

    AF (8f7ccc)

  4. How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

    Splitting hairs on this one is beneath you, P2.

    We all know what he said. We all know what he meant. Is there anyone involved who thinks we’re still going to be able to produce a miracle from thin air and “win” in any meaningful sense of the word?

    The Liberal Avenger (c93dac)

  5. WASHINGTON – The Bush administration routinely has underreported the level of violence in Iraq in order to disguise its policy failings, the Iraq Study Group report said Wednesday.
    The bipartisan group called on the Pentagon and the director of the U.S. intelligence community to immediately institute a new reporting system that provides “a more accurate picture of events on the ground.”
    The finding bolsters allegations by Democratic lawmakers and other critics that the Bush administration has withheld or misconstrued intelligence that conflicted with its Iraq policy while promoting data and claims that supported its positions

    AF (8f7ccc)

  6. “Is there anyone involved who thinks we’re still going to be able to produce a miracle from thin air and “win” in any meaningful sense of the word?”

    Sure. I do. And more to the point, so do many of troops in Iraq.

    Was that a trick question? Or are you just unfamiliar with military history?

    Jim Miller (823043)


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