The Blog

On Edited Quotes

2:50 PM, Apr 26, 2007 • By BRIAN FAUGHNAN
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Rest assured, when the war in Iraq is no longer the most important issue facing the Republic, the Weekly Standard will return to American Idol updates.

That said, since Democrats insist on repeatedly quoting General Petraeus to justify their effort to pull the rug out from under the war effort, we thought it worthwhile to provide context for the quote that they are repeating ad nauseam:

The Quote You Hear:

"There is no military solution" [in Iraq]

Actual Statement by General Petraeus:


"As our military effort surges in the greater Baghdad area and in Al Anbar province, a complementary effort will be carried out on the civilian side in the form of a joint Department of State/Department of Defense initiative to double the number of Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Iraq from 10 to 20.

As with the military effort, the focus will be on Baghdad and Al Anbar Province. These PRTs will draw on civilian and military expertise to help the Iraqis build capacity in the provinces and support local initiatives...

We and our Iraqi partners recognize that improving security for the Iraqi people is the first step in rekindling hope. The upward spiral we all want begins with Iraqi and coalition forces working together and locating in the neighborhoods those forces must secure. This concept features Iraqi and coalition soldiers partnering with local police to establish joint security stations...

With respect, again, to the -- you know, the idea of the reconcilables and the irreconcilables, this is something in which the Iraqi government obviously has the lead. It is something that they have sought to -- in some cases, to reach out. And I think, again, that any student of history recognizes that there is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency of Iraq. Military action is necessary to help improve security, for all the reasons that I stated in my remarks, but it is not sufficient."

War opponents are engaging in Orwellian tactics in suggesting that Petraeus supports a withdrawal when he suggests that military action is necessary, but not sufficient.

Similarly, a statement by Secretary Gates is being selectively quoted:

The Quote You Hear:

"The strong feelings expressed in the Congress about the timetables probably has had a positive impact..."

Actual Statement by Secretary Gates:


"I think that what I have said is that the debate in Congress, I think, has been helpful in demonstrating to the Iraqis that American patience is limited. As General Petraeus has said, there's the Baghdad clock and there's the Washington clock.

That said, I've been pretty clear that I think the enactment of specific deadlines would be a bad mistake. But I think the debate itself and I think that the strong feelings expressed in the Congress about the timetable probably has had a positive impact -- at least I hope it has -- in terms of communicating to the Iraqis that this is not an open-ended commitment."

Sometimes it's useful to read the full text, rather than a parsed fragment. Those who use these quotes in support of the ongoing effort to end the Iraq mission are grossly misrepresenting Petraeus and Gates.